The varied cultures of Africa make for a colourful continent but it also means that there would be peoples like the Banyankole of Uganda among whom was an intriguing custom of allowing an aunt of a bride to first sleep with the groom before the bride herself.
In many African cultures, aunts are "almost-mothers" to nieces and nephews but among the Banyankole of Uganda, when it comes to marriage, these aunts prepare their nieces by being the first to sleep with incoming husbands to the nieces.
Rather interestingly, the practice is no more in vogue.
Face2faceafrica.com reports that the primary responsibility of the aunt was to confirm that the groom is potent and that the bride has defended her virginity before the marriage is consummated.
As a potency test for the groom, the aunt was sometimes required to have sex with the groom for confirmation of his potency and virility.
The bride's aunt also had to “test” if her niece was still a virgin before they are allowed to consummate their marriage.
In other narrations of the tradition, the aunt is said to go as far as listening in or watching as the bride and groom copulate order to prove the couple’s potency.
The practice has been outmoded yet it shows how the people of Banyankole hold virginity in high esteem.
The story is also reported of Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, a colonial era Gold Coaster who braved the odds at 13 and became famous for saving Henry Demane, a captive slave from being shipped off to the West Indies in 1786.
Cugoano immediately contacted Granville Sharp, a famed abolitionist who then arranged to have Demane removed from the slave ship minutes prior to its departure.
Cugoano was a prominent member of the Sons of Africa, an African abolitionist group in England.
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