As much as traditions are sacred, some are weird and scary. Here is a random look into some of the weirdest marriage practices by South Sudanese communities.
1. Barren wife ‘marrying’ another wife
In this case, an infertile wife will literally marry another lady that will bear kids with her husband on her ‘behalf’ since she can’t bear kids. The barren woman, in this case, is considered the husband in this marriage and any children who are born by the lady becomes hers. The child from this union bears the surname of the ‘woman-husband’. This practice is rampant among the Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk.
If a husband dies, the wife then gets inherited by one of the deceased’s brothers and children who are born out of this union are regarded as children of the deceased.
This practice is majorly done by the Dinka and Nuer and partly by the some communities in Equatoria.
If a son dies before or without getting married, the parents arrange for him to marry in absentia. This is purposely done so that the dead son cannot be cut off from the chain of life which is supreme and most important. Parents of a dead son will have to conduct a grave marriage if the son died before/without getting marrying. The mother of the dead son agrees with the family of the lady to be ‘married off’ and with the consent of the lady as well. This is common among many tribes in South Sudan
4. Gifting the widower with a wife
Also known as sororate marriage, in this case, when a wife dies, parents of the dead wife can decide to gift the husband with a wife, in this case, a sister of the dead wife is usually gifted to the widower as a wife. This also happens if a family is unable to return the bride price to the husband’s family and the sister of the dead comes in as a worthy compensation.
5. Not getting married before older siblings
I have personally witnessed this. A person, whether man or woman, however old he/she can be is not supposed to be married before older sibling does. The older siblings are forced to get married by all means. If the older siblings don’t marry, they are forced into marriages so as to ‘open a way’ for the younger siblings who are ready to settle to do so.