A Drummer's Testament:   chapter outlines

Volume II Part 1:  Chieftaincy





II-5:  The Yaa-Naa and the Yendi Elders


1.   the talk of chieftaincy is an old talk, handed down; every town has chieftaincy
2.  topics:  death of chief, funeral, how elders choose a chief, elders of Yendi

The Yaa-Naa

3.  Yendi chief is the biggest chief; the hierarchy of Dagbon
4.   names of the Yaa-Naa:  Naa Gbewaa, Saɣinlana

How a Yaa-Naa dies

5.  Yaa-Naa does not die; transforms; dies alone in the room
6.  Naa Zokuli transformed to a crocodile
7.  in olden days, tied a bell to Yaa-Naa’s leg on his deathbed; wait some time after bell stopped before entering room
8.  medicine man would enter room first; chief’s body might disappear; bury the skins
9.  don’t say Yaa-Naa has died; “the earth has shaken”
10.  dead chief is held upright to “walk” to grave; tradition spread to other chieftaincies; chief is “roaming”

Death and burial of a Yaa-Naa

11.  now when Yaa-Naa dies, Kuɣa-Naa enters room first; sends to Mionlana`
12.  Mba Duɣu gathers the chief’s elders
13.  if Yaa-Naa is very sick and dying, Mba Duɣu sends for his zuu
14.  zuu stays with Bago-Naa until becomes chief; Mba Duɣu also calls Mionlana
15.  Mionlana and Mba Duɣu inform the Yendi elders and Gundo-Naa
16.  the burial is delayed; grave is dug in Katini room
17.  branching the grave to go sideways; spreading skins in the grave
18.  bathing and dressing the dead body
19.  when bring the dead body out, Mossis and Gurumas are funeral grandchildren
20.  how the Yaa-Naa is walked to the grave; Namo-Naa’s songs
21.  how the body is placed in the grave; relatives look at and touch the dead body
22.  closing the grave; prayers from maalams; the burial is similar for other big chiefs
23.  closing the hole; seven days; all chiefs go to Yendi except Gushe-Naa, Tolon-Naa, Kumbun-Naa; shave the funeral chldren; seat the Gbɔŋlana

The funeral of a Yaa-Naa

24.  the chiefs remain in Yendi until the final funeral; stay until a new chief is sitting
25.  the chiefs have particular houses to stay in Yendi; formerly one year; now six months
26.  fewer people farming because chiefs are not in their towns; results in hunger in Dagbon
27.  the chiefs bring many cows to perform the funeral; bring food from their villagers; accompanied by many elders and housepeople
28.  new Yaa-Naa at funeral; must be a son of a Yaa-Naa; chiefs of Savelugu, Karaga, Mion and Gbɔŋlana contend; the strength of Mion and Gbɔŋlana because grandchildren can eat Karaga and Savelugu
29.  before Naa Ziblim Bandamda, chiefs from other towns who became Yaa-Naa
30.  the contention among chiefs; Gbɔŋlana less strong candidate unless as compromise

Role of Gushe-Naa and the elders in choosing the Yaa-Naa

31.  at final funeral, Gushe-Naa shows who the new Yaa-Naa is; Yaa-Naa is chosen by elders; soothsayers a formality for show
32.  soothsayers do not have responsibility or authority to choose the Yaa-Naa
33.  how soothsaying became part of process when Naa Gungobli was chosen by soothsayers
34.  modern times changes; government involvement; the custom is spoiled
35.  the custom changes; no one holds the custom; comparing the strength of Gushe-Naa and Kuɣa-Naa; Gushe-Naa has leadership; Kuɣa-Naa is also strong; the strength of Tolon-Naa, Kumbun-Naa, Gukpe-Naa, Gushe-Naa
36.  Gushe-Naa chieftaincy:  does not visit Yendi unless funeral; he and followers come as warriors
37.  Gushe-Naa waits outside Yendi; Kuɣa-Naa and other elders meet and consult soothsayers

Showing the riches day:  Gushe-Naa and Kumbun-Naa come to Yendi

38.  “showing the riches” day:  Kumbun-Naa enters Yendi; young men carry special quiver; accompanied by bees
39.  how Kumbun-Naa goes around Yaa-Naa’s house; drumming and singing
40.  Gushe-Naa enters Yendi on horseback; Yendi elders at Yaa-Naa’s house; mock battle; removes thatch from house
41.  drummers beat; grass given to Gushe-Naa; consults with Yendi elders
42.  showing the riches; drumming and dancing; Gbɔŋlana goes around chief’s house

Making a new Yaa-Naa

43.  finish funeral and prayers next day; in evening, Gushe-Naa sends thatch to new Yaa-Naa
44.  give grass and cola to chosen chief
45.  next day, maalams pray; in night Gukpe-Naa takes new Yaa-Naa into room of Katini, Katin’ duu
46.  in darkness the new Yaa-Naa chooses a walking stick of former Yaa-Naa; predicts his reign
47.  other elders who choose the Yaa-Naa hold things of custom
48.  Zandu-Naa has spear; Kaptii-Naa has gbolin; Tuɣrinam has dress; Gagbindana has hat; Gomli has food
49.  new Yaa-Naa does not sleep; Namo-Naa amd Akarima beat
50.  Namo-Naa beats Samban’ luŋa; chiefs gather at daybreak; Mba Buŋa leads chief on a donkey to Zɔhi; Yaa-Naa stays with Zɔhi-Naa, then with other elders, then to his house
51.  following Friday, gathering and greetings
52.  chiefs and princes greet and go home; greetings continue for some days

Understanding how the custom works in choosing a Yaa-Naa

53.  controversy about custom and the role of the elders; custom is slippery
54.  the elders do not explain their reasons; Gushe-Naa’s praise that he is blamed
55.  the rejected candidates may fight the decision
56.  the decision is described as “custom,” not as a wish or as favoritism
57.  nobody apart from the elders knows the process, not even Namo-Naa
58.  writing the custom brought confusion; the decision was no longer unquestioned
59.  too late for authoritative version; court has passed judgment, asked elders to justify
60.  the custom has to be hidden and not discussed or it is open to challenge
61.  the elders follow the custom by following their ancestors; fear to go against it
62.  they gather and compare the situation to the past; nobody outside knows their sense
63.  custom is like a zana mat between the elders and the public; maintains secrecy and confidence
64.  the custom must be hidden to be effective; cannot analyze the process; elders are the authority
65.  example:  no one can deny the existence of Bizuŋ to drummers
66.  example:  family breakers separate the family and undo the custom; now have entered chieftaincy
67.  example:  the meaning of Bizuŋ to drummers; stands for family unity and stands for the custom
68.  Gushe-Naa carries a bad name to cover the work of the elders
69.  why the elders refused to go against custom and replace Naa Mahamadu after installing him
70.  the origin of the elders’ refusal from not recognizing Mionlana Andani as Yaa-Naa
71.  the government acted without the participation of the elders of Yendi to install the chief
72.  Nkrumah had looked at the elders and not the process to understand and follow the custom

The elders of Yendi

73.  Kuɣa-Naa is senior; starting from Naa Gbewaa
74.  Kuɣa a village near Yendi; Kuɣa-Naa represents the elders to Yaa-Naa; lead elder at Damba and other events
75.  Zɔhi-Naa is second; Zɔhi an area of Yendi; represents Yaa-Naa’s children to chief
76.  Kuɣa-Naa represents chief’s wives; greeting days for Kuɣa-Naa and Zɔhi-Naa
77.  Balo-Naa is third; Balɔɣu an area of Yendi; messenger
78.  Kumlana; Kum an area of Yendi; messenger
79.  Gagbindana; heads an area of Yendi; Mba Buŋa also has an area; messengers
80.  elders have their areas of Yendi; any can take someone to greet Yaa-Naa

Elders in the chief’s house

81.  Naazoonima:  chief’s friends; sit with chief; Mba Malle, Zalankolana, Mba Kpihigu; Sakpilisi-Naa; represent different groups to chief
82.  Mba Duɣu:  Wulana of the Yaa-Naa; can stand for the chief; does many things for chief
83.  Mba Duɣu:  closest to chief; becomes Gukpe-Naa; Gukpe-Naa Gbɔŋlana becomes Mba Duɣu
84.  Mba Duɣu and Gukpe-Naa mixed ancestry from slaves; the meaning of Gurunsi
85.  other elders also from slaves; formerly the elders were eunuchs; watches over chief’s wives
86.  if Yaa-Naa wants, can give Gukpeogu to a different elder like Malle, Zalankolana, Kpahigu
87.  removing of testicles no longer done; which elders were eunuchs
88.  Warichin-Naa, Shirikari-Naa, Binzaha-Naa, Mancheri-Naa:  elders for chief’s horses
89.  others:  Monkaha-Naa, Malizheri-Naa, Galigulana, Kushegu-Naa
90.  an elder is called Yidana; Dakpɛma, Kamo-Naa, Limam; Yendi elders and Gushe-Naa make new Yaa-Naa

Other titled elders in Yendi

91.  Namo-Naa, Sampahi-Naa for Yaa-Naa; Yendi elders have chief drummers
92.  butchers:  chieftaincy started from Naa Zɔlgu’s son, Yankana
93.  no Nakɔhi-Naa in Yendi; Yidan’ Baba, Taribabu, Daambolo, Diri-Naa
94.  barbers:  Yidan’ Gunu
95.  blacksmith chieftaincy is So-Naa:  started from Naa Luro:  Yidan’ Borgu, Faamoro, Kotɔchi
96.  how Naa Luro called So-Naa Faamoro to build a bridge and make weapons during Gonja war
97.  names of blacksmith chieftaincy; also Zana-Naa
98.  Gundo-Naa:  a female chief; senior daughter of a Yaa-Naa; Mba Naa her elder; their work in funerals

Chiefs who are women

99.  Gundo-Naa, Kpatu-Naa, Kuɣalɔɣulana, Saasiɣli-Naa; Yimahi-Naa and Nakpanzoolana alternate man and woman
100.  woman chieftaincies are only for daughters of Yaa-Naa
101.  have their drummers and elders
102.  when they eat chieftaincy, don’t have husbands; how Yaa-Naa’s daughter show themselves
103.  men don’t want to marry them; fearful
104.  Gundo-Naa from Naa Gbewaa; their praise; Gundɔɣulana Kachaɣu
105.  the starting of Gundo-Naa; “under-the-kapok-tree”
106.  uses of the kapok tree; Gundogu near Yendi

Titles of the Yaa-Naa’s wives

107.  Gbanzaliŋ is the Paani, first wife; has her own house
108.  Katini, Kaʒee, Galban, and so on; they have their towns; each has relationship with an elder as intermediary


II-6:  Chieftaincy in Dagbon


1.  the talk of chiefs is sensitive; not widely known

Chieftaincy levels

2.  chiefs move from town to town; big chiefs who have villages; many levels
3.  example:  Yendi from Savelugu from Voggo from Tubung from Banvim from Gushee
4.  thirteen major chieftaincies or divisions, including Chereponi

Buying and selling chieftaincy

5.  all divisional chieftaincy are given by or sold by Yaa-Naa according to particular town’s custom
6.  chieftaincy is bought from the one who controls it
7.  chiefs give or sell chieftaincies of their own villages
8.  the buying starts from greeting the chief before a chieftaincy falls
9.  the chieftaincy does not go to the highest bidder; the role of the elders
10.  the role of shyness and greetings in the decision
11.  a divisional chief might have up to a hundred villages; example:  Gukpe-Naa
12.  Yaa-Naa has about two hundred villages; formerly more than three hundred; more respect
13.  thirteen divisional chiefs are the second level below Yaa-Naa
14.  many other Yaa-Naa chieftaincies below the divisional chiefs; all are big chieftaincies
15.  other divisional chiefs given by Yaa-Naa are at other levels; have villages under them but get chieftaincy from Yaa-Naa

How chiefs move from town to town

16.  every chieftaincy and family has its way; many roads, mixed directions; examples
17.  difficulty of talking about the system; have to go step by step
18.  Yaa-Naa’s chieftaincies can be different levels below bigger chiefs; different from village chieftaincies; example:  Savelugu
19.  example:  Banvim; Yaa-Naa’s town does not sell a Yaa-Naa’s town
20.  examples; Yaa-Naa does not sell village chieftaincies; Nanton-Naa’s villages
21.  particular towns vary; every Yaa-Naa’s chieftaincy has villages and elders; John should use sense to prepare the talks for clarity

The elders’ chieftaincies:  Gushegu, Gukpeogu, Kumbungu, Tolon

22.  elders’ chieftaincies; do not move to other towns; not for Yaa-Naa’s children or grandchildren
23.  those who eat the elders’ chieftaincies; not Yaa-Naa’s children; example:  Tolon and Tali

Differences in who eats different chieftaincies

24.  commoners can eat some chieftaincies; examples:  Kasuliyili, Lungbunga; Dalun, Nyankpala for princes or commoners
25.  mixed chieftaincies:  eaten by either princes or commoners
26.  all other chieftaincies “Yaa-Naa’s child”:  can be children and grandchildren; sometimes nephews
27.  can classify by divisional chieftaincies and other chieftaincies given by Yaa-Naa
28.  sometimes Yaa-Naa’s friend (a commoner) eats Yaa-Naa’s chieftaincy; examples

29.  list of chieftaincies eaten by Yaa-Naa’s “child”
30.  not all towns move to other towns; divisional chiefs don’t move, exceptions:  Korli and Demon to Mion; Savelugu, Karaga, Mion to Yendi

The Yendi chieftaincy and its doors

31.  Yaa-Naa chieftaincy not bought; from Yendi elders; Savelugu, Karaga, Mion, Gbɔŋlana; pathways to Yendi
32.  Yendi only eaten by a son; grandchild will contest if from gateway chieftaincy
33.  Mion is strong because grandsons often eat Karaga and Savelugu
34.  the Gbɔŋlana also strong in the succession
35.  exanples:  chieftaincy paths of different Yaa-Naas
36.  formerly many Yaa-Naas came from other towns; examples
37.  now the door to Yendi is limited; even some divisional chiefs do not eat Yendi; example:  Yelizoli

The divisional chiefs

38.  chiefs who are greeted as “grandfather” or “senior father” or “junior father”
39.  custom protocols are not clear; metaphor of zana mat
40.  Mion, Savelugu, Karaga one group; elder chieftaincies a group; Sunson, Yelizoli, Nanton a group; Korli and Demon another
41.  Sunson, Yelizoli and Nanton chiefs do not leave their towns:  traditions from Sunson-Naa Timaani, Yelizolilana Gurumancheɣu, Nanton-Naa Musa
42.  chiefs who are not Yaa-Naa’s children can eat Yelizoli or  Nanton; other chiefs eat there too
43.  Demon and Korli can move to Mion; a group:  the children can eat either
44.  Demon and Korli chiefs can be grandsons; examples
45.  Mion once eaten by grandson, but stands for Yaa-Naa son; Savelugu and Karaga can be grandsons
46.  example:  Diari does not go out even though he can; Yaa-Naa can give any chieftaincy
47.  traditions change; something that has not happened can happen; example:  Nanton-Naa Issa
48.  difference of this example from early writings about custom regarding a son rising higher than the father
49.  further details of Nanton succession:  Nanton-Naa Yinfa, Nanton-Naa Sule
50.  going into details clarifies knowledge; these talks go farther than previous research
51.  each town has the way of its chieftaincy

Commoners chieftaincies

52.  even commoners eat chieftaincies if Yaa-Naa gives:  Kasuliyili, Lungbunga, Dalun

The elders’ chieftaincies:  Tolon, Gushegu, Gukpeogu; Kumbungu

53.  Tolon, Gushegu, Gukpeogu, Kumbungu not for children of Yaa-Naa
54.  do not leave their towns; Yaa-Naa greets as “grandfather”; resemble Yaa-Naa; wives shave heads

Drumming Bimbiɛɣu

55.  drummers beat Bimbiɛɣu for Yaa-Naa, Gushe-Naa, Tolon-Naa, Gukpe-Naa
56.  other chiefs who have Bimbiɛɣu:  Mamprugulana, Bimbila-Naa, Asantehene, Yaboŋwura
57.  Bimbiɛɣu also for Nanton-Naa because of Nanton-Naa Musa
58.  why Nanton-Naa might refuse Bimbiɛɣu

The gbiŋgbiri luŋa

59.  drum covered with leopard skin; chiefs who have it; Namo-Naa’s drum
60.  different chieftaincies have their different ways; cannot classify easily:  Samban’ luŋa, Bimbiɛɣu, timpana, gbiŋgbiri luŋa
61.  chief provides the skin to cover the drum; beaten only for important chiefs
62.  beaten only for important occasions, such as when the chief has died
63.  if the drum chief who has it dies, Gbɔŋlana will not beat it unless to praise Yaa-Naa or big chief at funeral
64.  not beaten for Gbɔŋlana of a chief, or he won’t get chieftaincy
65.  not beaten “by heart”; further constraints on beating that drum
66.  the drum can be played for a chief who has it; like Bimbiɛɣu, something for big chiefs

Doors to the elders’ chieftaincies:  Gukpe-Naa, Tolon-Naa, Kumbun-Naa, Gushe-Naa

67.  not necessarily the children or grandchildren
68.  Gukpe-Naa an old chieftaincy from the starting of Dagbon; Gukpe-Naa eaten by Mba Duɣu; can also be Mba Malle or Zalankolana
69.  Gukpeogu village near Yendi; moved to Tamale by white men during Naa Abudu’s time
70.  Tolon-Naa and Kumbun-Naa are warriors of Yaa-Naa; towns that eat Tolon
71.  Tolon’s starting from the time of Naa Shitɔbu and Naa Nyaɣsi; tindanas were holding the towns; no chiefs, only elders
72.  Zandu-Naa Suŋbi gave his child to accompany Naa Nyaɣsi to war against tindanas
73.  Tolon tindana replaced by Zandu-Naa’s child; Tolon-Naa like the Wulana of Naa Nyaɣsi
74.  Kumbungu also also old; Tolon-Naa is senior; Kumbungu once eaten by Yaa-Naa’s son
75.  towns’ chiefs and princes who eat Kumbungu
76.  Gushegu also old; Gushe-Naa is Tiŋkpɛma, elder of the land; relationship to Mossi
77.  chiefs and princes who eat Gushegu

Conclusion:  the ways of chieftaincy

78.  many princes do not become chiefs
79.  example:  Naa Garba's line and Naa Ziblim Bandamda’s line
80.  every town has its way; one can only know it to one’s extent

II-7:  How Princes Get Chieftaincy and Go to Hold a Town   


1.  talk about how princes move through chieftaincy

Example:  princes of Savelugu

2.  a chief’s child is not raised by the chief; role of Nyoglo-Naa for Savelugu-Naa
3.  the prince goes to Savelugu when the chief is dying or dies; the zuu (eldest) is given a hat
4.  the eldest son becomes Regent (Gbɔŋlana); other princes follow the Gbɔŋlana at funeral
5.  the Gbɔŋlana sits until a new chief is chosen; if not Savelugu, will get another chieftaincy
6.  the zupali (second-born son) also searches for chieftaincy; greets senior chiefs to advocate for him with Yaa-Naa; gets chieftaincy
7.  the remaining children divide themselves to stay with the two elder brothers; follow seniority and the one who gets chieftaincy

When the siblings do not trust one another

8.  if they princes do not cooperate; often due to a brother who neglects the others
9.  sometimes come from children who have different mothers; example:  Naa Abdulai and Naa Andani

Chieftaincy not guaranteed:  the one God likes

10.  all princes do not get chieftaincy; with big chieftaincies, if Gbɔŋlana does not get his father’s chieftaincy, often gets the chieftaincy of the chief who has come
11.  competition with children of previous chiefs; chiefs move and shift; example:  Savelugu-Naa Bofo’s Gbɔŋlana
12.  smaller chieftaincies often not given to prince of the town; prince does not get chieftaincy

How princes’ and commoners’ lines enter one another; modern need for money

13.  family of prince who does not get chieftaincy becomes commoners; all commoners are connected to chieftaincy
14.  commoner who get money or influence can obtain chieftaincy; example:  Alhaji Ibrahim’s line from Dalun and Singa
15.  formerly, chieftaincy was not bought like now; currently princes need money
16.  example of formerly following family:  how Naa Abdulai gave chieftaincy to Nanton-Naa Mahami
17.  Yendi chieftaincy is from Yendi elders; many Yendi princes do not eat it

How a new chief arrives in a town and meets elders

18.  how the new chief will gather and talk to his main elders:  Wulana, Limam, Kamo-Naa, Lun-Naa, Magaaʒia, Salchi Samaali (Nachimba-Naa)
19.  how the elders will respond
20.  the elders will inform their followers; the importance of the young men and their leader
21.  example:  Alhaji Ibrahim compares his leadership role among Tamale drummers to Salchi Samaali
22.  Magaaʒia is leader of the women; Lun-Naa, Kamo-Naa, and Limam will all talk to followers

Chiefs and tindanas

23.  chief sees the tindana before coming to the town; gives tindana for sacrifices to god of the town
24.  chiefs who are like tindanas:  Gulkpe-Naa, Tolon-Naa are from the towns; share tindanas work; towns are different
25.  chief and tindana work together but do not do usually make sacrifices in public gatherings

The work of the elders

26.  importance of respecting the elders; Wulana is senior as spokesman for the chief
27.  building roads or paths or repairing the chief’s hall is work for Kamo-Naa and followers
28.  work of  plastering and floors is for Magaaʒia
29.  Wulana is chief’s messenger; attends funerals for chief
30.  Liman protects the town with prayers
31.  Lun-Naa accompanies chief when he leave his house

Respect and chieftaincy

32.  chief must respect townspeople or they will not follow him; many modern chiefs do not
33.  a chief who respects elders and holds people will have respect;  on Monday and Fridays, drummers beat Punyiɣsili, and townspeople will greet him

Protocols of greetings

34.  lowering oneself to greet an older or senior person
35.  squat or kneel to greet any chief; gesture of respect

Mondays and Fridays greetings to a chief

36.  different people have different ways to greet; use the entrance into the hall (zɔŋ), or sometimes outside the compound; Wulana is first
37.  Wulana or his elder is interlocutor for the chief; must be able to speak well
38.  elders:  Wulana most important; Kpanalana, Kpihigi-Naa are also common; also Gushee-Naa, Kukɔlɔɣu, Yipiɛli-Naa, Kukuo-Naa, Yimahi-Naa, Tuya-Naa, Yiʒee-Naa, Gunda-Naa, Zoɣyuri-Naa; differences from town to town
39.  Wulana and followers sit and greet, turn to face same way as chief; Naazoonima also sit like that
40.  when chief greets, those gathered clap hands; Naazoonima snap fingers
41.  must say the word “Chief” when responding to the chief
42.  how the Limam greets; receives cola; sits facing the chief
43.  how the Kamo-Naa greets; stands behind the chief to greet; sits on a chair; other elders of Kamo-Naa; receive cola and pito
44.  Lun-Naa and other drum chiefs and followers; sit to the chief’s right; how they greet
45.  how Yidan’ Gunu and barbers greet; sit near to chief; Yidan’ Gunu a Naazoo
46.  other elders:  Nakɔhi-Naa and butchers, So-Naa and blacksmiths
47.  princes who are staying with the chief sit to the left; townspeople to the right

How the villagers greet the chief on Mondays and Fridays

48.  each village has the elder who leads them to the chief; how the villagers arrive
49.  villagers bring food and money; how they are presented to the chief and the greetings
50.  villagers also talk about a village problem they may have
51.  how the elder talks about the problem to the chief, and the chief responds
52.  example of improvement projects in the village
53.  no delay for emergencies; villagers and chiefs respond quickly; different from Mondays and Fridays
54.  Mondays and Fridays are “white heart” greetings; villagers bring food because formerly the chiefs did not farm; one should not greet a chief without giving something
55.  others bring cola or money, or both

Terms of address in chiefs’ greetings

56.  how the chief addresses other chiefs, princes, and others as junior father, grandfather, aunt
57.  chiefs the Yaa-Naa addresses as grandfather or senior father
58.  who squats in front of chief to receive collect and whom they send the cola to his sitting place
59.  example:  how Gulkpe-Naa addresses Tamale area tindanas and village chiefs


60.  exchange of respect helps people solve their problems
61.  transition to the talk of the chief’s court

II-8:  How Chiefs Judge Cases   

The chief’s court and bad people

1.  formerly, before government courts,  chiefs judged cases in public in front of their houses
2.  types of bad people:  adulterers, thieves, fighters, debtors, witches
3.  the Naazoonima (chief’s friends) were like police; would arrest and detain a bad person

Types of judgments

4.  the judgment (eating the case):  bad person would pay money or would be sold
5.  the sold person would work for the one who paid the debt
6.  the person who buys a bad person was also bad
7.  differences in the crimes; from killing to kidnapping girls or eloping
8.  example:  sex with a betrothed girl; the father would bring the complaint; initial charges
9.  boy held at Wulana’s house; would be fined what the fiance had spent; could be sold
10.  farming and work would not pay the debt; the family would struggle to pay and free the boy

Example:  debt and indentured servitude

11.  chief can intercede for a debtor
12.  the creditor can refuse
13.  sometimes the debtor can work as laborer to pay the debt
14.  can deposit a child to work for the creditor; not the same as slavery
15.  selling a relative to get money to buy chieftaincy
16.  cannot get the person back until the debt is paid
17.  the pledged person might run away, but difficult
18.  could not run outside Dagbon; danger from animals and slavers
19.  sometimes could stay years indentured; sometimes freed

Whipping and other serious punishments

20.  for children of chiefs or tindanas; the barazim; how it was made
21.  for serious criminals like defrauders, also debt; olden days burned the hands
22.  a habitual thief could be shot with arrows; no case would be made


23.  witches not sold; driven from the town or sent to the buɣa, especially Naawuni
24.  can be identified by a victim before dying
25.  could confess and name accomplices; driven from the town, plus debt
26.  many witches sent to Gnaani; how they live there; taboos of the town
27.  if refuse to confess, would break fingers
28.  if no confession, chief will gather women; carry the dead body on a frame
29.  they will use the dead body to divine the witches
30.  the women pass by the dead body; the dead body kicks the witch
31.  they whip her until she identifies accomplices
32.  the witches are driven from the town; her people will also pay a debt; if no money could be killed
33.  women kill more than men; man who kills will be sold, but a woman is driven away

Modern courts under law

34.  modern times, the chiefs do not judge cases; cases go to the government court
35.  the relative of a witch will send the accuser to court
36.  some people accept that the woman is a witch; others go to court and charge the accuser
37.  the chief’s court both good and bad; chiefs use strength, not truth
38.  in modern times, more bad people in Dagbon; no deterrence as before