Marriage and Kinship of the Modern African Society
As the bride walks down the aisle, the hopeful and excited groom waits. Their time as a dating couple comes to an end and the moment that will bring their love together forever slowly draws closer than ever before. Every person in the pews has a sense of awe as they watch the marriage unfold. Both families of the couple are brought to tears as they see their son or daughter take another large step in their lives. By end of the ceremony, the couple’s life of being in each other’s hand will begin. This is what comes to my mind when the subject of marriage comes up. Marriage in most American weddings could not be more different than those in Africa. For example the role of the family play an entirely different role. There are also many different types and definitions of marriage in the African cultures. While in America there tends to be only one or two different types of marriages. In many ways, the fascinating traditions of African marriage have been unknown to the American people.
The role of the family and the community is a major part of African marriage traditions. As defined by Vincent B. Khapoya in the book The African Experience marriage is “a relationship between two extended families rather than just between a man and a woman” (32). Families are essentially the biases of the marriage. Not only are they the people that raised the child into adulthood. They are also the counselors of the relationship by bringing the couple back together after an argument. One of the most common ways that the family plays a role is in the bridewealth. Bridewealth is the giving of gifts in the form of cattle, sheep, food, and/or money to the bride’s family. The reason behind this was to thank the wife’s family for raising a daughter that their own husband is able to marry. Being a woman in the African society is most times grueling. She is the constant worker and keeper of her husband’s house. So in a...
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