Here are eight African marriage practices youve probably never heard of:
1. More cow, more wives; Kenya
The Pokot tribe of Kenya measures the wealth of a family according to the number of cows that the family owns.
Thus, the number of wives a man can be allowed to marry is determined by the number of cows he owns.
2. Potency/Virginity test, Uganda
The Banyakole tribe, a minority tribe in Kenya places quite a heavy burden on the bride’s aunt when a wedding is to hold.
Not only does the aunt have to test and confirm the bride’s virginity, she also has to have sex with the groom to prove his potency and virility.
3. Sexual cleansing, Malawi
When a man dies, it is believed that his widow's soul has been stained by his death.
To cleanse her soul and free the dead husband’s spirit, she is forced to have sex with his brother, relative or clansman.
4. Kidnap the bae, Sudan
In the Latuka tribe of Sudan, when a man intends to marry a woman, he kidnaps her to indicate his interest. Then elderly members of his family go and seek the consent of the girl’s father.
If he agrees, the father beats the man up as a sign of his acceptance of the union, but even if he doesn’t, the man might forcefully marry the girl anyway.
5. Whipped for a wife, Nigeria:
The Fulani people of Northern Nigeria have a traditional practice called ‘sharo’ which means flogging.
When a man wants to marry a woman, he is whipped publicly to demonstrate that he is strong enough to be worthy of a bride.
He is to demonstrate perseverance and strength as he endures severe whippings.
6. Fatten the boo, Mauritania
In Mauritania, a large, full-bodied wife is believed to be a symbol of good luck and prosperity in a marriage.
Women are therefore force-fed to become fatter for their wedding. This sometimes causes illness and health issues later.
7. Perform for the ladies, Niger:
Men in Niger dress in elaborate costumes and perform for their potential mates. Women then go on after the performances to choose the man they prefer most.