Elizabeth Simaloi Makui, 23, and Joyce Tikoiyan Makui, 25, joke that strangers often mistake them for sisters.
It is easy to see why. In fact, you would be forgiven to think they are twins. The women have a striking physical resemblance characterised by same height, slender frame and similar fair-skinned oval-shaped faces.
When Saturday Standard visited their home at Kisaju village in Kajiado County, the women had matching hairstyles – neat faux locs. They were also wearing flowery blue dresses, white wedges and colourful accessories.
But the women are not sisters. They are co-wives.
Their story went viral after their marriage to 27-year-old Tom Makui last week.
Whereas Kenya has acquired an odd fascination with the polygamous union, the husband and his two wives along with their relatives and friends do not understand the obsession.
“It is normal,” says Makui. “My father was in a polygamous marriage,” he said, adding that he thought it best to follow the footsteps of his father.
Tikoiyan, the second wife, also thinks that the marriage is quite ordinary. After all, as she explains, even her grandfather had two wives.
Friends and family agree that their wedding was exciting as portrayed in videos that have since gone viral on social media platforms. The wedding, however, was traditional and not Christian.
Days after the wedding ceremony, the family is still carrying on with celebrations, grilling meat on open fires and boiling and drinking blood in a makeshift shed behind Simaloi’s house.
Makui says the decision to marry two wives was not impulsive. “I thought about it and told Simaloi, my first wife, that I had seen a woman I liked. I asked if I could bring the other woman home and she said it was okay”.
The trio started living together two years ago.
“I wanted to test everything out first, see if they would get along,” Makui says.
And the women who met Makui separately as he was grazing the cows got along, leading to their wedding. Both Silantoi and Tikoiyan say their families are extremely pleased with the wedding, which they again attribute to the Maasai culture where polygamy is a norm.
Even though polygamous marriages are part of the Maasai culture, the two women admit that such arrangements are extremely difficult and require unlimited patience and strength from all parties.
They also add that polygamous unions need women who are truly secure. Otherwise, it is easy to fall to the insecurities that come with having a co-wife. Makui explains that his major reason for marrying two wives was because he felt he needed more than one woman but did not want to be a philanderer.
“I believe cheating is wrong. I do not want to have a wife and at the same time deceive her by seeing other women. Having two wives at home will make me honest.”
While Silantoi and Tikoiyan reveal that they have not had a major fall out, they say their mostly pleasant relationship has its challenges, with a few misunderstandings occurring every now and then.
Makui, a father of four – two children from each wife – says he does not have plans to marry another wife.
“Two wives are enough for me. I don’t need more,” he says, adding that “unless they disturb me. Then I will have to get another one.” He says he intends to be the best husband possible to both wives.
The family earns a living primarily through crop and animal farming and Makui is confident he will sustain his wives and children.