Elope wedding is not totally unheard of in African culture. Although it is not very common or popular among Africans because families are so heavily involved in the whole wedding process, this does happen sometimes.
Traditionally speaking, an elopement most commonly occurs when a woman or girl who is already betrothed or committed to marry one man, runs off and marries another… typically, her lover or paramour.
Sure it sounds kind of romantic and all, but in the African culture it could present a huge problem. The reason is that by the time a couple is already working towards marriage, in a lot of cases, dowries, gifts, and bride process have already all been given and taken. More importantly, a family’s name and honor is at stake. Future marriages to members of the “offending” family could possibly be jeopardized because of this dishonor.
Traditionally, all gifts, bride price and dowries must be paid back or given back to the family of the groom if it is the bride-to-be who eloped. Now if the eloping was done by the groom, he will still have to fulfill certain obligations to the jilted bride and her family.
Among the Peulh Bororo people of Niger, if a woman is unhappy with her marriage she can elope with a man from another clan. She quietly follows the man of her choice to his camp and an animal is sacrificed quickly to seal the new marriage before her legal husband and his family realize that she is gone.
If you love, love the moon; if you steal, steal a camel
– Egyptian proverb