You always looked out of place if you didn’t have a child out of wedlock during my grandfather’s generation.
They had a belief that sowing wild oats was a way of expanding territory. Your name would be mentioned far and beyond because you had a representative in each county. It qualified you for leadership in the community because they considered you to be a more responsible man who could absorb all the challenges that came with polygamy compared to those who were loyal to one wife.
A man had to smoke a pipe to be counted among the brave and wise elders of the clan. Those who didn’t smoke the pipe were considered cowards. The pipe was a symbol of authority. It showed that one would easily smoke out any problem at any given time in the community. Maybe that explains why most witchdoctors still smoke those long pipes, perhaps to intimidate the clients.
The man always served the meat stew whenever the home had beef for lunch or dinner. He apportioned it according to age, incentive for domestic chores done or as punishment to those who didn’t perform to his expectations. The best in any category that he deemed fit would get a piece of meat with a bone and the poor performers would get offal or nothing at all.
Without a son, you weren’t considered a man. Men never gave you any serious role to play in society, let alone allow you to drink with them. Such peer pressure always compelled them to have extramarital affairs in search for a son. Interestingly, some STDs were celebrated. I once had a conversation with an elderly man in his late 70s at a vigil who told me that suffering from “enziku” (gonorrhea) was a sign that you had conquered several territories.
And as such, your peers owed you booze on the house. Annoying as it may sound, they found pride in the suffering that came with the treatment. They measured greatness by ability to overcome pain.
Unlike some of his peers who had children out of wedlock in search of a son, my elderly friend told me that the reason he had children with several women was because he didn’t want to have dull children. His first-born took long to sit which, according to him, was a symptom of mental retardation. He decided to have the next child with the village’s best athlete. He ended up having 20 children because of his weird beliefs.
I do hope that these things ended with the last century.
Source : The Observer