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    Amy Hyben


      There are diverse cultural practices found on the continent of Africa, some of which are exceedingly strange and unusual. We will look at some of the bizarre marriage traditions in Kenya.



      Barren Wife ‘Marrying’ Another Wife


      In this instance, an infertile wife will actually wed a woman who will have children for her husband on her “behalf.” In this marriage, the barren woman is regarded as the husband, and any children the woman bears are hers. This couple’s offspring has the last name of the “woman’s husband” as a middle name. In Kenya, this practice is widespread among the Kambas, Taitas, Kurias, and Kisiis.




      Grave/Ghost Marriages



      Parents arrange for a son to get married in absentia if he passes away before or without getting married. This is done on purpose to prevent the deceased son from being severed from the supreme and most crucial chain of life. If a son passes away before or without getting married, the parents will need to perform a burial marriage. The mother of the deceased son consents to being “married off” with the lady’s family and with the lady’s permission as well.



      Wife Swapping


      If one of the spouses is discovered to be having an affair, the other gets exchanged. After the rather obvious, both parties exchange spouses for the predetermined amount of time before returning them. Even the Luhya area in Northern Kenya recently saw instances of this.


      Leviratic marriages 


      Leviratic weddings can be mistaken for widow inheritance. When a spouse passes away and the widow is wed by a brother or any other relative, this is known as a leviratic marriage. In this situation, the offspring of the union is regarded as the late husband’s children. The Luos, Nandi, and Kambas of Kenya practice this.



      Forcible Marriage


      If only girls are in a family, the last-born daughter is not permitted to get married. The last-born daughter must remain at home with her parents and have male offspring, with any man she chooses, who will become her father.

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