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Marriage in Subsaharan & West African Countries
Ashley Tranon 1 May 2013
Transcript of Marriage in Subsaharan & West African Countries
“Egyptian commentators and religious leaders are morally alarmed at the current marriage “crisis” of young people lacking the means to initiate legitimate heterosexual partnerships” (Salam, 2010). -After a man has chosen a woman he wishes to marry, the soon to be bride’s family has a celebration of the “gehaz.” The gehaz are gifts the bride’s parents give to her to celebrate her marriage. The family puts the gehaz on the couple’s car and the car is used to drive them around the village to show that their daughter is worthy of getting married and that they can provide her with nice things to take to her matrimony home. The gift includes items such as china, clothes and kitchenware.
-The Egyptians believe that the groom will be even more pleased with his future wife, seeing that her family is well off and that she can bring lots of things to the home once they get married. Marriage in Egypt is usually a matter of family negotiation regarding choice of partner and timing of wedding. (Weinreb, 2008)
Women are of higher value if they work before getting married when it comes to them getting “bided” on by a potential husband. Egypt Egypt Egypt Chad Countries in the Sub-saharan of Africa rank as places with the greatest amount of girls to be wed under the age of 18. #1 Niger
#3 Mali Usually the father would turn his patriarchal rights of his daughter over to a married man in the community in exchange for food, money, etc. The girls are frequently traded and introduced to early marriage before or close to the time of puberty. They have no power or say so whatsoever in how they want to live their lives, who they want to marry, when they want to marry, and when to have children. Chad Education After marriage, young girls’ access to formal and even non-formal education is severely limited because of domestic burdens, childbearing and social norms that view marriage and schooling as incompatible.
A lack of education also means that young brides often lack knowledge about sexual relations, their bodies and reproduction, exacerbated by the cultural silence surrounding these subjects.
This denies the girl the ability to make informed decisions about sexual relations, planning a family, and her health, yet another example of their lives in which they have no control Health Risks A common belief is that child marriage protects girls from promiscuity and, therefore, disease; the reality is quite different.
Married girls are more likely than unmarried girls to become infected with STDs, in particular HIV and human papilloma virus (HPV).
In sub-Saharan Africa, girls ages 15–19 years are 2–8 times more likely than boys of the same age to become infected with HIV (12).
The risk of acquiring HIV from a single act of unprotected vaginal intercourse is 2–3 times greater for women than men (13).
Globally, the prevalence of HIV infections among women is highest from ages 15 to 24; the risk for men peaks 5–10 years later (12). Nigeria Ghana
A Yoruba Traditional Wedding: Tope Weds Kenny 9/14/12 Video Clip Nigeria Background check
Families of the couples meet
Brides family create list of items wanted from the groom’s family
Most important gifts- suitcase and the bible
In a church
Bride in white gown, groom in a suit Ceremonies Arranged marriage
Younger generation living in the urban areas are becoming entwined with the culture of dating and choosing a suitable spouse.
Challenges new generation faces with finding a suitable spouse that fits the parents criteria and society’s expectations.
Divorce-Not supported and its not common Yoruba Marriage Customs Ghanaian Weddings (Kookooko) ”The knocking on the door ceremony”
The “kookooko is derived from the Ghanaian tradition of knocking on at the entrance of a house before entering as a visitor” (African Holocaust, n.d.) and it is when the groom visits the bride with his family to let them know that he sow a "beautiful flower” in their house and wants to ask for her hand in marriage. (African Holocaust, n.d.).
In the kookooko ceremony, the groom, his father and the older members of the family brings things such as money, two bottles of alcoholic drinks (typically schnapps), and cola for the bride’s family. The beverages are used to pour libation. “Libation is a traditional form of prayer to the ancestral spirits and God” (African Holocaust, n.d.).
The spokesmen of the groom’s family explain to the bride’s family their intentions and present their drinks. If the family of the bride accepts the drink, a member of the bride’s family will open the door and will allowed them to come inside the house. Ghanian Weddings "The bride’s family will investigate if he has family member with chronic illness or disabilities; if his family has a good reputation and if he is not already marriage or has illegitimate children"(African Holocaust, n.d.).
If the bride’s family is pleased with the information of the groom’s family background, they will be presented a list of items that they want and the items must be delivered before the wedding can proceed. (Me Firi Ghana, 2011)
On the day of the wedding, the members of the family and friends arrive early and they sit on one side of the bride’s family and on the other side of the groom’s family, facing each other. An elder member of both families begins the ceremony by praying.
The groom’s family will then give the bride's family the dowry and the things that they asked for. They make sure that everything that they asked for is in there by checking one by one. During that time the bride is sitting in another room waiting to be called, and after they finish checking that everything is in there, they will ask the bride to come into the room.
The father of the bride will ask her three times if she wants to marry him. “When she agrees, then the groom will slide the ring onto her fingers and kiss and hug her. An elder presents a bible to both the groom and bride as a symbol of how important religion should be in their married life.” Next, they celebrate with a lot food, drinks and music. (African Holocaust, n.d.) Ghanian Weddings Egyptian Marriage Marriage is perhaps one of the most important occasions in the life of both the man and the woman. It is a life changing event that signifies the end of a solitary life and the beginning of a monogamous life as a husband and wife. Marriage in the West, East, South and North Africa can be extravagant with countless numbers of diverse customs entrenched in the occasion. In some parts of the sub-Saharan Africa, forced, underage marriages, are often the predicament of many young girls that are not given an education and living in poverty. Though this behavior is seen in other parts of Africa, a large number of the Sub-Saharan countries are notorious for their extreme tradition of choosing the future of some young girls before they are old enough to comprehend the responsibilities of marriage. Some families in the Western part of Africa also, practice the act of marring off their daughters at a young age in order to financially take care of their families. However, it is now common for the child to determine who she or he wants to marry without being forced. Marriage customs in sub-Saharan countries such as, Chad and Egypt are different to the western countries such as, Nigeria and Ghana. Globally, the practice of marriage is done in a similar fashion. There is the tying of two families, exchanging of gifts, and a celebration to welcome the tying of two families just to name a few. While there are a plethora of similarities, the premises that lead to marriage also show stark contrast. This is especially prevalent between the Western and African cultures. In comparison, the African cultures tend to focus more on the outlook of the family rather than the individuals that are to be wed. The vast majority of African families value the potential prosperity that a marriage can bring. In a culture where men dominate, women are often seen as subjects that will serve their husbands by bearing their children and maintaining the home. While we may or may not agree with the customs that a particular nation practices, marriage – and all that it entails - is still a prominent apart of most, if not all, adult lives no matter which country you are from. Conclusion Introduction Help Stop the Madness If we provide families, communities, etc with educational and reproduction health services we can help stop early child marriages, early pregnancies, illnesses, and death in young mothers and their children.
The government can come up with different policies and programs around the world such as:
The Good Conduct Brigade
The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act
ICRW (International Center for Research on Women)
Girls Not Brides If we stop this nonsense we can help give adolescent girls a voice and a chance to grow into healthy, empowered, and educated young women. That way they can have a choice in choosing who they want to marry and when they want to have kids.