She had paid a dowry of six cattle and I moved into her compound.Within a few years of that marriage, Nyambura demanded that I have to look for my own food,” she says. She fled from the marriage and her parents had to return the cattle paid as a dowry.The older woman is the guardian of the children and they usually take her surname.Chacha says the man who impregnates the younger woman is paid with food or a goat.
It enabled them to claim the children borne by the other woman as their own.
Women say nyumba ntobhu also helps them overcome problems of gender-based domestic violence.
Mtongori Chacha (56), who is married to a woman, Gati Buraya (30), says the traditional practice arose as a result of male violence against women.
This practice is called nyumba ntobhu in western Tanzania. The two women share a bed as a couple, they live together, bear children in their union; they do everything a married couple would, except have sex.
In the Mara region, nyumba ntobhu allows older women to marry younger women in order to have children of their own and assist with the household chores.