Tuesday, July 11, was World Population Day, and one man in Ghana, 80-year-old Kofi Asilenu, who is the father of 100 children by 12 wives, has reasons to mark his particular contribution.
Kofi lives with his family in a village called Amankrom, a 45-minute drive from the capital Accra. His family make up a third of the 600 people in the village.
While speaking exclusively to a BBC Africa correspondent, he said that he wanted a big family because he did not have siblings:
“I don’t have any brother or uncle, that’s why I decided to have many children so that they can give me a befitting burial when I die. In my home town if you give birth to one child they will say you are important so I want to have many children.”
His big family has, however, come at a cost. He says that he was well off financially, but his resources have mostly been drained due to the cost of raising such a large brood, even though he says now he gets financial help from his children.
Kofi Asilenu looks physically strong and even says he is willing to have more children – despite having mistakenly proposed to one of his daughters three years ago.
The embarrassing incident meant he was forced to apologise to her, explaining that he had an eye problem so he could not recognise her.
As for his wives, they are all happy with the set up.
First wife Nayome Asilenu told the BBC: “When I married my husband and he decided to marry more women, I didn’t have any option. He’s able to take care of us, pay the children’s school fees. They are healthy and strong so there’s nothing wrong with that.”
Polygamy was preferred in Ghana, to have many children was seen as a symbol of wealth. However, things have changed with women having more control on deciding how many children they can have and also birth control measures have been promoted nationwide.
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