Monday, 23 May 2011

THE MATRILINEAL FAMILY SYSTEM OF THE ASHANTI PEOPLE


The Ashanti people of Ghana are one of the African societies that operate matrilineal family system where line of descent is traced through the female. History has it that; land rights, inheritance of properties titles and offices are pre-determined by the mother. It is also true that the Ashanti people inherit from their further. Properties inherited from are referred to as “aguapade” meaning inheritance from a good father. Normally, a poor father has nothing to give their children, and often marry into a family which has wealth from ancestors.
In the Ashanti kingdom, the role of the father was to help the conception and provide the Nkra or the soul of the child. In other words, the child received from the father its life force, character, and personality traits. Though not regard as important as mother, male interaction continues in the place of birth after marriage.
Historically, an Ashanti girl was given a gold ring called “Petia” – “I love you”, if not in the childhood, immediately after puberty ceremony. They did not regard marriage or “asuade” as an important ritual event, but as a state that follow immediately and normally after puberty ritual. The various goods given by boy’s family is not required as the bride price but as a sign of agreement between the two families. The matrilineal system of the Ashanti was influential to the citizenship of Ghana where you are not a Ghana if your mother is not.

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