Hundreds of women in the Biu-Kodema community in the Kassena-Nankana municipality of the Upper East Region have expressed joy at the abolishment of dehumanizing widowhood rites which tortured women mourning their deceased husbands.
The chief of Biu-Kodema community, Adwina Akantambaninga at a post harvest festival said, the traditional authorities in collaboration with the people of the community have from January 2015, eliminated all dangerous practices associated with the performance of widowhood rites in the community.
[contextly_sidebar id=”alofr0XNpNv05G8Xfy2tEVrz7ExXFRgA”]According to their culture, women mourning their dead husbands are confined in a dark room with little ventilation for 21 days whilst going through certain rites including shaving of head, eating from a dirty calabash and the pouring of hot water on the widow to determine whether or not she killed her husband.
Before the burial of a deceased husband, the widow is made to sit on the ground almost naked, in the presence of her in-laws whilst hot water is poured on her shaved head after which shea-butter is rubbed on her skin.
If she complains of burns, it is interpreted to mean she killed her husband, but if she does not complain then she is exonerated.
This practice has existed for decades and has led to a high rate of forced marriages.
Chief Akantambaninga underscored the need for reforms in certain cultural practices in conformity to modern civilization while preserving the dignity of women.
He said: “From January 2015, no woman will go through that widowhood rite anymore. Women can now mourn their husbands the same way their in-laws will mourn, women are now free to mourn their husbands in dignity.”
He also reduced the number of days for performing funeral rites from 21 days to 7 days and reiterated that “any family that will continue to practice the banned widowhood rite will face the full rigorous of the Law”.
By: Fred Awuni/citifmonline.com/Ghana