Afar Marriage in the eyes of one of our scholarship students

An interview with Mussa on Afar marriage

Mussa, one of the Afar students from our scholarship program, recently married Asiya. Lexi, from Barefoot Initiative interviewed Mussa to find out more about Afar marriage and how a young Afar man perceives marriage in today’s world.

Mussa on his wedding day

Mussa on his wedding day

Lexi: In Afar culture, how does one find a husband or wife?

Mussa: In Afar culture, we have custom that we follow, we called it Absuma. Which means a girl will marry her cousin on her mother’s side and a boy will marry his aunt’s daughter from his father side.

Lexi: If two people fall in love and are not Absuma, can they still be married?

Mussa: It can be both ways, which means if a boy loves a girl, he will inform his father and then his father or uncle will ask for him, but this happens more if they are an educated person. The second method is they marry without having love, often if they are not educated and living rural area.

Lexi: Can you choose a wife or husband if you wish?

Mussa: Of course a husband can choose and marry a wife based on his interest. Earlier, women had no right to choose but now, in more urban areas, womenhave a right to choose their husband.

Lexi: Was your marriage a love marriage or to an Absuma?

Mussa: It was a love a marriage.

Lexi: Why did you choose a love marriage?

Mussa: The reason I chose a love marriage is because marrying without love does not give satisfaction, as well as it has a short life!!

Asiya on her wedding day to Mussa

Asiya on her wedding day to Mussa

Lexi: What happens at an Afar wedding?

Mussa: The bridegroom comes with his 7 selected friends to the bride’s home and they will bring a cow or camel for slaughter. The bride’s family will prepare the bride for the wedding as well as building a small home that we called Qafar Qari.  Then after the bridegroom arrives, around 5 pm, the animal they brought will be slaughtered. After this the celebrations of dancing and drumming will continue. The new bride and groom will then stay in this Afar house for one week.

Mussa with his friends on his wedding day

Mussa with his friends on his wedding day

Lexi: How will you manage now being married and studying?

Mussa: I am going to graduate in 2 months, until I complete my study my wife will stay with her family. This is because in our culture, the man is not allowed to take her from her family unless they allowed him to. This means she can stay a long time with her family.

Lexi: What vision do you have for your wife and your family?

Mussa: I wish my life to be a happy life with my wife as well as with my family. I also hope that we will have a bright future and a better life.

Lexi: How do you feel now that you are married?

Mussa: I have celebrated my wedding ceremony in my own fellow peoples culture, which is beautiful and very colourful. This makes me very happy.  I feel it is my pleasure to tell you about it.  Frankly, it is beyond expression for me how proud of it I am!!!

Asiya with her mother Fatuma on her wedding day

Asiya with her mother Fatuma on her wedding day

We would like to congratulate Mussa and Asiya on their marriage and we wish them all the best for their future as they pave the path of the new generation of Afar people. A big Thank you Mussa for sharing his story so honestly with us and the broader community.

Lastly, we would like to thank you, our supporters, for taking time to learn more about the Afar people and their culture. YOU make our work possible.