My Grandpa was Polygamist: Polygamy in Senegal

The tradition of polygamy in Senegal is quite interesting.

Yes, polygamy actually does exist!

When I asked my host mom about it, she told me:

“Well, I come from a polygamist family, and it worked just fine for us!”

It turns out grandpa had 4 wives. The woman I know as grandma (or yaay in Wolof) is wife #2.

With a lot of openness and sharing, they made it work out. It was one big happy family, and she considered her half brothers and sisters as true siblings who all shared 4 mothers.

My mom conceded that for many families it seems to cause a lot of problems. But that could be because they get into it for the wrong reason.
Wrong reasons might include:

  1. Finding another “better” woman and not wanting to divorce the first
  2. Taking another wife as a show of wealth
  3. Umm, etc.

“One man I knew,”

she told me,

“decided to take a second wife because he told me that he just need to make love all the time. He still loved and had a great relationship with his first wife, he just needed another woman to be completely satisfied.”

Apparently it worked out for him, too.

[Cover photo: Women in part of a women’s group searching to better their community in rural Senegal.]

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