Women and polygamy in Burundi

(Baobab Connections) In Burundi as in many other African countries, polygamy is well enrooted and seen as a normal social phenomenon. In fact, this phenomenon was largely practised in African traditional society. “In traditional Africa, one man could be married to four women and this gives him social respect,” Ndihokubwayo an elder said. This phenomenon because more vigorously practised with the advent of Islam in African countries. Many social consequences resulted from it. For example, women are divorced without any plausible reason and mothers are abandoned with their kids at home.

Asked to give their position about the phenomenon of polygamy, Burundian women don’t hide their disgust towards this phenomenon. NoĆ«lla Haziyo, a young lady in first year of university, describes polygamy as a way through which our ancestors could satisfy their greed. In way viewing things, she vigorously rejects the idea of bringing a second wife simply because a wife resembles another, as she goes on saying. More striking is the fact that this phenomenon which has existed since long ago does not outgrow itself despite its negative impact on the African society.

Here many agree on the idea that the phenomenon cannot disappear as a long as only women are victims. “I can never understand the reaction of my husband. He let me alone with our children and I haven’t seen him for months and months,” Claudette angrily denounces her husband. “I really regret my marriage with my husband; he doesn’t love me and my children,” she says.

Fatima Shaban, a Muslim woman, seems not to understand this practice within her religion.

According to her, every husband who brings a second wife in denies the fact to the first. “Love from one man can never be shared between two women,” she reveals. Asked to give her position about the idea that polygamy is legal in Islam, she mentions that Muslim men do it to satisfy themselves and don’t follow what is preached by Islam. We can’t help mentioning that cases of polygamy continue to be revealed despite the different attempts by Burundian government to abolish it... (source)

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