The Maasai are traditionally polygynous; this is thought to be a long-standing and practical adaptation to high infant and warrior mortality rates. Polyandry is also practiced. However, today this practice is usually abandoned. A woman marries not just her husband but the entire age group. Men are expected to give up their bed to a visiting age-mate guest; however, today this practice is usually abandoned. The woman decides strictly on her own if she will join the visiting male. Any child which may result is the husband's child and his descendant in the patrilineal order of Maasai society. "Kitala", a kind of divorce or refuge, is possible in the house of a wife's father, usually for gross mistreatment of the wife. Repayment of the bride price, custody of children, etc., are mutually agreed upon.
masaitanzaniaafricaportraitwomentribetribal culturecultureethnic cultures