Widows forced to undergo “humiliating rituals” after deaths of their husbands in Ghana.
In Ghana, wives are every so often blamed for their husbands’ deaths; families kick them out of the homes or even forced to undergo shameful “widowhood” rituals. These disgraceful ceremonies, according to local beliefs, ensure their dead husbands’ passage to the next world.
These mortifying practices may include, women sleeping alone with their dead husband’s corpse, and even drinking a soup made of his fingernails and hair.
A Christian woman namely Mama Zimbi, who is also one of Ghana’s leading television and radio hosts, has stepped forward to rescue these widows who have to take part in such heinous practices.
She has been fighting against these widowhood traditions, and has set up a charity – the Mama Zimbi Foundation, which has helped and empowered thousands of Ghanaian widows including Christians, Muslims alike. Many of these widows were thrown on the scrap heap by their families when their husbands died.
She not only helps, women, in the direct after effects of their husbands’ death but also with money, education and business. She expresses an aim to rescue numerous women from a state of misery to a fulfilled life.
“On the radio and TV, I was dealing a lot with women’s issues, health, the family, sex. Every time the show ended, we had lots of women coming in to tell us how they were being mistreated by their husbands,” she said.
In order to tackle the problem, she has financed and set up a mango farm which in entirely run by widows who are rendered helpless after their husbands passed away. Widows are growing and selling mangoes and have turned the farming into a profitable business.
“There was an increasing number whose husbands were dead, and they didn’t know what to do. It was becoming a more regular question, so I decided to set up an organisation to deal with these issues,” she mentioned.
Moreover, this is not all, inside a church building, 16 widows are assigned the work of making charcoal that they will soon after sell at markets. This small-scale business is also one f the projects run by the Mama Zimbi’s foundation.
Beatrice Adzo Addedet, a 74 year-old widow says, “We had no help from anyone – there is a stigma of being a widow in this country; it is very common. At the death of my husband, his family said that everything belonged to them – they didn’t care.”