A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter III-9:  How a Family Separates  <PDF>
How families separate through marriage of different lines, through mixing of chieftaincy and commoner lines, and through inter-tribal mingling

Supplementary material
Paragraph outline and links
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search terms

Supplementary material  <top of page>

Family wife example of Naa Zanjina and Naa Siɣli
Drum chieftaincy example of Karaga and Savelugu drummers

Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>

Introduction:  different ways a family separates

1.  family separation from marriage and children
2.  originally one family:  Adam and Hawa
3.  a family separates in three ways

Marrying a different line

4.  example:  drummer’s daughter marries blacksmith
5.  example:  soothsayer’s daughter marries maalam
6.  example:  barber marries drummer’s daughter
7.  example:  Alhaji Ibrahim’s sister married a butcher; how the line is separating
8.  Alhaji Ibrahim has given a daughter to a drummer; expands the line
9.  marrying outside the family line kills the line
10.  maintaining the connection of your daughter’s children to their grandfather’s house
11.  marrying inside the line is not compulsory; a choice; mingling and friendship are senior to family
12.  marrying inside the family; marrying cousins; common among typical Dagbamba
13.  examples:  Naa Zanjina’s wife Laamihi; Naa Siɣli’s wife Aminara
14.  marrying inside the family keeps the family alive; funeral example
15.  the family’s door is its work; the separation comes with the childrens’ children
16.  the different doors have standing in tradition:  butchers, blacksmiths, barbers, drummers
17.  butchers’ line from Naa Dimani; they have their chiefs
18.  blacksmiths, barbers, and butchers are one family; some outside people now enter their work
19.  children do their father’s work; different work can separate the family
20.  giving daughter to someone who does the same work holds the family together

Example:  separation of Savelugu drummers and Karaga drummers

21.  example of how a line can separate or mix
22.  Karaga Lun-Naa Baakuri from house of Palo; married daughter of chief; two lines
22.  learning the story; Karaga drummer praised Palo-Naa Kosaɣim among grandfathers
23.  how the door separated with Karaga Lun-Naa Blemah
24.  all drummers from Bizuŋ; Abudu and Andani house drummers respect that
25.  different towns’ drummers are one family with different doors; from Bizuŋ and Lunʒɛɣu
26.  separation from marrying different women; drummers are one family with different doors

Chiefs and commoners

27.  child of a chief is a prince; marrying a chief leads to separation from family
28.  child prince stays with mother’s side, but no respect or allegiance to the mother’s family
29.  mother’s side does not help a prince get chieftaincy; princes go to father’s side
30.  some chiefs share their children with their brothers or elders
31.  chief’s family does not extend as much as commoner’s family

Marrying different tribes

32.  some mixing with other tribes, but the children are separated
33.  mixing with a tribe like Mossi is different from mixing with Gurunsi; spoils family
34.  Gurunsis were slaves; children won’t participate in customs; quarrels in the house; bluffing
35.  modern times more mixing; spoiling families; still an issue in Dagbon
36.  all right to marry other tribe’s maalams (Hausas, Zambarimas); children remained in Dagbon
37.  marrying other tribes was refused
38.  even useless Dagbana is better; the grandchildren remain in the family
39.  Dagbamba respect a large and extended family


40.  transition to next chapter about what strengthens families

Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

When the world started, we were all one.

The different lines come from the taking of women.

It is the taking of women that brings about the separation of the family.

There are many parts inside a family.  There are four parts coming down to the father’s house and the mother’s house.

How a family turns to become another family, its ways of separating are many.

We don’t want our line to die.

“Has he died in all?

It’s just like when you catch a fish and the fish jumps out of your hand and falls into the water:  it will go to its house.

We are all one in Dagbon, but everybody has got his way.

Truly, we are all farmers, because whatever work you do, you have to buy food.

The separation of the family will be coming from the children your children give birth to.

All of us are one:  everybody is a chief’s son and everybody is a commoner.

How a family is, you don’t doubt.

It is the taking of women that has come to mix the family.

He has seen chieftaincy and refused his family.

Chieftaincy can reduce a family.

Wherever the princes go, every commoner fears them, and we don’t want to be involved with them and their troubles.

A chief’s family too does not extend as much as a commoner’s family.

Spoiling the family and repairing the family, the talks seem to look alike, but they are not.

Making the family well and gathering the family is our big talk.

It is now that everything is spoiled, and it is the eye-opening which has brought all of it.

We say that if you come from a small family, then you are useless person.

People will take your family to know you.

Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs and elders
Bizun  (Bizuŋ)
Karaga Lun-Naa Baakuri
Karaga Lun-Naa Blemah
Kari-Naa Mahami
Lunzhegu  (Lunʒɛɣu)
Naa Dimani
Naa Garba
Naa Gbewaa
Naa Kulunku
Naa Luro
Naa Nyagsi  (Naa Nyaɣsi)
Naa Saa Ziblim
Naa Sigli  (Naa Siɣli)
Naa Tutugri  (Naa Tutuɣri)
Naa Yakuba
Naa Zagli  (Naa Zaɣli)
Naa Zanjina
Naa Ziblim Kulunku
Naa Zolgu  (Naa Zɔlgu)
Naa Zokuli
Nakohi-Naa  (Nakɔhi-Naa )
Namo-Naa Ashagu  (Namo-Naa Ashaɣu)
Pakpon  (Pakpɔŋ)
Palo-Naa Kosagim  (Palo-Naa Kosaɣim)
Palo-Naa Mumuni
Yaa-Naa, Yaa-Naas
Yidan’ Baba
Yidan’ Gunu

Names and people
Abdulai  (Ibrahim)
Alhassan  (Ibrahim)
Sanaatu  (Abdulai)

Towns and places

Cultural groups
Dagbana, Dagbamba
Frafra, Frafras
Gurunga  (Guruŋa)
Gurunsi, Gurunsis
Mossi, Mossis

Miscellaneous terms
Dakoli n-nye bia  (Dakoli n-nyɛ bia)
dogri paga  (dɔɣri paɣa)
maalam, maalams
Punyigsili  (Punyiɣsili)
Samban’ lunga  (Samban’ luŋa)