The marriage of a woman to a woman, found in many African societies, has not been given the attention it warrants, and is still imperfectly understood. Herskovits imputed to it sexual overtones that are foreign to the institution when, after stating quite definitely that such marriage did not imply a homosexual relationship, he went on to add ‘although it is not to be doubted that occasionally homosexual women who have inherited wealth…utilize this relationship to the women they marry to satisfy themselves’ (Herskovits, 1938, 1: 319–20). He made no attempt to substantiate his statement. And Lucy Mair, for all the clarity and grasp displayed in her excellent book on marriage, seems to have failed to appreciate the nature of the institution when she says, ‘According to Evans-Pritchard's account of the Nuer it is usually barren women who make such marriages, and indeed it is hard to imagine a woman who had her own children doing so’ (my italics; Mair, 1971: 60). In actual fact it is usually married women with children of their own who contract such marriages, except, it would appear, among the Nuer. By woman-marriage we mean the institution by which it is possible for a woman to give bridewealth for, and marry, a woman, over whom and whose offspring she has full control, delegating to a male genitor the duties of procreation.