In West Africa, having a luscious body is a blessing. Brides-to-be are encouraged to feed up on starchy fufu mashed yam, plantain or cassava , to ensure they have a suitably plump figure on their big day. Married women who encourage this horseplay can be suspected of adultery. Although Ghanaians share some of our romantic ideas about love, they primarily see marriage as a practical arrangement, with duties undertaken on both sides.
Engagements are taken very seriously. Commonly, when a Ghanaian man decides to wed, he informs his parents, so that they can investigate the family of their prospective daughter-in-law for any history of disease, criminality, witchcraft or violence, along with her employment status, religious background and standard of living.
Godswilling, who owns her own beauty salon, recalls: A year later, he had to ask permission from my family for my hand in marriage but they said no. However, I used all my persuasive skills, and they finally agreed.
He expressed his formal intentions and presented gifts of goodwill — some cloth and a headscarf for my mother — as is customary — and sandals for my father. The dowry included a ring, a Bible as my family are Christian and some wine and schnapps. He gave me a sewing machine and gold jewellery, which are traditional gifts for the bride-to-be. The sewing machine allows you to bring in extra income if you need it.
Afterwards, we had a huge reception, with guests. We were both born on a Friday, our fathers were both born on a Wednesday and our mothers were both born on a Monday. Also, our mothers are both the eighth child born in their families. If a wife fails to fall pregnant quickly enough, she may well be replaced.
According to the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey of , 23 percent of women had experienced polygamous relationships. Beatrice is a typical case: He is a typical African man. I wanted a real woman who would be able to look after me. Commonly, before an additional wife is taken, the first is informed by her husband and pacified with money or gifts.
Ghanaian ideas of marriage may differ from those of America or Europe but some common notions remain. My wife is timid and likes me to look after her. If I go away for a while, she grows nervous in the house and wants me to return. They might fight and roll over together but always get back up and play again.