History cling to us and we are shaped by where we come from.
Stories are important, some may argue to say they are the most important tool of narrative, as most histories and events of the world are product of stories told and past down to people from generations to generations.
There are however stories of some cultures in our communities that never get to be heard because of dispositions, and lack of story tellers.
Permit me to share the cultural practice of an ethnicity from the northern part of Nigeria called the Whona people.
These are timid and beautifully made people with close knitted ancestral lineage with the Fulani kingdom from the westhern part of Adamawa State. Very kind and beautiful women they have.
Regardless, they use to be a strange practice in that community called Jambai. Jambai is a marital ritual where a girl of 4 years old is betrothed to a man of 40- 60 year old with the stipulation that, upon arriving the age of majority she would moved into his house and perform her wifely duties.
Most of these men are married with wives and children. Some even move the girl to their house- hold at that tender age, nurture her, and wife her at the age of majority.
The dark side of this culture is, there were unrecorded cases of young girls running away into the bush because they don’ t want to be wed. Some were spotted jumping the river and trees, committing suicide.
Imagine as a young girl full of life and dreams, only to be told on arriving 16, when you were suppose to go to college that you have a husband?
The whona people are highly polygamous community, as there is hardly a household with less than two wife’ s in their villages.
Nevertheless, this practice has been banished by the upcoming generations. The Jambai culture has long gone been abolished and not in practice, but there are so many women who are still wife’ a and mothers because of that culture.
And they still share their stories. My mother is from that community, and she shared how she successfully avoided the Jambai ritual by sleeping on top of a tree for days, people thought she had ran- away like the other girls.
How insane that could have been? If this practice is still in existence?