POLYGAMY,A CENTREPIECE IN AFRICAN MORALS
This may come as a shock to many westerners who dread committing a bigamy offence if they are married to more than one partner at the same time without dissolution of the first marriage.
But Africa is full of cultural shocks that bewilder our brother's and sisters in the west.
Kenyan law for instance recognises a polygamous marriage under the provisions of the customly law where a man is allowed to marry more than one wife.
What may shock the westerners even more is that in most cases,it is the senior wife who prods the man to take in a second wife to help her in her "wifely duties" especially when she advances in age mostly from her early 40's.
For some reasons that are not very clear,African men are known to be well endowed in sexual virility well beyond their middle age and the senior wife is sometimes unable to cope with the conjugal demands of such a husband.
It is at this particular time in her life that she takes a personal initiative to spot a younger well behaved girl for her husband who will relieve her of these "wifely duties" from time to time.
This is a better arrangement for the wife as she is able to keep a close watch on the junior wife chaperoning her to be morally upright so that she does not endanger the threesome couple thro std's as she probably would if she is in a secret affair with the husband in which case she has the freedom to entertain multiple partners and expose the couple to stds.
In other words,she becomes a live-in mistress with full claims to the estate of the husband but under chaperoning of the senior wife for good behaviour.
In normal cases.a man is not supposed to take a second wife before he is 45 yrs old or thereabouts. Most senior wives are normally 3-5 yrs younger than their husbands and so they will also be within the same age bracket with their husbands.
After such a marriage,the senior wife takes charge of ensuring that the husband remains virile by fortifying his meals and drinks with Viagra like herbs(eg. Mondia whytei) to ensure that he can cope with the double marital duties in his newly acquired "Corporal rank" knowing very well that although He may be too much for one woman,He needs an extra drive to take care of two.
The younger wife is normally kept in the dark about these herbs untill much later in the marriage when she is allowed to take over full "wifely duties" from the senior wife who now recruits her into this fine art of keeping the husband "fit".
This feat is achieved thro an agreement between the two wives right at the beginning of this marriage that the husband will always take meals from the two wives on alternative days to bring about equality of status between the two wives.
Conjugal rights are normally agreed upon on fortnightly basis.
For all her troubles,the senior wife takes consolation of the knowledge that her husband is unlikely to have a roving eye for younger women when she has brought in one for him within the compound.
Unbelieving westerners would like to believe that our Women must be be brainwashed to go thro all this,but believe me that there is sense in what they do.
They are able to cope with the jealousy and rivalry that is common in such relationships by taking the initiative of headhunting the right girl for their men and establishing chaperoning authority over her.
This is unlike the case with mistresses who are normally in direct competition for attention with the senior wife and she has no control whatsoever over such a relationship.
That's Africa for you!