Form three student set to inherit three wives after the death of his brother

A fifteen-year-old student of Tangla Bay High school, located in Baringo County in Kenya, is set to inherit three wives and fifteen children of his late brother in accordance with Pokot culture.

The form three student will soon be bestowed with the responsibility of taking care of the three widows of his deceased 34-year-old brother, who until his death had been responsible for paying his school fees.

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In accordance with traditions, the entire responsibility of looking after the family has now been transferred to the fifteen-year-old.

Wife inheritance, also known as levirate marriage, is a customary practice among the Pokot people that entails that upon the death of a husband, his brother or a male relative equivalent to a paternal cousin assumes the role of the deceased man by stepping in as the new head of the deceased’s home.

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The brother or the paternal cousin of the deceased thus becomes a wife inheritor; the two cohabit and culturally validate the arrangement through consummation which usually happens in the widow’s house.

The Pokot people (also spelt Pökoot) live in West Pokot County and Baringo County in Kenya and in the Pokot District of the eastern Karamoja region in Uganda.

They form a section of the Kalenjin ethnic group and speak the Pökoot language, which is broadly similar to the related Marakwet, Nandi, Tuken and other members of the Kalenjin language group.

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Joshua Amaitum

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