The Amberay situation shows modern women don’t even know how to be co-wives
Amberay has made herself a laughing stock even as she has forced her husband’s hand and made him have to come out and publicly acknowledge her as his second wife and it is rather hilarious to see her bangle being in a polygamous marriage.
In all fairness, while this piece will focus on Amberay, I have to also acknowledge that Karen Nyamu falls squarely into the group of women who are either so flawed or damaged to even realize that with their single mother status, being a second wife is often as good as the going will get for them.
We have now watched as Amberay has not only opened herself and her family to public scrutiny but even her husband, Jamal “Roho Safi” and his family and marriage. In essence, she has diminished her value as a caregiver by opening up their children and family domez to all of us. And for a high-value man like Jamal, this should be a worrying thing indeed but he is still caught up in their “new relationship energy” to open his eyes to this fact.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. African culture allows for polygamous marriages. In most cases this is in the form of polygyny but in few, rare cases, polyandry is accepted. Polygyny is when a man has multiple wives or partners, polyandry is when a woman has multiple men as her husbands.
In modern Africa and Kenya, polygamy is frowned upon because it is not Western culture. So we have had women like Amberay who would traditionally have benefited freely from polygamy go begging for the opportunity. Our ancestors had a simple and strong understanding of who we are as human beings. Men will always look to spread their seed. Society and civilisation has tried to control this aspect of male behaviour and failed. Women will always look for the best possible male seed.
Amberay, however, is also the beneficiary of the fact that African society understood that single mothers were often undesirable to eligible bachelors seeking wives. And surviving back then on one’s own was a near impossibility. That struggle was made worse for women who would have had to face the world on their own as they protect their baby. So as a compromise, our ancestors would often marry single mothers off to older men who have the means to take care of other men’s offspring, and were willing to do so.
Whatever the case may be, in Kenya,, we have seen a rise in the number of women who are willing to take on the mantle of the second wife. But, more often than not, because we banished this practice to kaburi la sahau, we have never learnt how to make such marriages work. Not even our Muslim brothers seem to understand how to make such relationships work.
Amberay found a man who was willing to overlook the fact that she is not only a single mother but already has one failed marriage and was once a socialite. yet she is still antagonizing Jamal’s household. She is busy rubbing the fact that she has her new man in the face of everyone, in the process humiliating his wife. That is not how to go about it but then again, Amberay shows strong signs of being a narcissist.
Rather than thinking about how she can make their blended family work, Amberay is busy parading her man much to the spite of his first wife. Never mind that Jamal has children by her. Never mind the fact that these children are internalizing their mother’s humiliation. And yet we will one day wonder why the children of the first wife loathe their counterparts from the second wife.
Jamal has failed. His attempt at being a polugamist are as inept as one would expect from an ostrich performing brain surgery. But in Amberay I see someone who just relishes the opportunity to cause chaos. She should be making an ally out of her co-wife. Their religion allows this. Instead, she is aggravating an already sore situation.
My prediction? This marriage will not last. Time will tell whether or not I am right. And if I were Amberay’s relative, I would advise her to seek wisdom from her much older relatives.