By Prudence Minayo
Most people across the continent are veering away from the tradition of having many children with the economy and modernity playing a major role in this. This, however, is not the case with Musa Hassaji who is said to have the largest family in Uganda, if not the region. He is married to 10 wives who come from different parts of Uganda and speak different languages, has 98 children, and 568 grandchildren.
For him, marrying many wives has been a great blessing which he does not regret. Musa does not know each of his children and grandchildren by name but says he recognizes them. He also has a note book where he writes the names of all of his descendants. He got his first child at the age of 17.
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Musa was born in a humble family where meeting daily needs was a struggle. He came from a family of two children only. Their circumstances were very dire forcing him to drop out of school in Class six.
His lack of education did not stop him from reaching for success. He delved into the world of business and was able to amass considerable wealth. He told Afrimax English that he became so wealthy that families had no problem with giving him their daughters for marriage.
Business and Marrying his Wives
The 67-year-old started marrying and having children when he was still a teenager. Musa lives with his family in an impressive compound surrounded by greenery and grass thatched houses. He lives with all his wives in one house but has constructed tiny grass thatched houses for the children. His eldest children are adults and some are married while the youngest ones are still in school
His eldest wife is named Hanfah Hassaji while his youngest is Kakazi who is younger than some of his grandchildren.
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When he married his first wife, he was still very poor and his family could not even afford to pay the bride price. His is father did not even have a chicken or egg to his name. Since he approved of the girl Musa wanted to marry, he spoke to friends and several people trying to come up with anything to give to the bride’s family without success. Nonetheless, he married his love and they are together to date.
Millet and other Ventures
Musa had often seen traders taking millet to Kampala to sell it. He approached them and learnt about the business including the pricing. Armed with this information, he bought a cow head, roasted it and sold the pieces. He used money from the sale of the cow head to buy three bags of millet.
They transported the millet to Kampala via a train. He sold his millet in Kibuli for Ush270,000. Soon, he found himself earning more and more from the business.
He used the money to purchase more cows which would be very instrumental in getting him wives. During his millet selling adventures, he would also buy hens and ducks which he would sell and buy a goat and he ended up with hundreds of goats. He found himself with so many cows and this enabled him marry more wives. For his first wife, he eventually managed to pay a dowry of three cows and four goats.
For his second catch, he paid the same accompanied with money and did the same for his third. Then, he realized that he would be impoverished if he continued paying the same for the women and reduced the cows to two. By the time he reached six wives, he realized he had to find a way to provide for them so he started slaughtering the cows and selling the meat around the village. The business brought him good money and he continued marrying.
When the children reached thirty, he business went down coupled with poor harvest. He pressed on however until he got 98 children. He said people were motivated to give him their daughters because he was known for his hard work.
He had managed to buy 7 acres of land and his father also gave him a few acres. He gave each wife an acre to be used for cultivation so as to provide food.
He then realized he was getting old and he needed to stop marrying. He said that while most think he would marry again, he feels ten is enough.