Friday, April 09, 2010

Where Women Rule and Men Are Cursed

Or maybe it's not a curse if you don't have to be in charge all the time:

"I told him if he ever beat his wife again, I'd dissolve the marriage and put him in prison," she remembers. "Marriage is not a joke, and women are not slaves."

"There has never been a male ruler," the queen says, chuckling, a sound like dry, crackling paper. "Even my father just voiced his desire to be chief, but it almost killed him."

Here, an ancient curse keeps males off the throne, according to locals. Male pretenders who dare to try will be buried within a week. The current reigning monarch of the modest kingdom is Queen Hajiya Haidzatu Ahmed, part of a dynasty that's ruled for centuries. Says the queen, who arbitrates disputes, has a zero-tolerance approach to wife-beating and sees that women get a fair hearing in a part of the country that's not often kind to them, "It's a women's affair...Women are the rulers and they rule as effectively as men, sometimes even better than men." She adds,

"When domestic issues come to me, the way I treat them will be quite different to other traditional chiefs. I'm a woman and I'm a mother and I have so much concern and experience when it comes to the issue of marriage and what it means for the maintenance of the home and what it means for two people to live together. The legend of the curse on male rulers, however, has led some Islamic clerics from neighboring regions to suggest that witchcraft is at work. (via Jezebel)