Polygamy in Igbo Culture

Topics: Igbo people, Marriage, Chinua Achebe Pages: 9 (3284 words) Published: April 5, 2011
POLYGAMY IN IGBO CULTUREIn the whole world, there are five continents. Africa is the world’s second largest continent, with 80 percent of its area in the tropics. Africa is usually portrayed as a dark continent historically and physically isolated from the rest of the world but it is not. Nigeria is one of the most important country in Africa. It is located in western Africa, bordering the gulf of Guinea between Benin and Cameroon. People living together in a community have their own tradition and customs. Nigerian people do not stay away from this reality especially the Igbo community. The Igbo community is one of the three major ethnics group in Nigeria. Geographically, it is located in the Eastern part of Nigeria. In this paper, attempt will be made to describe Polygamy In the Igbo culture. As we are moving forward, we will talk about the importance of marriage in the Igbo culture. We will develop what polygamy is, analyzing the causes of polygamy in the Igbo culture and thinking about the consequences of polygamy in the Igbo culture.In the Igbo community there are two different types of marriage systems: the first is the customary marriage and the second is the statutory marriage. The statutory type of marriage is foreign to the culture of the Igbo community. The customary marriage is indigenous to the culture of the Igbo community. It has been in practice from ages to ages and handed down from generation to generation. Marriage is a family affair in the Igbo community. It is a contract between two families. Without an exchange of money from the family of the prospective groom to that of the perspective bride, it will be very difficult to claim that any marriage has taken place between a man and a woman in the Igbo community. The payment of a bride price legalizes marriage within the Igbo customary marriage system and transfer the woman and her reproductive rights from her father’ control to the control of her husband and his family. Marriage is considered important and essential in the life of every Igbo man and woman. A man who is not married is not respected in the community. He may be considered incomplete, immature. A husband is a woman’s prestige. While marriage is considered significant and crucial for both men and women in traditional Igbo society, polygamy is considered as a symbol of high status. Therefore, what polygamy is?First and foremost, polygamy is the fact that someone get married with more than one spouse at the same time.. Polygamy has different meanings: polygyny is often used for a man who marry several women at the same time. Bigamy is used for a man having two wives. Polyandry is used for a woman who marry more than one man at a time. Finally group marriage is applied for a husband having many wives and those wives having many husbands. In the Igbo society we will develop polygyny often replaced by polygamy. One custom of Umuofia that would be very different from Western culture is Polygamy, the practice of having many wives. This custom is practiced in the connected nine villages of Umuofia. In fact, a man's wealth is partially measured by the number of wives he has. A wealthy man described in Things Fall Apart, had nine wives and thirty children. Okonkwo had three wives and eight children . Obierika stated:”That is the money from your yams, “ he said”. I sold the big ones as soon as you left. Later on I sold some of the seedyams and gave out others to sharecroppers..I...
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