Like Properties, Widows are Inherited in Some Parts of Zambia




Widow inheritance is a custom commonly practiced in Africa. In this custom, a man inherits the property and wife of his deceased brother or relative. The custom is practiced in order to ensure that a widow and her children are taken care of after the death of her husband.

Widows are Inheritance in Zambia

But unlike other African cultures where widows’ inheritance is spoken in hush tones, in Zambia, the custom is supported and portions of it given statutory legal effect by The Deceased Brother’s Widow’s Marriage Act Chapter 57 of the Laws of Zambia, which legalises the marriage between a man and his deceased brother’s widow.

This act particularly applies to the Bemba, the Nsenga and the Lenje tribes in Zambia.

A common custom, the patriarchal system allows a man to inherit his deceased brother’s wife by getting married to her. This is done to ensure that the properties of the deceased are passed on to the family.

Women are generally seen as lesser beings in application to this custom. As such, the woman owns no property and is present to serve the needs of the deceased relative including gratifying him sexually. This sexual gratification, it is believed, is a form of deep spiritual cleansing. This is because the spirit of the dead hovers and clings to the shadow of his wife. As such, there is a need to perform this ritual to remove his stain.

Whatever decision she makes after getting married to him is rendered null and void. Refusal to marry him means that she becomes an outcast in the community and will be termed a witch.

However, this marriage becomes unlawful if the woman divorces the man before his death.

Although there is in existence, the “Wills Act” and the fear that this might lead to the widespread of HIV/AIDS, the custom still stands. Currently, Zambia ranks 7th amongst African Countries with the highest HIV prevalence rate.

People from these tribes argue that it is a tradition with “good intentions” because it saves the woman from economic problems and is a continuation of her previous marriage.

Sources: guardian.ng, parliament.gov.zm, dspace.unza.zm





Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.

Subscribe to receive email updates

With a subscription profile, you automatically receive updates without having to return to the website and check for changes

Just In

The Virginia Killing Act of 1669: the Law That Made It Legal to Kill a Slave

The Virginia casual killing act of 1669 declared that, should a slave be killed as a result of extreme punishment, the master should not face charges for the murder.

The Creation Story of the Akamba People of Kenya

In the beginning, Mulungu the creator is said to have formed a man and a woman in heaven before placing them on a rock in on earth, where it is said that their footprints, as well as the footprints of their animals, can still be seen today.

Bussa’s Rebellion of 1816, the Largest Slave Revolt in Barbadian History

The largest slave rebellion in Barbadian history took place during the Bussa uprising in April 1816. The rebellion takes its name from the African-born...

Top 10 Longest Serving Presidents in Africa, 2022

Equatorial Guinea's president Teodoro Obiang is the longest serving president in Africa and the world. He is closely followed by Cameroons President Paul Biya.

Cornelius Frederiks: the Namibian Captain Who Was Locked Up in a Concentration Camp for Fighting Against German Colonialists

Cornelius Frederiks was a Namibian freedom fighter who actively fought a guerrilla-style war against German colonialists during the Herero-Nama war of 1904.

More Articles Like This