African Polygamy Essay

740 words - 3 pages

African Polygamy

Of the five recognized forms of marriage in Kenyan law, three are monogamous - Christian, civil, and Hindu marriages. Islamic marriages are potentially polygynous, and African customary marriages are polygynous. Although the precise word for marriages of single husband/multiple wives is "polygyny," Africans use the broader term "polygamy," and it will be so used here.
A man may take junior wives only if he is able to support them, which limits polygamy. Bride wealth alone inhibits polygamy, but the increasing cost of educating children is equally daunting. A man may take a second wife as a display of wealth or prominence, to provide an assistant in farm work for the first wife, or to begin another family. Each wife has to have living quarters for herself and her children. In practice, men arrange a small plot of land that the wife works to support the children.
A polygynous husband is expected to be sexually active with all his wives. In some groups, she is entitled to a visit between each menstrual period. More commonly in the rural areas, a man will sleep with his wives in rotation, several weeks at a time.
In contemporary society, the husband may take a job in the city, and visit his wife or wives from time to time. It is not uncommon today for a man to live apart from his legal wives for many years in this way.
In some cases, one or more wives may live on the shamba, or garden plot, while another stays in the city, caring for her husband. In addition, many men will take a "city wife," a form of concubinage in which the man supports the woman in the city while not having a legal relationship with her. Many wives, living on the shamba, prefer this to another legal wife or the probability of her husband's resorting to prostitutes. Children born to a "city wife" are the father's, and are raised by his wife.
Polygamous marriages were never in the majority, and today are declining under economic pressures. At the same time, other, less formal arrangements have become common. These include the phenomenon of the "city wife" and polyandrous mistresses. This latter arrangement involves several urban men who jointly support a woman. None of them...

Find Another Essay On African Polygamy

Humanity in Race and Gender Essay

1126 words - 5 pages polygamy. The same society does show tolerance towards divorce and remarriage – which can be viewed as a form of serial polygamy. African cultures accept polygamy on the basis of responsibility rather than selfish desire for multiple wives. This may be subject to debate, but the basic facts surrounding this subject are: 1. The ideal marriage is between one man and one woman for life 2. Situations arise when deviation from the ideal is permissible

The Akamba Essay

1076 words - 4 pages beliefs. The Akamba do however now strongly oppose polygamy but they keep their traditional beliefs and faith in their medicine men. The colonial government gave some 20% of the best land to European settlers and farmers. The African peoples were not compensated for their land and were forced to find jobs in order to earn wages. This is when the Akamba wood carving industry developed, and they sold many carvings to tourists. The

Same-Sex Marriage

1364 words - 5 pages allowed to marry is the slippery-slope argument. This is the belief that allowance of same-sex marriage would open the door to legalisation of more unacceptable forms of relationships, such as polygamy, incest, bestiality, and pedophilia. Although this argument was initially proposed with interracial marriage in mind, it has since been extended to the implications of same-sex marriage. "If we extend marriage to same-sex couples," asks freelance

Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith

3289 words - 13 pages religion. Throughout the development of the Church, several aspects of the Mormon religion have caused many of its members to be persecuted by outside parties. During the last half of the nineteenth-century the government formed strict laws to thwart the strong beliefs of polygamy until church leaders denounced the practice. In the twentieth century the Church came under fire because of its controversial ideas considering African Americans. Ideas of

Buchi Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood as an African Feminist Text

3041 words - 12 pages of her own, a husband if she wants one" (28); such a request failed to resound with the progressive timbre of my ownfeminist ideology. Yet what ultimately resulted in my desire not to claim the novel as a feminist text was something said not by a fictional character, but by Emecheta herself as she sat among other authors at the Second African Writers Conference in 1986: In many cases polygamy can be liberating to the woman, rather than

sembene ousmane

3298 words - 13 pages romantic love as idealised in the European books. Through these books, she "...knew more about Europe than Africa. She had never read a book by an African author...she was quite sure they could teach her nothing." By the influence of these books she comes to propose the male protagonist Bakayoko, who is already married and opposes polygamy strictly. A silent acceptance of evil such as polygamy for the sake of polygamy, without any protest or active

Witchcraft, Zombies, and Music: The Case of Khulekani "Mgqumeni" Khumalo

1181 words - 5 pages media, "There is no way I can get confused over [Khumalo], it really is him… He is looking a little worn, and his cheeks are less chubby, but it’s him" (Huffington Post). Likewise, his grandfather, two wives, and daughter also accepted Gcabashe as Khumalo. Again, we have the emphasis on traditional South African culture: the supreme importance of the family, and the practice of polygamy. Whether manipulative or heartfelt, it is no accident that

History becomes "Her-story" in West Africa: Representations of the female gender's role in the past, present, & future of West Africa

2500 words - 10 pages colonialists perceived this practice as immoral, African women believed that a polygamous household "provided a community of women to share in agricultural labor, domestic labor, childcare, and husband care (Vol. 3, 225)." Christianity also greatly opposed polygamy, yet many Africans converted to this colonial religion because of the appealing opportunities for education and economic advancement that were available through the missionary schools. Kirk

Impact of European Colonialism and Imperialism on African Women

1612 words - 6 pages another partner. However, rather than a sexual partner, the women would commit to another woman for companionship, since loneliness was a common problem for women with a husband who practiced polygamy. Women were expected to cook for their husbands and keep them generally content, as evidenced by the poem often recited in African cultures: "Mark well mother / when your husband is in your house / but when he is in your co-wife's house / put aside

Arguments for and against gay marriage

600 words - 2 pages also seem to believe that legalizing same sex marriage would start us down a "slippery slope" and lead to the legalization of incest, bestiality and polygamy, this is completely ludicrous. Gay marriage has already been legalized in sixteen courtiers and nothing close to that has even been brought up or asked for. In fact the legalization of gay marriage has changed the attitudes of the majority of people in Denmark and other countries where various

Negative Affects of Imperialism in Africa in the 19th Century

1913 words - 8 pages social changes, European imperialism negatively affected Africa. Firstly, Europeans uprooted spiritual and traditional values of the African people. The spread of Christianity had many negative influences. Missionaries had shown themselves intolerant and ignorant of traditional religious beliefs and social practices of African people.10 They were often horrified by the common practice of Polygamy. In the 1860s, white teachers in Africa warned

Similar Essays

Polygamy Vs. Monogamy Essay

944 words - 4 pages In our society monogamous relationships are what we find common. But in other cultures or societies they believe differently. For example: Polygamy. Polygamy refers to a type of marriage where there is going to be more than one spouse, but most of the time this is going to mean more than one wife (University of Montreal). These two types of marriages are the typical heterosexual marriage arrangements that exist in the world today. For most

The Kikuyu Conforming To Christianity Essay

828 words - 3 pages African natives were unjust and unsubstantiated. The missionaries viewed the Africans as savages and that everything that they did was evil. Missionaries that were sent to spread the view of Christianity would have to change their beliefs and their social interactions to save them from the “eternal fire”(p.259). Interesting enough the missionaries overlooked the higher educated and the more well to do and focused on the more ignorant and less

The Use Of Personal Relationships To Represent Cultural Oppression Of Women In The Story Of Zahra By Hannah Al Shaykh And So Long A Letter By Mariama B

1445 words - 6 pages to represent the standard Lebanese marriage and to demonstrate the harsh reality that is patriarchy in Lebanon. In So Long a Letter, Bâ likewise uses Moudo’s polygamous marriage to Binetou in order to show the effects of polygamy on women in African cultures. When Ramatoulye receives the news that her husband Moudo has married a second wife she thinks to herself “I acquiesced under the drops of poison that were burning me: ‘

Variation In Societal Responses To Polygyny, Polyandry Or Polyamory

2080 words - 8 pages , or conciliatory mutilation and scarring; specific methods for garments or nakedness; conciliatory butcher of creatures; types of polygamy; et cetera. Largely, a minority bunch's conventional practices that are against the standards of a society additionally constitute a huge part of the lifestyle for that particular society. A few cases are polygamy in Islam or Mormonism, female circumcision in East African societies, or Ta-moko as a