The Kabras customary marriage
Since different communities organize their marriages in varying ways, there is need to study and analyse every community's system. Therefore, the main theme of this thesis is the Kabras customary marriage. This is a survey examining and assessing the customs, beliefs, and practices of what constitutes a traditional Kabras marriage system. The author first gives a brief account of the Kabras people's historical background before embarking on the main theme of the study. The community's migrational as well as its settlement patterns are fully discussed in this part. For easier understanding of the community's way of life, one has first to know its historical background. A community's beliefs and practices are synonymous with its historical background. The introductory part of this work looks at marriage in general. The marriage institution's value in any given community is examined also under this part. The author compares the Africans' attitude towards marriage with that of the Westerners. The latter's view regarding the former's marriage system is examined.This part gives an overview of the marriage institution in general. In the statement of the problem, the author exposes some of the issues that he intends to research on. The main issues to be highlighted during the study include the way the Kabras people prepared for marriage and generally how the whole affair was organized and finally consummated. Thus, one of the objectives of the study is to establish how the Kabras organized their marriage system. The community's concept of marriage, the bridewealth, weddings and all other aspects which constituted a traditional Kabras marriage are some of the aspects of which the author intends to cover during his study. The rationale behind this study has also been clearly stated. Before looking at the Kabras marriage system, the researcher first examines other scholars' works on marriage. The available literature shows that the institution of marriage has interested many authors. This does not however imply that marriage has been exhaustively researched on. The literature explored by the author indicates that some of these scholars were 'armchair researchers' who never went to the field but relied on other people's works. Also some of these authors studied a given community's way of life and generalized their findings. For instance, Evans - pritchard (1951) studied and discovered that the Nuer of Sudan practice ghost marriage; He later generalized his findings to mean 'Africans' practice Ghost marriage without realizing that not all Africans are Nuers. So, the author examines some of these scholars' views and draws his conclusion either by agreeing or disagreeing with thm. The theoretical model has also been represented in this work. Two theories, namely the functionalism and evolutionary have been discussed here. Their aim is to guide the author during his field work. A part from these two theories, the researcher had three hypotheses too which he tested while in the field. These hypotheses too have been stated in this thesis. Although the Kabras had clearly laid down procedures which were supposed to .be adhered to during marriage formalization, there were other instances where these procedures were not followed. Some marriageswere thus organized under extra ordinary circumstances. These marriages too were sanctioned although the community did not encourage them. The researcher looks at some of these marriages. Elopement, marriage by capture, and ~~iml pregnancy marriage are some of the extra - ordinary marriages which the author has examined. The circumstances leading to each one of these marriages have also been stated. It has been revealed from the study that these forms of marriage are more pronounced in the present society than was the case in the traditional days. Various methods were used in collecting the .. data presented here . It was deemed necessary to use different methods because no single method is absolutely perfect. These methods ensured that all the relevant data on the Kabras customary marriage was ,'C'ollected:; Before discussing each of these methods, the author first briefly describes the community's site. The community's population size, area temp era ture s an d the g~erab topography have been analyzed. Also examined are the people's economic, social, and political way of life. The researcher then',moves on to look at each of the methods used in collecting data. The interviews, observations, and. the use 0 f the 'cfu '8Sit i 'onnaireewe rea 11 use din coLl,ectin g data . These methods were tSW~:p;l:emented'b"y the information sought from the University Library materials, journals, articles and other relevant documents. The advantages as well as disadvantages of each of these methods have been given. The data obtained was then analyzed and synthesized into a thesis. This data was analyzed qualitatively because the research was mainly a descriptive one. The research's findings showed that some of the aspects of the Kabras traditional beliefs and practices have been changed by the effects of modernization.For instance, bridewealth was discovered to have been drastically transformed.A part from being commercialized,it is not paid in full in the present society. Traditional weddings were also discovered to have completely ceased to exist. Although numerous changes were identified in the Kabras marriage system, it was discovered too that the community members still cherish some of traditional marriage practices like polygyny and levirate marriages.These are some of the imtitutions which were discovered to have resisted change. It is the present social and economic pressures which are compelling people to change their attitudes towards some of the marriage beliefs and practices.The youths were discovered to be more flexible to changes.The youth's flexibility and the elders' rigidity to changes were cited as the main cause of tensior between the two groups. This thesis concludes by giving the author's recommendations on the marriage institution. The author suggests some of the precautions which can be taken so as to preserve our culture. One of the recommendations given is that both the youths and the elders should learn to understand each other to avoid unncessary squabbles. Such an understanding can be realized if there is a two-way adjustment, between the two parties. The author does not claim that his findings are exhaustive and final. This thesis only crates gateway for the would-be interested scholars for further researches, not only on marriage but on other areas like birth and death beliefs and practices where very little material has been documented. Intensive survey should also be conducted-on various communities' marriage systems. This will enrich both ethnological and ethnographical fields.Such studies will potray the actual picture of the african marriage system .When this will have been achieved, the already existing prejudices against African marriages will be discarded.