Afro-Bolivians - Marriage and Family

Although legal marriage is common among Afro-Bolivians, a couple often lives together and has children for several years before they can afford to marry. Divorce and serial polygamy are not uncommon among Afro-Bolivians. After divorce women often remain single and raise children, whereas men migrate to another part of the country in search of work and sometimes remarry.

Aymara-speaking Blacks of South Yungas frequently intermarry with Aymara Indians and mestizos, a strategy to elevate the social status of their children (M. Léons 1978). Afro-Bolivians of Nor Yungas, however, are by and large endogamous. Interethnic relations between Blacks and the Aymara are quite different in Nor Yungas. Although some Aymara families live in mainly Black agricultural communities, there is often racial tension between the two groups, and intermarriage is infrequent.

Socialization. Young children accompany their mothers during the day as they work in the fields: it is the mother who is mainly responsible for rearing and disciplining children. Children attend primary school in their own communities and secondary school in a nearby regional town. Because of the distance, teenagers attending high school often live with a relative in town or find room and board, returning to their families only for weekends.

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