Marriage and the Ethnicity of Sex, 1925–69
This chapter explains why, compared to Buganda and Buhaya, sex and marriage in Ankole before the 1970s were characterized by stability and restraint. Local ethnic rivalry, a greater fear of violent repercussions, and the enduring power of ritual punishment ensured that extra-marital affairs were associated with danger and dishonour; post- and until the 1950s, pre-marital sex remained heavily regulated. The approach of independence though mixed schooling and growing prosperity led to new kinds of social encounters, and the 1960s brought a major expansion of the road network and a slow spread of modern bars and dance clubs. Labour migration did introduce some changes in sexual behaviour, and integrated Ankole intimately with the Ganda, accelerating the openness and homogenization of sexual culture across the region. But economic migration seems to have destabilized marriage and systems of sexual control less than did cash crop farming.
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