The Bayankole people are from Ankole traditional kingdom in Uganda. This kingdom is set on the South-Western part of Uganda, towards the east of Lake Edward. Bayankole translated from the local dialect means people of Ankole, the singular version of the term is Muyankole (person of Ankole). The tribe consists of two major groups which are, the Bahima and the Bairu. The former are cattle rearers while the latter are agriculturists.
Preparation for marriage begins at a very early age among the Bayankole. Once a girl turns eight or nine, she ceases to play around like other children of her age. She is kept indoors most of the time where she is fed beef and millet and lots of milk. The purpose of this is to ensure that the girl gains weight and become fat. Among the Bayankole, being fat is synonymous to being beautiful.
Immediately her parents notice her budding breasts they make her understand that she has to abstain from sexual intercourse. They do this by telling her the dangers of having sex like unwanted pregnancies which could bring shame to the family. In ancient times, getting pregnant before marriage resulted in a death sentence or ostracizing of the girl from the family.
A father is usually saddled with the responsibility of choosing a wife for his son. He is sometimes assisted by his relatives as he has to pay the required bride price. The bride price differs between the two groups of Bayankoles. The Bairu people require three goats, two cows, and a couple of beer pots. The Bahima on the other hand, require between two to twenty cows and this depends on how wealthy the father is.
Marriages are usually arranged when the groom is a teenager. The boy may also propose by himself at a very young age. The payment of the bride price is the beginning of a series of events that make up the wedding proper.
The bride’s father slaughters a cow for food on the wedding day. This is apart from all the other forms of food that are prepared along with local beer on the wedding day. There is always a huge feast at the bride’s family home as well as the groom’s home which is where the wedding is consummated.
The weird part of the tradition is that one of the bride’s aunts has to certify that the groom is potent and the bride kept her virginity until her wedding day. Sometimes, the aunt is required to sexual intercourse with the groom while in other cases she will watch or listen to the couple have sex.
That’s about it for the Bayankole wedding from Uganda, it is definitely a fun experience.