THE FON AND HIS HUNDRED WIVES by Rebecca Reyher

THE FON AND HIS HUNDRED WIVES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Following her interest in the life of the African woman which brought forth Zulu Woman, Mrs. Reyher found a new and similar field of exploration in the British Cameroons, where the eye of the United Nations had glanced at the compound of the Fon of Laakom. In this account of her journey she investigates the position of the wives of the Fon in an enforced polygamous marriage to a man who cannot give them the children which they feel make their lives meaningful. She talks with Bi, the favorite wife, with the older wives, with Funkun, the niece of the Fon whose royalty commands a freedom and officialdom denied to the common women, and with runaway wives who weighed their chances for freedom and fruitfulness against barrenness and the brutality of other wives. Missionaries and officials give her outlooks on the situation other than those of the natives. She experiences fear in a society where juju is used to cow and where Europeans are still conquerors, and she sees the beautiful Cameroon countryside. For the anthropologist the value of the information is qualified by the chronological reporting and the author's seeming use of a unique situation as an example of marital life. For general readers it may prove a bit stiff going.

Pub Date: Dec. 29th, 1952
Publisher: Doubleday