Africa is a land of blessed origin, culture, arable lands and people to mention but few. Much of modern civilization were traced to have taken their origin from Africa. Yes! But despite been sold to the world, Africa and African is a land that is known for cultural preservation. Very many strange things exist on the soil of Africa that only those who deem it fit to research about it get to unearth those things while if you are not been told you might never imagine such exist.
A typical culture out of Africa that I will like to explore and X-ray in this article is that of an African tribe; though what is prevalent in the most culture of the world especially in marriage is that the role of an aunt is linked with that of the mother, that is she is meant to love and guide her niece by being her confidant especially with things she’s unable to share with her mother as an aunt appears to be a lesser mother. However, for the Banyakole tribe of Uganda, the duty of an aunt goes beyond merely giving advice or being a confidant.
The Banyakole people who were otherwise known as the Ankole tribe are domiciled in the traditional Bantu Kingdom which dated back as far as the 15th century. The kingdom is located in South-western Uganda, east of Lake Edward, the kingdom which was under the rulership of King Mugabe was known for its unique marriage rites.
THE BANYAKOLE MARRIAGE RITES
Marriage in this culture is of great importance as parents derive joy and pride from their children’s marriage. According to the Banyakole tradition, when a girl gets to the age of eight or nine, it is the duty of her aunt to start training her for family life. The aunt will be responsible for teaching her everything she needs to know pertaining to her role as a woman and most importantly as a wife.
Virginity in this culture is held in high esteem so the girls must abstain from premarital sex. And if a girl is found to have been defiled before marriage, she is to face the death penalty or ostracisation from society.
However strange it may seem, the Ankole people consider the slim physique unattractive. To them, fat is simply sexy. So when girls get to the ages of eight and nine, they are required to go through a fattening process where they are force-fed with, millet, beef, and milk. This is usually done to speed up the weight gain of the girls so they can attract a husband.
BANYAKOLE MARRIAGE GIFTS AND GIVEAWAY
The Banyakole marriage is celebrated amidst several rites including a Giveaway period know as “Kuhingira” where the relatives and friends of the bride present her with gifts such as cows and other items of comestibles to be taken to her matrimonial home. Then, after 10 days, a ritual called the Okukoza Omunuriro is performed. The ritual involves the bride lighting her first fire in her new kitchen, which will be her first time cooking in her new home.
On the day of the wedding, a feast is organized at the bride’s home where the father is to slaughter a bull while at the groom’s home there is also a feast to consummate the marriage. But first, there has to be one last traditional ceremony, a ceremony that involves two tests that must be carried out by the bride’s aunt.
And virginity being the marriage standard for the maidens of the Banyakole tribe, every bride must be examined and passed by her aunt to ascertain her virginity before the marriage. If the bride passes the virginity test, it is presumed she has no knowledge of sex or how to please her new husband sexually.
So, the next test involves the bride’s aunt testing the sexuality of the groom by having sexual intercourse with him. During this act, she will get to learn about all his sexual tricks as well as favourite sex styles so she can teach her niece, with pointers on what the groom likes sexually. This is believed to help the bride better satisfy her husband in the marriage. Till date, this culture still remains predominant among the Banyakole people of Uganda.
Yusuf Adeniyi Jamiu