Of the five recognized signifiers of matrimony in Kenyan jurisprudence, three are monogamous – Christian, civil, and Hindu matrimonies. Islamic matrimonies are potentially polygynous, and African customary matrimonies are polygynous. Although the precise word for matrimonies of individual husband/multiple married womans is “ polygyny, ” Africans use the broader term “ polygamy, ” and it will be so used here.
A adult male may take junior married womans merely if he is able to back up them, which limits polygamy. Bride wealth entirely inhibits polygamy, but the increasing cost of educating kids is every bit dashing. A adult male may take a 2nd married woman as a show of wealth or prominence, to supply an helper in farm work for the first married woman, or to get down another household. Each married woman has to hold life quarters for herself and her kids. In pattern, work forces arrange a little secret plan of land that the married woman works to back up the kids.
A polygynous hubby is expected to be sexually active with all his married womans. In some groups, she is entitled to a visit between each catamenial period. More normally in the rural countries, a adult male will kip with his married womans in rotary motion, several hebdomads at a clip.
In modern-day society, the hubby may take a occupation in the metropolis, and see his married woman or married womans from clip to clip. It is non uncommon today for a adult male to populate apart from his legal married womans for many old ages in this manner.
In some instances, one or more married womans may populate on the shamba, or garden secret plan, while another corsets in the metropolis, caring for her hubby. In add-on, many work forces will take a “ metropolis married woman, ” a signifier of concubinage in which the adult male supports the adult female in the metropolis while non holding a legal relationship with her. Many married womans, populating on the shamba, prefer this to another legal married woman or the chance of her hubby ’ s fall backing to cocottes. Children born to a “ metropolis married woman ” are the male parent ’ s, and are raised by his married woman.
Polygamous matrimonies were ne’er in the bulk, and today are worsening under economic force per unit areas. At the same clip, other, less formal agreements have become common. These include the phenomenon of the “ metropolis married woman ” and polyandrous kept womans. This latter agreement involves several urban work forces who jointly suppo
rt a adult female. None of them live with her, but she portions a sexual relationship with each. In one instance known to the writer, one adult male paid the woman’s rent, another her nutrient measures, and a 3rd paid for her vesture. Her agreement was known to her equals since she held a professional place, and she was non regarded as a cocotte. Any kids born of such agreements are regarded as fatherless. I am non cognizant of this polyandrous relationship affecting a married woman openly keeping a sexual relationship with two or more work forces. However, a married woman or kept woman may hold sexual relationships with more than one adult male, for the intent of obtaining money from each. When the work forces finally learn about the multiple relationships, the consequence is a dissolution that may intensify with a thorough whipping of the adult female or contending between the work forces involved.
The add-on of a 2nd married woman to a family illustrates how at odds involvements between family members can take to rigidness in some instances and adaptability in others, depending on the sensed costs and benefits to single family members. Evidence from several sub-Saharan African states in which polygamy is still widespread shows that first married womans tend to accept the 2nd or 3rd married woman because they perceive several advantages and non merely disadvantages. This adaptability is predicated on the fact that first married womans ( peculiarly in rural countries ) have a really heavy work load, and they welcome labour sharing with the 2nd or 3rd married woman. This is particularly true when married womans ’ land secret plans are big and productive plenty to feed their ain kids and to give a possible excess. Therefore, first wives adapt to a structural alteration that decreases their entree to their hubbies ’ love, sexual favours, labour, and income part because they gain in footings of clip for their ain slumber, labour, and a certain grade of liberty in footings of being able to command the money they earn and to acquire involved in marketing off from place. In some states and states in sub-Saharan Africa, on the other manus, land is a scarce resource, and it is possible that extra married womans become more baleful and less acceptable to first married womans.