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African Widows And Traditional Rites: What's Your Position?

It's a common thing in Africa to expose widows to all sorts of dehumanising conditions all in the name of compulsory traditional rites before and after the burial of their husbands. Sometimes women are made to shave their hairs; sometimes they are made to sleep in the same room with the dead. some are forced to drink water used in bathing the corpse, etc. Truly, of what significance are these rites?

When I lost my dad some years back, I insisted that my mum would not go through any dehumanising treatment even when they said she had to stay in a room for 3months with the same clothes on, I BLUNTLY REFUSED. One week after the burial, I told my family members that I was taking my mum back to Lagos. They thought I was joking! But at the end of the day, I took her and my siblings back to Lagos. It was really painful, because people who never cared how the family was survived now wanted to play Lord because the breadwinner was no more. My mum just couldn't thank me enough.

Let me have your views on this stone-age/barbaric tradition.

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8 answers

The Problem with Africa as a whole and not just Nigerians is that they are so willing to give up wholesale their values and customs in the Name of progress.

First many Nigerian were forced to be one country when it's obvious that there are separate nations dominating it. When given independance instead of revising it's borders African countries still insist in OBEYING the borders imposed on them from the "Berlin Conference of 1885" !

Then having Chritianity forced down their throats in the colonial era, having followed Christian practice, they give up their own cultures. Not realising that the West constantly revise their doctrine or religion to suit the times that they are living in. Why else have many "Chrisitian" bodies been more accepting to Homosexual behaviour? 

African Culture and religions, if any still are strong enough, should also be revised to incorporated modern day living not not discarded. As we discard our Cultural practises we weaken our self and our resolve to better understand who we are and what we are, in the name of "progress".

The muslims do not have that weakness. This is why the West is scared of them. Not because of terror but because in an age where the only thing that Westerners believe in is the Nightly News or the Media over Religion the Muslims are a rock solid force of believe that can adapt successfully to Western advances yet retain their origins and Cultures. Even expand them.

If only the Yoruba religion could do like wise.

Now the move to discard our African heritage and become "Saved souls" is actually being debunked by our White Cousins who are or have moved in more ever increasing secular circles. Now the new religion of the West is called "Democracy" and once more they have the World trying to dance to their tune.

The democracy that they preach is nothing more than a two or perhaps three party state, on a rotational basis.

We as Yoruba, Ibgo, Hausa Nigerians and Africans should revise our beliefs and heritage, preserving it's core and adapting it to our present but never discarding it in the "Name of Progress".

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i think its really cruel.that a widow goes through such pains in the hands of her relations.it is mostly praticed in the south south part of nigeria.

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God bless you Rottweiler- you were there for your mum.

All practices that do not enhance us a people need to be done away with.

I lovoe my anestors, our ancestors, but I don't believe that they wated us to carry on traditions that broke apart the family by dehumanising and maltreatign each other. Learn from their mistakes.

Down with Bride prices!

Down with FGM! (there is no female circumision-it's just the difiling and violating of the female Instruments as well as a major health risk.

Down with bogus traditional practices!

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I beleive the "justification" for it is/was proving that the wife did not have a hand in the death of the husband, if it was suspicious. Of course if there was tension between the wife and the in-laws you can expect some will use it as an opportunity to persecute the wife.

Education typically clears such mis-conceptions. I doubt it was all over Africa though, but I do not know.

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Which tribe is your father's family from? Please don't just say "Africa"; let's be more specific.

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@Rottweiler,

Sorry about the loss of your dad.

I'm surprised to find out that such traditions still exist. It's a bit sad because as you said, there really isnt any significance to such practices.

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I'm very proud of you -- I thought I was the only one who hated such customs. My parents are both very educated and they don't believe in such.

When my Dad's elder brother died, he ensured the wife was treated well and prevented his siblings from harassing her and taking over her husband's possessions.

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The practice against women and widows in particular in some parts of Africa IS BARBARIC and should not be made to look any different! It should be frowned upon and stopped.

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