It’s already the third week into the New Year, how time flies. Less than a month ago we were making merry, feasting as if there was no tomorrow and traveling from one point to another. The hired vehicles are finally settling back in the car yards and the insurance fellows are already working to re-embers those that got into accidents. Too bad life cannot be re-embersed. People also lost their lives, some from car accidents, some from drowning at the coast and others from food poisoning. It’s sad that such wonderful times can also bring so much pain, surely the consequence of love is grief.
So funerals are being planned, people are being buried. It’s a short reunion, sometimes reuniting you with people that you did not think existed in the first place.
One thing that is always anticipated when an African man dies, is for a second and even third woman aside from the one known and legally married to show up at the funeral with kids resembling the diseased and lay claim on shares of his wealth. These women, call them co wives, concubines or flings will never show up when the man is alive, you may never suspect they exist until that day when you are most grieved and trying to piece together what life will look like without your dear husband. Then you learn that he had children with other women, he stepped out on your marriage and sired a clan you knew nothing about.
If you evade this, the funeral ends and you settle back into your life, it is anticipated that a relative or two of the diseased who feel that more than the legitimate wife (the one who worked alongside her husband and in most cases pushed her husband to however little or however much wealth they acquired) deserve a huge share of his belongings will show up and open your healing wounds, forgetting the children and sometimes business partners of the diseased.
I am not creating this scenarios in my head, it’s a common occurrence all over Africa, even among prominent people that we end up learning about in the newspapers and media stations. It’s usually a big mess, especially if the diseased did not leave any will or clear inheritance structure. The family is usually left to tear itself apart.
The only reason I am bringing this up is to explain why I feel women, married monogamous or polygamous and those in illegitimate arrangements have secret bank accounts, secret investments and secret structured plan Bs should anything happen to their spouses.
Am sure there are exceptional women as there are men. Men who openly talk about their finances and insecurities with their wives. Men who will bring up the difficult conversations of affairs and infidelity and responsible men who consistently update their families on everything that happens and that may concern them at all times. Those men we celebrate, we will talk about them on a later post, as we will women who practice the same level of genuineness.
While all men and women in marriage are encouraged to practice openness, the women who I must say are quit secretive have managed to keep secrets bigger than just finances. I guess this explains how even the greatest terrorist has a wife and a family behind him. It’s the power of a woman’s secrecy.
A woman will contribute to the family’s joint account and monthly expenditure and somehow still manage a secret investment or bank account. It’s common for even elderly women to advice new brides to learn to keep secrets as much as they encourage them to work with their husbands towards a brighter future.
I don’t blame them, why won’t they? They speak from their personal experience. So many times we have heard stories of men abandoning their homes for the alcohol dens. Children have been discontinued from school and slept on empty stomachs as a result.
Today there are men that commit their money to gambling, it has become open and acceptable. Then unexpectedly, you are behind on your mortgage or worse of, you are facing auctioneers. Men have mysteriously dropped off planet earth or simply chased away their families in favor of a younger brood.
Even if we turned a blind eye to death that knocks unexpectedly, there is no telling what else may hit you, so women prefer to be ready, especially when they have observed something suspicious that is not necessarily co-wives or greedy neighbors and relatives.
In my own opinion, I feel like families, especially the nuclear unit should be open to speak about matters that may affect their mental, social and physical health, no matter how heavy the topics may be. I feel women who have seen a reason to be justified to save up for rainy days, should keep that necessary secret. Who would dare blame a woman for looking out for her family? Otherwise everything should be open on the table.
Let me know what you think on this topic. Should women have a secret stash? Must they disclose their income to their partners? Must there be a joint account for married people?