This video is doing the rounds on social media.
The wife taunts the other woman that she is a concubine, and she ( concubine) retorts that she is as married to the man and the wife is. She only married for children, she will not accept a junior status. In any case, she continues , the older wife has a very poor wardrobe ( and not deserving of her respect) etc etc. Very entertaining. Its got English subtitles too!
Anyway, so why doesn’t the concubine want to be called a concubine?
…..concubines had no rights. They were to satisfy the sexual needs of men while serving their wives in household chores. They performed tasks like sweeping the compounding, taking care of the children in the harem, painstakingly grinding grain for tuwo while the wives prepared soup and fura. Wives had a rota where they shared nights with their husband but concubines were approached during the day. This may have been why concubines were deeply involved with bori, they were free to at night. Apparently any sexual restrictions governing marriages did not apply to relations with a concubine.
The children of concubines belonged to the fathers, there was supposed to be no distinction between them and other children. Sons of concubines went on to be chiefs, emirs and royalty but not much is known about the daughters of concubines although they likely married into aristocracy. While they were not attending to the needs of their masters, they were supposed to serve as servants to their master’s wives. Childless concubines were likely to be sold or be gifted to other men, while concubines who had children could be sold if they committed adultery or were suspected of theft. Usually once a concubine gave birth she was considered to have “broken the shackles”. She then assumed a somewhat special status and may even work less.
The excerpt above is from The Cosmic Yoruba’s post on Concubinage in Nigerian history. An eye opener on the practice of concubinage in our part of West Africa. It also highlights what could be called blurred lines of many African relationships and the term slavery. In one of the scenes of the video above the concubine says we are both ‘eru‘ of the husband. Eru is translated as slave in English language. Slaves of the husband? A post for another day…
Meantime enjoy the video and the article which in the usual Cosmic Yoruba & Her Exotic Flying Machines fashion is a well researched and very good read!