Afro-Venezuelans - Marriage and Family
Marriage. Legal marriage has been erratic in many Afro-Venezuelan rural and migrant communities. During colonial times, unions between slaves favored the economic interests of slaveholders over the interests of slaves.
Domestic Units. Nuclear families, as well as mother-child dyads, are the most common basic domestic arrangements. Extended families, including grandparents, for example, are also common. In rural areas such as Barlovento, related households may be situated around a shared courtyard or be in close proximity to one another. With an increase in the number of adolescents who go to the cities to finish their secondary education, family units are changing. Children usually live with relatives in the city—aunts, uncles, grandparents—thus broadening the role of extended family units, especially in migrant urban communities.
Socialization. Children participate in daily secular routines as well as in ritual and ceremonial activities from an early age. Formerly, children were involved in informal systems of education, watching and learning from adults in the Community. Since the late 1970s, however, there has been a transition to more formal systems of socialization. Most children now attend school to at least the sixth grade and often go to the city and live with relatives to complete their formal education. The incursion of radio and television into most Afro-Venezuelan communities has also affected the enculturation of young Venezuelan Blacks, delivering mass-media images, usually from a middle- and upper-middle-class perspective.