The phenomenon may seem incomprehensible to the one who is not of this culture. And yet it is a commonplace fact in some parts of the south of the country, the region of Porto-Novo, the capital of Benin.
One can describe the phenomenon as “Ritual of loyalty of the woman to her husband”. What is it about ? It is a set of rituals in which the wife, in particular the wife, is called to swear to remain faithful to her husband until her death: either the death of the husband or that of the wife. Understand by staying faithful two things mainly:
→ The most important and non-negotiable: never commit adultery
Here is the biggest promise that a woman is expected to make: never sleep or have sex with another man apart from her husband. But the prescriptions go very far. For example, a married woman is prohibited from revealing part of her body, such as her thighs, breasts, nakedness, underwear, through prying eyes.
It is also forbidden to sit astride a motorcycle, except for sickness. All these facts which I have just enumerated are considered as real intentions of adultery and therefore punishable by the god who watches over the strict observance of the prescriptions.
→ Never try to spell her husband .
In Benin and throughout Africa, there are magical acts by which women embellish their husbands to have them on their own. The French would speak of philtre, but here at home we speak of “gbô témi” that is to say “listen to me or listen to me alone”. Through this magical process, women manage to subjugate their husbands and, in a way, make them “sheep” who obey only their mistress, the woman. During these practices, some charlatans or priests vodoun take advantage of it