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:
- Finding another “better” woman and not wanting to divorce the first
- Taking another wife as a show of wealth
- 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.]