Marriage in African culture, from North to South, East to West is hands-down one of the most significant rites of passage. It is the most celebrated ceremony in all African cultures. African weddings are a spiritual and social family affair and involve the combining of two lives, two families, and even two communities! There is no great civilization that has ever existed that abstained from marriage as one of its core fundamentals of nation building.
Marriage is sacred in Africa and beyond, because it solidifies relationship that enrich communities and nations by bring forth new life and new hope. African cultures celebrate the coming of the rains, the first harvest and the birth of a child. Marriage is that cultural process which ushers in new life. It is a cherished and most celebrated rite of passage since the dawn of African civilization. But marriage is not a human right: Human rights don’t need licenses or certificates. Marriage is instead a privilege afforded by communities, between man and woman for those who meet the criteria.
Marriage is the only known incubator for the raising of balanced socially functional children. It is a civilized union of man and woman. The ideal setup for a child to be raised into full functionality in the African context as a contributor to civilization. It is the institutionalization of complementary relationship between male and female energies, enshrining in the child sentiments and values from both sexes. This is the formula which is secured with marriage.
Extended family systems sits in this equation by sharing responsibilities and enshrining balance. Even if a woman is unable to contribute by having her own biological children her role as a mother is expressed in a communal set up. And hence why the Pan-African proverb of it takes a village to raise a child. Parenting is communal, and the harmony of male and female energies are critical in enshrining balanced humans.