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Uganda Villager Has 12 Wives, 102 Children and 578 Grandchildren

Uganda Villager Has 12 Wives, 102 Children & 578 Grandchildren
A Ugandan Villager has 12 Wives, 102 Children and 578 Grandchildren. Credit: Dixon099 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Ugandan villager, who claims to have 12 wives, 102 children, and 578 grandkids, has had enough of battling to provide for his large family.

The 68-year-old told AFP from his home in Bugisa, a small community in the Butaleja district in eastern Uganda, “At first it was a joke… but now this has its problems.”

“With my health failing and merely two acres of land for such a huge family, two of my wives left because I could not afford the basics like food, education, and clothing.”

Hasahya, who is unemployed but somewhat of a tourist attraction in his hometown, claimed his wife took birth control to limit the size of the family.

“My wives are on contraceptives, but I am not. I don’t expect to have more children because I have learnt from my irresponsible act of producing so many children that I can’t look after.”

The majority of Hasahya’s family lives in a house that is rapidly falling apart, with its corrugated iron roof rusting away, while the others live in about two dozen grass-thatched mud houses in the surrounding area.

The first marriage and child

In a traditional ceremony in 1972, when he and his first wife were both just 17 years old, they had their first child, Sandra Nabwire.

“Because we were born only two of us, I was advised by my brother, relatives, and friends to marry many wives to produce many children to expand our family heritage,” Hasahya said.

Hasahya said that locals, impressed by his reputation as a cattle trader and butcher, would offer a hand in the marriage of their daughters, some of whom were under the age of 18.

Uganda only passed a law banning child marriage in 1995, and polygamy is permissible in the East African country due to longstanding religious norms.

Hasahya’s youngest wife is around the age of 35, while his 102 children ranging in age from 10 to 50.

As he sifted through old notebooks, he stated, “The challenge is I can only remember the name of my first and last born, but some of the children I cannot remember their names.”

“It’s the mothers who help me to identify them.”

Taking care of a family of 12 wives and 102 children

One of Hasahya’s sons, Shaban Magino, a 30-year-old primary school teacher, helps manage the family’s affairs and is one of the few members of the family to have received early education. Hasahya, on the other hand, can’t even remember the names of some of his wives.

Hasahya says that in order to settle disagreements in their large family, they hold monthly meetings.

Despite difficulties, Hasahya “brought up his children very well,” according to a local official who administers Bugisa, a community of roughly 4,000 people. This official noted that there had been no incidents of theft or fighting.

Most people in Bugisa make their living as farmers growing crops, cassava, coffee, and raising cattle.

A lot of Hasahya’s relatives try to make ends meet by doing side jobs for their neighbors or by walking great distances to collect firewood and water.

Men sit under a tree and play cards while the ladies weave mats or plait hair.

When the boiled cassava is ready for lunch, Hasahya walks out of the hut where he spends most of his time and orders his family to line up.

Thoughts of the third wife

“But the food is barely enough. We are forced to feed the children once or on a good day twice,” says Hasahya’s third wife Zabina.

She stated that she would not have agreed to marry him if she had known he had other wives.

She continued her grief, “Even when I came and resigned myself to my fate… he brought the fourth, fifth until he reached 12.”

There was too much congestion at home, so two of his wives moved out, and three more relocated to a town some two kilometers (1.2 miles) away.

When questioned why he didn’t think more of his wives abandoned him, Hasahya replied, “They all love me; you see, they are happy!”

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