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How Tanzanian women show submission to their husbands

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When one in love they feel as if the whole new world revolves around them and would do anything to satisfy their partners.

When it comes to marriage, people from certain cultures tend to break away from the norm. Most African societies require women to engage in certain activities as a way of honoring and showing appreciation to their husbands.

Since the beginning, submission in Africa is the first step towards a great marriage. When not performed well, a marriage is likely to end in divorce.

If you would like to know how Tanzanian women show submission in marriage, then read on.

Feeding the husband with bare hands

It is common for almost all African wives to cook for their husbands. However, newly wedded women in Tanga Tanzania go the extra mile. After the woman finishes making lunch or dinner, she invites her Tanga husband to the table or bed but this time he is like a baby.

Though he washes his hands, he does not touch the food. The woman gently puts the food into her husband’s mouth with love until the man says enough. This is very famous among newlyweds and lasts for a few months.

Kneeling to serve

In the southern highlands of Tanzania, things are more interesting. When a man asks her wife for water, she delivers it kneeling. She then waits for him to accept it with his hands, then wait until he finishes drinking.

So, whether a man is on the phone, in a conversation, or busy doing other things, the woman does not interfere or interrupt even if it lasts a while. This form of submission is common and very effective in the regions of Southern Morogoro, Iringa and Njombe highlands. It is believed that this is the best way of showing kindness and respect to the husband.


This has been popularly practiced by coastal women for ages before getting married. Women are fully trained to handle their husbands very well, including how to massage him.

When a husband is back from work tired, the wife is expected to massage his hands, elbows, shoulders, and back. Massage of the prostate is performed last.

The massage is done using natural coconut oil, olive oil, or any other available oil to smoothen the exercise. It can contain natural scents and colognes to make it more therapeutic. Coastal women use coconut, Cinnamon, Cloves, Lavender, or lemongrass.

Soon after the man takes a shower, she gets in bed and the woman starts to massage him from the joints until the entire body is properly massaged. This practice is however fading off in urban areas as only rural communities extend the traditions from what they learned during dances for “entering youth” or what the locals call “breaking the siege”.

Running to offer a helping hand to the husband

This is common among all Tanzanian women. When you see your husband coming home with a parcel or luggage, you run and help him with a warm welcome to his home. Well, this practice is continuous even if he is carrying nothing.

The practice is also shifting to children in some societies, as the woman becomes the last person to welcome a father home. It doesn’t matter how busy a woman is, she has to leave everything behind and welcome her husband and then resume her domestic chores. They say it is a show of respect and kindness that the father is the head and provider of the family. Since he brings food home, he needs to be respected. Cool, right?

Husbands make all decisions for the family

This is common in all communities in Tanzania. A man makes all decisions. Women believe that they have less or no power over meetings, families, land, among others, and hence no matter what happens to the family, a man must make the final decision.

In northern highlands, men make the decision on whether to accept or decline a marriage proposal involving the family’s daughter, and a mother has nothing to say about it. Some men also make domestic decisions such as regarding meals, clothing, religions, and naming. If a husband doesn’t like it, well, no one in the family is going to take it.

Sometimes it happens that all the good parts of meat are reserved for the husband eg. chicken drumsticks, or fish tail meat and gizzards. And a family may stay late waiting for the husband to come for dinner or lunch even if he is running late.

Getting beaten by the husband as a show of love

This has been a common ritual in the Kuryan tribe in Tanzania and has been affecting a few other tribes in the lake zone area. Kuryans are located on the eastern side of the lake zone area, on the region of Mara habited by the Musoma, Tarime and Bunda. The practise has extended to all the ethnic people of Serengeti, including the Mugumu, and Geita people.

Women from these tribes feel happy and loved when they receive a thorough beating from their husbands. When a husband fails to beat his wife, she starts feeling insecure and might find a stupid reason to make her husband mad so as to receive a heavy beating.

It’s a part of the tradition and is still active despite plenty of efforts from various institutions on gender-based violence to educate members of the community against it as it has been reported to come with many cases of death.

Having sex to another man in respect for the Community

Making love has been a key part of showing submission to a husband, but some people in Northern highlands of Tanzania do it differently. Tanzanian Maasais have the habit of morans, making love to a married woman whenever they feel like despite her having a husband. All he needs to do is place his warrior arrow in front of the husband’s house then go in with the wife.

This habit is practiced by so many tribes in the nearby areas and some people perceive it as a show of power. In the olden days, it was used to extend and grow villages but currently, it is done to help marriages of men who cannot perform their duty in bed. The practice has silently been adapted by other people and to date, it is normal to see a married woman having an affair with another man in Arusha, Moshi, Kilimanjaro, and the neighbouring areas.

Being bullied and Passivism

African women are mostly said to be passive, never raising a voice to their husbands no matter what. This includes when the husband gets frustrated at work and comes back home mad, shouting for no reason. When the woman sees that, she has to own the mistake even if it’s not hers and ask for forgiveness.

The habit has been greatly opposed by women in urban areas, especially those who live in Dar es salaam and northern highlands stating that it is total slavery. It is however practiced by many married men in Tanzania and is said to be the core cause of long-lasting marriages.

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