no brides for brothers

“That evening I learnt of a most remarkable consequence of the drought. The Samburu circumcise their youths in grand ceremonies, which are held every seven years or so, when enough cattle and other foods have accumulated to support such celebrations. Circumcision represents a transition to manhood, and until a youth has passed it he can’t marry.

“But it’s been 14 years since a circumcision ceremony has been held here. There are now 40,000 uncircumcised young men, some in their late 20s, waiting their turn. All of the eligible young women, tired of waiting, have married older men (multiple wives are allowed), so there are no wives for the new initiates.

“I could never have imagined that climate change would have such an effect on an entire society.”

The Age, 2 Nov 2007, re Professor Tim Flannery, An Explorers Notebook