Relationships

Marriage among the Igbo of Nigeria By :Celestine A. Obi

 ii) Woman – to – Woman Marriage

This may be described as the devise whereby a sterile woman tries to render her supreme service to society, thereby strengthening her position as a useful and responsible member of her husband’s family. She pays for a new life on behalf of her husband,. or she provides him with the necessary funds for a new marriage, with a view to raising children for her husband by proxy as we may put it. Dr. Meek describes another form of this type of marriage. He says: “Even an unmarried woman may marry another woman by paying a bride rice…”. Dr. Obi disagrees with Meek’s description: “in our submission, this is not a marriage between one woman and another. The fact that the bride price and other customary dues were paid by a woman is immaterial After all, many mothers make these payments for and on behalf of their sons of any age; so do fathers, guardians and maternal uncles”.

From Obi’s argument we can say that what really constitutes one as a husband before law is not essentially the paying of the bride wealth taken by itself alone but taken in conjunction with consent, capacity and the formal giving away. We shall discuss these in detail in another chapter. A typical case of a woman marrying another exists among the Neur where a rich and influential Zulu woman may marry another woman by giving marriage cattle for, her, and she is the pater of her wife’s children begotten by some male kinsman of the female husband. In the cases where Meek was talking of married women, sometimes marrying other women, the fact is that those women were carrying on the marriage in the name of their deceased fathers or husbands.


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