Are marriages in Kenya arranged or not?

by Grace

I would like to know if there is a rule regarding arranged marriages in Kenya.

Do most Kenyans get to choose their own marriage partner or not?

Comments for Are marriages in Kenya arranged or not?

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Dec 29, 2014
Is it true NEW
by: Rick

Im dating a girl from kenya who says she has to go back to kenya for a prearranged marriage and she is 35 yrs. old. She says she has been putting it off for a long time but now has to do it within the next couple months. She also says its because her family is wealthy and she has to marry into wealth. Hard to beleive for me. Any comments anybody?

Mar 26, 2011
by: kenmac

there are no arranged marriages in Kenya.

However, the parents approval of a partners' choice plays a role, though in limited effect.

the Islam society also partially practices arranged marriages but not in urban settings.

Jan 25, 2010
Arranged Marriages
by: Archie Melrose


As far as I know there is no such practice as 'arranged marriages' in Kenya. Certainly in the city environment its the usual meeting, dating and then marriage. In the villages its much the same but with more traditional overtones. Respect to the brides family being the most important one of those.

The poor groom is put through a hard time by the brides female relatives - in fact once the prospective groom has stated his intentions he will then have to have his own mediator to speak to the brides mediator [Fearsome Mama's]. I am smiling as I write as I have been there and experienced the glare [loving??] of my fiance's Auntie. I have to repeat that respect and honour is very very important no matter whether the groom is African or otherwise.

I read a good article recently written by a Kikuyu man regarding the courtship process. He was not allowed to ask for her by name when he went visiting to the parents house. The conversation would be with the father of the bride at the door

Jambo Bwana, I noticed you have a good sheep in your field and I would like to view it again

The father can respond .....the sheep is sick, being washed, eating or is in the field ready to be viewed.

Similarly, if the betrothed should have a night together the father turns up at the grooms house and asks

I seem to be missing one of my best sheep, have you seen it anywhere?

I hope this answers your question with some humour thrown in.


Jan 25, 2010
To choose your own partner
by: Irene O.

Dear Grace,

These days the young generation does mostly choose their own partner to marry with. However there are still tribes whereby the father still choose the partner for his daughter and get paid a dowry. Used to be cows, or other cattle but now money is also paid as a dowry.

When a father give his daughter as a wife to a man, they sometimes are so young that you just wonder how this is possible. I have heard of girls even being only 11 ! years young got married to much older men. Still a child!

But there are more and more organisations in Kenya protesting against such marriages to protect these girls.

The younger generation does choose their own partner but dowry is still common. Also this generation is no longer only choosing their own tribe to get married with. It happens a lot but more and more you see mixed marriages between tribes. Not always with the blessings of the family and or friends.

But true love is all what matters right?
Kind regards Irene O.

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