• The Kurya tribe practice a form of traditional same-sex marriage known as nyumba ntobhu. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Young men are apparently annoyed.
By
Ben Winsor

10 Aug 2016 - 12:13 PM  UPDATED 10 Aug 2016 - 2:41 AM

Women in Tanzania have been turning to a unique tradition of same-sex marriage to avoid sexist tribal structures for years. According to local media, it’s a trend that’s on the rise.

The Kurya tribe, a cattle-herding community of roughly 700,000 in the country’s north, practise a form of traditional same-sex marriage known as nyumba ntobhu – ‘House of Women.’

The unions allow for women to live together, raise families together and share a bed – though their relationships are not sexual in nature. 

“Most Western enthusiasts came to find that nyumba ntobhu, which is translated as ‘woman marrying woman’, is quite different from West’s lesbianism, which together with gay marriage, have been hotly disputed in Africa,” Tanzanian newspaper The Citizen reported

The marriages are often between an older woman and a younger woman, and are popular because they allow women to escape a range of sexist practices still occurring in Tanzania and across the African continent.

By taking an older wife, younger women may avoid the potential for marital rape, violent domestic abuse, being sold by their parents and genital mutilation. 

The practice is detailed in a recent report by Marie Claire.

“By Kurya tribal law, only men can inherit property, but under nyumba ntobhu, if a woman without sons is widowed or her husband leaves her, she is allowed to marry a younger woman who can take a male lover and give birth to heirs on her behalf,” the magazine reports. 

By taking an older wife, younger women may avoid the potential for marital rape, violent domestic abuse, being sold by their parents and genital mutilation. 

But an apparent spike in the practice in recent years has been causing concern among some men.

“Young men claimed they were being denied the opportunities to marry young women because the latter continued to be loose, knowing that they could choose to be married by older women,” The Citizen reported

But other locals said that if men were less violence and treated their wives with respect, they’d have better luck, the paper reported.

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