Mafulu - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Polygamous marriages are common, particularly among men with prestige. Clans and villages are exogamous. There does not appear to be any pattern of Intermarriage among communities. Normally, a marriage proposal is made by a boy through one of the girl's close female relatives. However, marriages by elopement and childhood betrothal are also practiced. A gift of a pig and other bride-wealth legitimize a marriage. Postmarital residence is patrilocal. Divorce is not uncommon. A wife usually initiates divorce by leaving her husband's house and moving into the home of her parents, her brothers, or a new husband. Although there may be claims for a return of bride-wealth following divorce, they are usually ineffective.

Domestic Unit. The household is composed of a husband, his wife (or wives), and their children. Other members of the extended family may also join the household. The cowives and their female and young male children sleep together in a single house, while the husband and his adolescent sons Usually sleep in the village men's house.

Inheritance. Inheritance is patrilineal. Personal, movable property is divided among sons or other male kin at the death of an owner. Women only inherit personal, movable property and have no effective claims to land.

Socialization. Children participate in many day-to-day activities with adults, such as gardening and aspects of hunting. Games often involve taking the roles of adults. Children attend primary schools administered and staffed by the district department of education.

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