I know you've been inculcated since your K2-days to be doubly (sometimes multiple times) sure the water you drink is super pure, and where possible, to fortify it with some trace minerals. But how does the prospect of drinking water used to bath a dead, decomposing person sound to you? Irritating, right? Well, come along with me let's pay a visit to Edo tribe in Nigeria where this aged obnoxious traditional practice still binds on folks in today's world.
But first let me put down this personal marker for this piece: I do sincerely hope this piece go on to effect a change. That it liberates the women folk from the oppressive, most time, inhumane treatment of men on women in Africa and everywhere I the world.
The Edo tribes people live in and around Benin City in Southern Nigeria, about 317km from Lagos, famed for their ancient work of Arts, especially in Bronze Sculptures, and as it turns out, they're are also skilled in perpetrating wicked acts of man's inhumanity to man (or women).
Held and deeply rooted in their traditional beliefs is that whenever their married men dies young (that is, on or around mid age) it must have been caused by his wife. It doesn't matter if the man in question died from a protracted illness, carelessness in his personal diet, fitness or way of life. He may even have died in a fatal accident, workplace fire/disasters, Assassination, HIV/AIDS, COVID, Smoking or Alcoholism related diseases, Poisoning by his side chick or whatever killer of man, nothing else matter in the eyes of their gods so long as he left behind a wife that can be blamed, she must answer before their gods, and to prove her innocence she'll have to drink remains from the dead man's bath water (mixed with some other native portion) as part of his burial rites.
Yes, most do survive. The mixture could at worst be putrefying, but not particularly fatal. The germs and microbial content therein could easily be dealt with by the heat within the intestines. The wall of the Intestines which is the direct receptor of the mixture, has layers of defensive barriers, including bile, Stomach Acid, pancreatic acid and other intestinal secretions. Substances which can kill bacteria/other common microorganisms or prevent them from multiplying. If any survives into the bloodstream, the body's immune system, by deploying adequate white blood cells, will liquidate them. Those that makes it into the Urinary tracks are flushed out. So, many of the women survive.
But then, some don't.
Of course not because of their complicity in the man's demise, but, possibly because their immune system must have been tethering on one foot prior to the event, or some other undiagnosed health issues.
Now, wait for this. During the course of my investigation on this matter, I demanded to know something: What if the case is reversed, the wife dies first, maybe during child birth due to improper medicament or health care which the husband failed to provide?
Response? In that case everything would be OK. The gods or tradition won't bat an eyelid, she's simply shipped back home to her parents/family for burial. Wickedness!
Hope or Help for Womanhood in Africa?
Well, I agree, the light of civilization and Christianity has gone to great length to ameliorate some of the more dastardly of traditional practices in most parts of Africa, but obviously some lingers and a lot more need to be done.
According to my findings for example, these women are denied any form of possible help or defense when these unwholesome acts are being forced on them. I heard that not a single attempt (failed or successful) has been made by anyone government, friends, relatives, NGOs, name it. Not even among the women folks is anyone as much as saying anything about this. Things just must change.
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