SEX DIFFERENCES IN AFRICAN TRADITIONAL SOCIETY.
Sex was a sensitive subject that was respected. Matters of sex had to passed on with care to avoid irresponsible adult sex behavior
SEX EDUCATION IN AFRICAN TRADITIONAL SOCIETY – WAYS HOW SEX EDUCATION WAS PASSED ON TO THE YOUNG
1. Parents. Parents had the primary role of passing on the basics knowledge concerning sex eg personal hygiene. Children that had wrong sex behavior were blamed onto their parents.
2. Monitoring. Children were always monitored during grown stages. In that process, they would be given suitable education concerning sex.
3. Uncles and Aunts. In situations where parents were unable to pass on the instruction, children would be taken to close relatives, girls to aunts and boys to uncles for sex instruction.
4. Secret schools. Private places such as bushes,shores etc would be identified where sex instruction would take place. This would be done to target a specific group of the young.
5. Initiation rituals. On ceremonies of passage from one life stage to another, eg circumcision, puberty rituals etc, sex secrets suitable for the life they would be getting into would be revealed to the candidates.
6. Parenthood. When young adulthood set in, the youths would get introduced to sex facts of parenthood such as the fact that children are born out sex. This would especially be done by relatives.
7. Value of virginity. Girls were urged to stay virgins until marriage. All effort was put in place by elders to ensure their daughter stayed a virgin in order to fetch a good dowry.
8. Premarital sex condemned. Any kind of sexual activity before marriage was condemned. Thus, elders kept identifying maturing adolescents and encouraged them to marry.
9. Incest. All the young were made aware from an early stage that any sex affair with a close relative was unacceptable. Incestuous persons could be expelled from the community.
10. Indirect wording. Society discouraged the use of the exact words when dealing sex related issues. Sex acts and organs’ names would be minced eg kasolo for male organ.
11. Cautioning inducement. Behavior that could sexually tempt others was condemned. Girls thus would be alerted against exposing breasts, squatting etc.
12. Sex taboos. Africans had numerous taboos aimed at reducing promiscuity and perversion. In Buganda, it was believed that premarital sex would lead to death of parents.
13. Separation of beds. Adolescent girls and boys had to sleep separately in order for them to learn that their bodies were now special. Boys had to build out their small houses.
14. The fire place. The whole family would gather around the fireplace in the evening when they would share ideas and opinions about sex.
THE AFRICAN TRADITIONAL WOMAN
Women as the weaker sex had a very low position in ATS. Considering the society was mostly patrineal, nothing good was expected of the female. They were beaten, verbally insulted, chased away, unfairly punished etc. Kisiizi waterfalls.
The following is how women were treated in traditional Africa.
1. Women’s roles were fixed to domestic chores such as cooking, cultivating nearby, looking after children, cleaning etc and nothing more. Men would freely engage in anything.
2. Women were subjected to sale for bride wealth by parents which reduced them to owned property. These would never be a support to them in case of need.
3. Some societies such as the Sabiny of Eastern Uganda subjected their girls to the injurious female genital mutilation where their clitoris would be cut to reduce their sex urge.
4. Women were also never allowed to marry men of their choices. Male parents and guardians instead would predetermine spouses which was unfair.
5. Faithfulness in marriage would unfairly be strictly enforced onto women when men themselves couldn’t practice it. Women would be terribly punished on suspicion of unfaithfulness.
6. Decision making in the family was a reserve of only the man. The man could thus make sensitive resolutions without the knowledge picture wife eg divorce, marriage of another wife etc.
7. Wives also had no say on the family size. The number of children a family had squarely depended upon the man’s will and the wife would only be for producing and caring for them.
8. Birth of a boy was received with celebrations and congratulating the mother. Birth of a girl however was unappreciated and the mother would be seen as a source of sadness.
9. In case the marriage had failed, the woman had no freedom to initiate a divorce. It was only the man who had the right to hold or break it.
10. They were also treated as servants by their husbands and not as mutual companions. They had to kneel down when serving food and had to sit down as the husband sat on a chair.
11. Most misfortunes that befell society were blamed onto women. They were a sign bad luck and as such, meeting a woman as the first person in the morning called for cancelling one’s plans for the day.
12. There were also food restrictions in form of taboos imposed on them where they were not to eat the most delicious and nutritious foods eg eggs, chicken etc. This led to malnutrition.
13. The man had a right to discipline his wife if mistakes were detected. This among others included battering even in presence of the children. This sometimes led to injuries.
14. Women were disallowed to inherit status and property form their deceased parents. All property was enjoyed by male members on the basis that the woman belonged to her husband now.