You might think that the role of an aunt is to love and guide her niece by being a confidant to her niece, especially with things she’s unable to share with her mother. However, for the Banyakole tribe of Uganda, the duty of an aunt goes way beyond merely giving advice.
The Banyakole people also referred to as the Ankole tribe, are the inhabitants of the traditional Bantu Kingdom, which dates as far back as the 15th century. Located in South-western Uganda, east of Lake Edward, the kingdom which King Mugabe ruled, was known for its special marriage rights.
The Banyakole Marriage Rites. Marriage in this culture is of great significance as parents derive joy and pride from their children’s wedding. According to the Banuakole tradition, when a girl gets to the age of eight or nine, her aunt must groom her for family life. The aunt teaches her every single thing she needs to know about her role as a woman but, most importantly, as a wife.
Virginity in this culture is held in high regard, so the girls must abstain from premarital sex. And if a girl is found to be not a virgin before marriage, she is to face the death penalty or ostracisation from society.
Additionally, the Ankole people consider the slim physique unattractive. To them, fat is simply sexy. So when girls get to the ages of eight and nine, they are required to go through a fattening process where they are force-fed with millet, beef, and milk. This is usually done to speed up the weight gain of the girls so they can attract a husband.
The Banyakole marriage involves several ceremonies, including a Giveaway period know as “Kuhingira,” where the relatives and friends of the bride present her with gifts such as cows and other food items to take to her matrimonial home. Then, after ten days, a ritual called the Okukoza Omunuriro is carried out. The practice involves the bride lighting her first fire in her new kitchen.
On the day of the wedding, a feast is organized at the bride’s home where the father is to slaughter a bull, while at the groom’s home, there is also a feast to consummate the marriage. But first, there has to be one last traditional ceremony, a ceremony that involves two tests that the bride’s aunt must carry out.
Since virginity is the marriage standard for the girls of the Banyakole tribe, every bride must be tested by her aunt to confirm her virginity before the marriage. If the bride passes the virginity test, it’s presumed she has no knowledge of sex or how to please her new husband sexually.
So, the second test involves the bride’s aunt testing the sexual ability of the groom by having sex with him. During this act, she also learns all his sexual tricks and favorite styles to gift her niece with pointers on what the goom likes sexually. This is believed to help the bride better please her husband in the marriage.