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Title: Rethinking Marriage Preparation Through Traditional African Cultural Education Process
Subtitle: A Case Study of Nkuho Initiation of Uruan People in Southern Nigeria
Author(s): EFFIONG, Linus O.
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 14    Issue: 1   Date: 2008   
Pages: 88-111
DOI: 10.2143/INT.14.1.2031558

Abstract :
Taking context seriously and reading the signs of the times are evangelising and theological necessities in the contemporary African Church. The challenge faced by both Christian and traditional customary marriages due to social and cultural changes engender this necessity. One has to seek ways to foster commitment to marriage, rootedness in family and community. This can be done through the pastoral care of marriage and the family. It begins with proper preparatory formation and education for married life and responsibilities, which was a priority in traditional society. In traditional Africa, marriage preparation was integral to the African traditional cultural education process. Consequently, this article makes a discerning study of the marriage preparation process in Uruan – a particular ethnic group of Southern Nigeria, in view of the Christian perspective on marriage. The study aims to offer a nuanced and balanced proposal for an authentic Afro-Christian marriage preparation process that incorporates authentic values of the Uruan traditional marriage process, while suggesting practices that should be discarded in the light of the development of human symbolism and the Christian gospel. The author argues that the traditional marriage and its preparation is a fertile soil for contextualistion and inculturation. Therefore, in conclusion, the article proposes two components of inculturated marriage preparation courses for Christian young people. The first component comprises cultural morals and values that emphasise positive and prudent sexual education in accordance with the views of the Church. The second component consists of special perspectives concerned with building on and appropriating customary values for young and engaged African Christians. Above all, the envisaged rethinking of the traditional preparation of marriage will augur well for the good of the Church’s evangelising mission because it attempts to show sensitivity to the lived context of a particular African people with regards to marriage and family life.

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