Polygamous Family and Social Justice: A Case Study of the Abagusii Tribe in South Western Kenya

11 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2017

Date Written: June 12, 2017


Polygamy was guaranteed among the Abagusii family. It refers to marriage in which the spouse of either sex has more than one mate at the same time and form a family. A family is complete when children are born. A situation where the wife or husband was proved barren or impotent, then the wife was to bring her young sister and marry the husband and give birth to children which were assumed to be for the first wife. In the case of the husband, was to choose a brother and give him to his wife to bare him children and this was done secretly between the members of the family alone. This was enhancing love, peace, harmony and unity in the family. There were other factors which paved way for polygamy like when the first wife was proved rude [disobedient] to the husband, the second wife was to neutralize her rudeness. If the second wife was to give birth five born daughters, then the husband was entitled to marry a third wife to bare sons. The most important significance in this polygamous marriage, social justice was guaranteed through the husband. This was done simply by the building a small round house [Gesarate] where he slept and the wives brought food into the house and he ate with ALL his children from all wives. If the wives needed him for sex intercourse was to take a three leg stool to her house and place it outside her door so as the husband to know. The husband to ensure that all his children received blessings; he never slept in the wife’s house until the sun rise. If he did so always were blessings ALL his children without discrimination. The problem of the study is nowadays people marry two wives and separate them by purchasing land in different regions and build different homesteads and making them hating one another because of assumption the husband loves one whom he stays in her homestead for a long period leading to enmity. The objective of the study is to investigate the methods the ancient polygamous family used to ensure love, peace and unity flourished among the children and promoted social justice in the family as compared to modern polygamous family. The research is analytical and interview technique will be used to collect data from old men who are polygamous. The findings will be significant to modern polygamous to learn lessons. It is concluded that there is hatred, jealousy, enmity and greedy among wives and their children towards others leading to social injustice. It is recommended the social functions of the family falls into reproduction; maintenance; placement and socialization of children which brings social justice in the family.

Keywords: Polygamy, Social justice, Reproduction, Socialization, Maintenance

Suggested Citation

Okebiro, Gilbert, Polygamous Family and Social Justice: A Case Study of the Abagusii Tribe in South Western Kenya (June 12, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2984711 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2984711

Gilbert Okebiro (Contact Author)

Kisii University, Students ( email )


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