Thursday, February 18, 2010

Customs and Traditions....this one got me freaked out

This morning, we're driving to the office and D is giving me the low-down on Akin* his childhood friend.

Akin* has been with Dumebi* for close to four years now, in which time, they both left home and re-located to South Africa to live together...and no, they had not yet gotten round to getting married.

Last year, Dumebi gave birth sometime in November and six weeks later she slumped and died...medical results showed that she suffered a stroke and sadly did not survive it.

Now to the freaky part....Akin contacted Dumebi's family with the sad news and informed them that he would be flying down with the corpse to prepare for the burial and in response, he is informed that he would have to first conduct a wedding ceremony and fulfill ALL necessary rites expected of a new groom, including, sleeping in the same room with her corpse on the night of the date set for the wedding ceremony.

After this, he can then proceed to plan for the burial.

So i'm wondering if i'm the only one that finds this really freaky and unneccesary , at worst they could ask for the payment of the bride price and all other material requirement but asking him to sleep with the corpse, i really dont see what this stands to guys pls...i really need to understand this better, what do you think and does someone understand this better than i do?

(shudders at the thought once more)

* Not their real names


  1. What a sad story, condolences to your friend. I've heard of this practice and I think there's actually been a movie (Nigerian) about this. I don't understand it at all. This is a sad example of how things can go wrong when things are not done in the proper way. I think his family has to get involved and he should seek counsel. I don't know what his spiritual orientation is but I'm not sure it is biblical to carry out marriage rites with the dead. It is an agreement between two living people. Anyway, depending on the custom as well, the child may not be seen as his own until he carries out the marriage rites so that may also be a factor.
    I don't understand the way we African deal with death and burial, we forget that it is only the body that is left behind and we use a sad occasion for power struggles. This is really making me upset. I pray the whole issue is resolved.

  2. I agree completely with Nneka A...haba! marry and sleep with a corpse?
    If they insist, maybe *Akin should just bury *Dumebi in South Africa, and take care of the baby himself until things cool off with her family...

  3. biko if its me i wont do it, can you imagine how freaky that would be?ewwwww.see why cohabiting is a very dangerous thing?

  4. I am not fimilar with all of these customs and traditions oooo....but I dont think its necessary at all. The family should have made sure all of this was done prior to them moving in together and having a child.

    If he was one of my friends or family members I will tell them that they shouldn't do it oooo....sleeping with a dead body!?!? Oh no!

  5. Is the lady now taboo just because she is dead? Why is a dead body a dangerous thing? And worthy of expletives? It is just a that, someone you love who has passed away. I don't think we have to be afraid of them or regard them as gross. In our culture and several others even non-Nigerian, a lot of wake-keeps are done with the corpse in the same house and have people sleep/ pass the night in the same room with it.

    Unless they say Akin has to have sex with Dumebi's corpse I see nothing wrong with the requirement. He will probably be on the same flight with her and drive down to where she'll be buried in the same car, so why is sleeping in the same room different?

    He failed to do things in the right order, so now, if he really loved her, I suggest he does things that will dignify everybody, Dumebi, his new child and the family she left behind so that they can all mourn in peace and not rancour. My condolences to them.

  6. @ Myne are you serious?there is nothing wrong with marrying a dead person?Who will even marry them sef?A pastor abi?It is FREAKY and not right.

    The guy should refuse o..Marriage is when two souls come together and agree to be this case one person is dead and so it is not a marriage as she cannot give her consent..Also, what will marrying her achieve?They should let her rest in peace and bury her asap!God forbid!!

  7. I'm with PinkSatin...Who will marry them? Will a pastor come to the house abi he will carry corpse to the church?? Hia!

    Myne- Aren't wakes usually done a couple/few days after death? No telling how long *Dumebi has been dead.

    Na mehn the whole thing is freaky and down right unnecessary. This is where culture no dey get sense sometimes...abeg jare!

  8. Wow. I just don't understand how they can suggest such a thing. Tradition or not. I'm sure her family all claim to be religious so say they are Christians or Muslims my question would be, does their religion support this kind of action?

    Beyond that, it is just sick to place that kind of onus on someone.
    @Myne, what do you mean HE didn't do things the right way? They BOTH know why they chose to move without marrying or what not. I'm sure it wasn't by force to move. I'm just trying to see the bigger picture here.

  9. Wonders will never end. It is bizarre to ask someone to marry a corpse in my opinion, the sleep in the same room with the corpse on their wedding night is not a big deal as long as they are not asking him to lie next to her body. It was a mutual decision to cohabitate, and they should have insisted he marry her when she got pregnant if marriage is so important to them. If I were the guy, I would refuse. If they like, they shouldn't bury their daughter. Or he should have her buried in SA like someone else suggested.

  10. gosh, i saw a movie that depiceted this and my mum said it really happens...
    this is just sad in this day and age....traditions my foot! cant he bury her in SA and refuse all the other things?

  11. I can see all my Christianized sisters up in arms.

    @Pink Satin, Marriage is not only church or pastor in Nigeria. Customary marriage is recognized and upheld by law. It simply means the man pays her traditional bride price.

    @Repressed one, some wakes take place weeks or months later.

    Anyway, I'm sure Akin will do what works for him. Me I just no like wahala..

  12. Who is this Myne person? So because he could love her while she was alive, he should have no problem sleeping in the same room with her dead body? I fear u o!!

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  14. just pray that this doesnt happen to someone u know, cos thats when u realise how mean people can doesnt even matter that u guys are married in court or whatever..if u did not fulfil the traditional marriage rites, you'll be astonished at what happens when ur SO passes away.

    i know of lots of communities that do this..if it were just a simple sleep in the same room like Myne said, it might not be such a big deal cos really people have stayed in the same room with their mom/dad's corpses etc.. it's really the whole humiliation they put u thru..that makes it such a demeaning experience esp as it is not voluntary..everything is such with such antagonistic manner that it becomes such a dreaded event.

    not to talk at them milking you dry..ah, they def will..

    what i would say is try and negotiate as much as possible appeal to their better side..remember it is their child that is dead and do not consider burying her in SA o..ok.. i wish ur friend all the best, it's such a terrible thng to befall someone.

  15. hmm, I have read this post a couple times since Friday and I still don't know what to say. What a sad situation...

  16. insanity..
    what would i do,if i was the one.? cant even think about it..

  17. First this is a sad story.
    Secondly, that is some scary ish there.

    Marry and spend the night with a corpse? Arrgh!
    I hope they won't say he should drink water used in washing the corpse to prove he is not the one who killed his wife.

  18. I guess I am coming across this post kinda late cos I just found it from Blessing's blog... I see Myne's point but I do not agree. My reason is less based on how disgusting/revolting etc. this is... but on the spiritual implications of marriage. Call me superstitious or old-fashioned, but uniting yourself with a corpse in such a sacred institution cannot have positive spiritual connotations. It is wrong to torture the man like this for a death he did not cause.

  19. serves him right why didnt he marry her all the while

  20. @Anonymous, why talk that way. Sometimes a man's plans do not come to reality when he wants them to. It cld be both had plans for marriage before she passed on. Dnt think the 4yrs or o they have been together was long enough for them to have got married. Well, that tradition do exist anyway. Have been witness to one.