• January 25, 2020

Am confused: My father in laws culture demands I sleep with him before marriage

A lady called  Nleya, recently caused frenzy by her post on facebook requiring advice from members. She is of Kalanga culture which states that a lady must sleep with her father in law before her marriage.  Here is her full post:


Please my friends I need your help urgently. I am supposed to be introducing my boyfriend to my parents. But the problem is that my boyfriend’s culture dictates that his father first “tastes” me to know exactly where his cows are going and if I am valuable and worthy of his son.

“My parents used to tell us that long back, before the new bride formally got married to her husband, she would sleep with her father-in-law as a way of conducting a v1rg1nity test,” said Nleya.

She said the new bride was not supposed to refuse as it was part of the Kalanga “culture”.

“Besides testing for v1rg1nity, the practice was important in strengthening the relationship between the father and son.

“Because of this practice, in most instances a woman’s first born did not belong to her husband but to her father-in-law since he would have been the first one to sleep with her and break her v1rgin1ty,” said Nleya.

My boyfriend is perfectly okay with it because its his culture and he wants to marry me but I have a big problem with it, and I can’t run out because I am in love with this man dearly and sincerely.

Debunking the myths of Kalanga culture

Msilisi Dube
MARRIAGE is a socially recognised union or legal contract between two people that establishes rights and obligations between them, their children and in-laws.
The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged.

In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before indulging in any sexual activity. When defined broadly, marriage is considered to be a universal culture on which a family institution is founded.

Each and every tribe has its own culture and traditions which set it apart from others.

Recent research, however, shows that many tribes, particularly the demographically smaller ones, have now lost some aspects of their cultures due to economic and social issues.


For the tribe of the Kalanga in Zimbabwe, marriage is complicated because it is alleged that the father-in-law should first ‘test’ his daughter-in-law’s virginity so as to be sure that she is a pure woman.

This practice is popularly known in Kalanga as the n’holo we mwizana.

This issue has been widely debated. Some Kalanga people have dismissed the practice as a myth which is meant to tarnish the image of their tribe, while others admit that this practice was cherished by their forefathers although it is no longer widely practiced.

One Kalanga woman, Siphiwe Nleya, said sexual indulgence between a father-in-law and his daughter-in-law was meant to solidify the relationship between the two.

Kalanga cultural activist Ndzimu-unami Emmanuel Moyo said he had conducted a research on this practice and people he interviewed professed ignorance about the so called practice.

“We hear this n’holo we mwizana as a rumour. I did the research in the past years. I interviewed mostly elderly people in Mangwe and Bulilima but they professed ignorance over the issue.

“In the 21st century people are now enlightened and if there was such a practice, women would have come forward to protest against the practice which puts their lives at risk given the dangers of having more than one sex partner in this age of HIV/AIDS,” said Moyo.

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