Like Properties, Widows are Inherited in Some Parts of Zambia

Must Read

Mali Swears In Bah Ndaw As New Civilian Leader

Mali's new president Bah Ndaw has been sworn into office, five weeks after the overthrow of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Former...

Troublesome South African Baboon Evicted For Organizing Gang To Raid Homes

Kataza is an urban baboon who was captured and put in a local prison for organizing a band of baboons to join him in raiding 15 homes in Kommetjie, on Cape Town's southern peninsula in South Africa.

A Leading University In China Now Teaches Ethiopia’s Amharic Language As A Full Course

A leading university in China — Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) — has started to offer Ethiopia's widely spoken...



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.

Related:   Melanesians: Meet The World’s Only Black Population With Natural Blond Hair

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.

Just In

Mali Swears In Bah Ndaw As New Civilian Leader

Mali's new president Bah Ndaw has been sworn into office, five weeks after the overthrow of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Former...

Troublesome South African Baboon Evicted For Organizing Gang To Raid Homes

Kataza is an urban baboon who was captured and put in a local prison for organizing a band of baboons to join him in raiding 15 homes in Kommetjie, on Cape Town's southern peninsula in South Africa.

A Leading University In China Now Teaches Ethiopia’s Amharic Language As A Full Course

A leading university in China — Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) — has started to offer Ethiopia's widely spoken Amharic language as a full...

TIME 100: Tony Elumelu, Three Other Nigerians Makes Time’s list of 100 Most Influential People Of 2020

Tony Elumelu, is among four Nigerians named by the Time Magazine International in their 2020 list of 100 most influential people in the world...

Zambia’s Namwali Serpell Wins UK’s Top Prize For Science Fiction

Zambia's Namwali Serpell has won the UK’s top prize for science fiction, the Arthur C Clarke award, for her first novel "The Old Drift". The...

More Articles Like This