Here are five (5) African marriage practices you have probably never heard of:

1. Cows determine marriage prospects, Kenya:
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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:
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The Banyakole tribe, a minority tribe in Uganda place 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:
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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. Marriage by kidnap, Sudan:
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In the Lotuko 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. Whipping for a wife, Nigeria:
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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 perseverance and strength as he endures severe whippings.

Originally posted in: Pulse.ng

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