Sunday, October 20

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Wolof People: Marriage Traditions, Divorce and Culture

The Wolof people are found in North Eastern part of Senegal, Mauritania, and Gambia. The Wolof people are the largest ethnic grouping in Senegal (35% of the Senegalese populace) and in Gambia they are about 12% of the Gambian populace. The Wolof as a people are largely Muslim and they practice Islam as religion. 

 To form a stronger and stable family unit, the Wolof people believed that cross-cousin marriage (young man marrying a maternal uncle’s daughter) was the best form of marriage – they are matrilineal in nature. This favors the idea that such measures provided the best and most stable marriages. 

Although it allowed for a young man to marry a paternal aunt’s daughter. The Wolof attaches more importance to the stability and success of the family unit. Therefore, priority is first given to marriage to a maternal uncle’s daughter.

Marriage age in Wolof culture 

In rural areas, where the Wolof culture has its strong hold the marriage age for boys is early twenties and late teens for girls. This trend is not the same in Urban areas where young people residing in towns marry at later ages. These adjustments can be credited to western influence to Wolof cultures.

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