When a Husband Dies, a Widow Struggles to Survive
International Widows Day is June 23. Photographer Amy Toensing and writer Cynthia Gorney share a look at one woman's story in Uganda.
Solome Sekimuli’s husband died this month, of diabetes, in the Ugandan town of Luweero, where the couple had lived together for almost 25 years. This house, and the modest crop-growing lands around it, were all they and their six children possessed.
The assault inflicted on Solome—it came while she was burying her husband, grieving beside his fresh grave and mourning him in the Luganda language—is in Uganda called “property grabbing”: a gang of men from his family stormed the house, claimed it as their own, threw all Solome’s clothing onto the ceremonial fire outside, and demanded that as the widow she relinquish the property to them, her husband’s brothers.
Where was she to go? They didn’t care. Back to her own parents,