Thursday, April 29, 2010

Queendom - No Man Rules in Kumbwada

In the northern Islamic region of Nigeria, where women must bow to the will of fathers and husbands, no man can sit on the throne in the kingdom of Kumbwada. "Male pretenders who dare try will be buried within a week." Men like the current queen's father have tested this legend and found it to be very true; he became violently ill after attempting to assume the throne.

It's hard to believe a woman rules while neighboring municipalities are subject to strict Sharia law. Sharia law permits whipping, amputation and stoning by death depending on the severity of a crime. In 2001 an unwed teen mother was given 100 lashes for adultery although she maintained she was raped by three men.

Rest assured it is a ladies first situation in Kumbwada. Queen Hajiya Haidzatu Ahmed is a benevolent ruler. Typically men are favored in cases of divorce and spousal abuse but Queen Hajiya sees those issues from another point of view:

"When domestic issues come to me, the way I treat them will be quite different to other traditional chiefs," she says. "I'm a woman and I'm a mother and I have so much concern and experience when it comes to the issue of marriage and what it means for the maintenance of the home and what it means for two people to live together."

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