Kongo - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Monogamy is required by law, but many men have long-standing, quasi-domestic relationships with more than one woman. Traditionally, marriage with a classificatory patrilateral cross cousin was preferred, but no one may marry into a closely related lineage. Couples are expected to go through traditional wedding formalities, but official recognition is extended only to legally registered marriages. A man is obliged to support his children, whether he married their mother or not, and there is no status of illegitimacy.

Domestic Unit. By tradition, a married woman and man have separate budgets, the wife being responsible for the provision of food (except meat) and the husband for clothes and other bought goods. Each disposes independently of any surplus, but in Zaire the government favors making women dependent on their husbands. Children are raised cooperatively by neighboring and related women.

Inheritance. Increasingly, especially in urban areas, children inherit from their fathers.

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