Polygamy and Other African Tribal Customs

Polygamy is a main feature of African tribal customs…
Christianity and Western values are influencing the African society for monogamous relationships. However, Islamic permission for polygamy has strengthened the African tribal customs in this regard. The statistics show that 36% women in rural areas and 24% women in urban areas have to accept polygamous marriages.
Most of the women prefer monogamous marriages to acquire importance with their husbands and to avoid pressures and jealousies of the previous wives. However, it is wrong to say that Islam has caused polygamy in Africa. The ancient African tribal customs prove that polygamy had been prevailing in the African countries for centuries.
Some claim that polygamy in Africa is result of marriage in teenage. Some point out that polygamy is result of age-gaps between husband and first wife. Some others even claim that African women accept polygamous marriages to get protection of the wealthy and influential married people.
In eight out of our eleven countries, the proneness to marriage in early ages is in varying degree. Incidentally the uneducated women not only prefer to marry early but also involve in polygamous relations. On the other hand the girls in schools prefer to delay their marriage for a significant time. The educated women also reject polygamous marriages and prefer to be single wives of their husbands. They don’t like to become junior wives to the less educated or previous wives.
Analysis show that the African women getting education have to face a short marriage market for a compatible husband. Some allege that such situations the women prefer prohibited relationships with older husbands of worth, hoping that their roles as “outside wives” will help them advance into superior social echelons.

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