Bagirmi - Marriage and Family

Marriage. The Barma traditionally preferred marriage with either cross cousin; in the 1970s, however, most of their marriages were to nonkin. Bride-price was paid in the vast majority of marriages. Levirate and sororate were not practiced. Polygny occurred most frequently among middle-aged men of political, economic, or religious distinction. Divorce was easy and frequent.

Domestic Unit. Although the Barma are ideally patrilocal and have large, extended families, only about one-third of the households in the 1970s were characterized by such features. Most households had some form of the nuclear family.

Inheritance. The Barma appear to be increasingly influenced by Islamic inheritance rules.

Socialization. Barma children are raised in a moderately permissive fashion. Flouting of cultural rules is not tolerated, and, when necessary, offenders are verbally reprimanded or spanked. Some adolescent males attend Quranic schools, but very few children receive any other type of formal education.

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