Chapter III–9:  How a Family Separates

        Yesterday we talked about how a family or a line separates on the part of chieftaincy, and how we also follow our lines to our grandfathers who were chiefs.  Today we are going to continue with the talk about family, and we are going to talk about how a family separates.  Yesterday I showed you that you can see someone who is in the same family with you, and at the same time he is from a different family again.  You have the same grandfather, but your lines are different.  And what brings it is nothing apart from the taking of women and the bringing forth of many children.

        When the world started, we were all one.  How our grandfather Adam was, that was how we started.  How they were marrying, they married inside the family, and that was how they took it to make the world.  As Adam and Hawa were giving birth, their children were one, and as the people are now many, we have separated into different families, different lines, different tribes.  And so it’s not Dagbon alone I’m talking about.  Even the white people, if you follow them, you will see that they don’t all come from the same line.  Everywhere that is the way family is.  In Dagbon here, there are some people, when you take their family and count two of their grandfathers, when you get to the third grandfather, you will see that they enter a different family again.  And the different lines come from the taking of women.

        Why have I said that it is the taking of women that brings about the separation of the family?  As it is, in Dagbon here, there are three ways that we see the family separate.  The first way is if your daughter marries into another line.  Apart from that, sometimes your daughter will marry a prince or a chief.  And apart from that again, the third one is if your daughter marries someone from a different tribe.  All of them, they can sometimes let the family separate.

        As for the first one I am talking about, let’s say that today I am a drummer, and a blacksmith comes to marry my daughter and give birth to a child.  Is this child going to beat the drum or is he going to do blacksmith’s work?  If my daughter happens to give birth to many children, at least one of them must beat the drum.  But it is they who decide:  if they like, they will beat the drum; if they don’t like, they will go to their father’s work as blacksmiths.  If they are many, some will be blacksmiths and some will be drummers.  At that point there is a separation.

        If I am a soothsayer and I give birth to a daughter, and she goes to marry a maalam and give birth to a child, the child is a maalam’s child, and the child will be a true Muslim.  It’s not that the child is supposed to be a soothsayer.  My soothsaying will move to my sister’s children.  But this Muslim child and my sister’s children, how will they be?  There will be differences, and it will divide them.

        And again, a barber can come and marry my daughter, and as I am a drummer, I am not a barber.  If he gives birth to a child with my daughter, that child has become a barber.  At that time, the family has become different.  If a soothsayer comes to take my daughter, whatever happens, my family has gone to enter into the soothsayers, and again the family has turned to a different way.

        Let me show it to you well.  Yesterday I also told you that there are many parts inside a family.  There are four parts coming down to the father’s house and the mother’s house.  As I am sitting down, I am a drummer but I am also inside the blacksmiths.  The woman who gave birth to my mother was inside the family of  blacksmiths.  And my mother’s house is also inside chieftaincy.  My mother grew up to marry my father who was a drummer.  She gave birth to four of us, and we are all drummers — three men and one woman, our sister Sanaatu.  This woman has married a butcher and has given birth to children.  As she is married to a butcher, the children are following their father’s line and have become butchers.  By all means, one of them will have to hold a drum, but whether the drumming will catch any of them or it won’t catch, it hasn’t caught any of them yet.  And so our family has divided again.  The lines have mixed.  The butcher my sister married, my brother-in-law, some of the children he and my sister have given birth to have gone to marry maalams.  The maalams are also different from us, and if we want, we can say that the family has turned again.  From my mother’s father to my sister’s children is not far, but you can see how the family has separated.  And so how a family turns to become another family, its ways of separating are many.

        As I am sitting, I have also given birth to children, and some of them are daughters.  I have taken one of my daughters and given her to a drummer.  As I have given her to a drummer, it shows that I have sent her home again, because I am a drummer.  I have extended the line because all the children she gives birth to will be drummers.  And so I have added to our drumming way of living.  We don’t want our line to die.  This is how the line increases.  I can tell you that in Dagbon here there are many people who are holding it like that.  If you ask them they will tell you that they don’t want the family to die.  If someone is a barber and gives birth to daughters, he will give them to barbers to marry.  His daughters won’t marry anyone apart from a barber.  A butcher’s daughter will not marry anyone apart from a butcher.  This is how they follow it, and their door doesn’t die.  It is there today and tomorrow.

        When I say a family dies, dies like what?  It is not there.  As we are here, we are all one, and someone can take his daughter and give to a different type of person, and if you ask him, he will tell you that his grandfather was like that.  As for that, it can be true, but it kills the family.  Someone’s family may not be many:  let’s say someone has given birth to only two children.  If he dies, his children will come to stand as the people who are holding the family.  In Dagbon here, if someone dies, and they want to ask, they will ask, “Has he died in all?”  And others will say, “He has not died in all.”  And they will say, “Has he got children?”  And others will say, “Yes, he has got two or three children.”  And at that time they will say, “Truly, he has not died in all.”  These children, if you have given them to different people, then where is the family?  That is why a barber or a butcher or a drummer or whoever you are, you will try to give your daughter to these same people, and that will let the family expand.  And those who don’t give according to its way, we say that they kill a family.  If the children were not many, and you have given them to those who will let the family separate, we say it would have been better if you had given them to those who would let the family increase.

        And so in Dagbon here, there are many people who take their daughters to tie the family; and there are some who bring forth and they don’t give their daughters to their family, and it spoils the family.  Those who give to their family extend their line.  As I have given my daughter to a drummer, she has now got two children in the house of that drummer.  If she had been the only person I gave birth to, then today we would have been she and her two children and me — four people.  If these children’s father dies, they will send the children to the house of their grandfather because their father was doing the work that their grandfather was doing.  But if the father was a butcher or a barber, then his brothers would collect the children.  And so if you are a drummer and you give your daughter to a drummer, if he dies, you can collect the children.  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.  That is how it is.  This type of family, that is what we want in Dagbon here.

        But truly, in Dagbon here, its way is:  if they want.  if you are giving birth to your daughters, maybe your mother’s children are not coming to you to tell you that they want to marry.  The daughter I gave to a drummer, it was the drummer who came to me and told me that he wanted to marry her.  Maybe a butcher or a maalam comes to search for your daughter.  You can’t sit down and tell him that you only want to give your daughter to your mother’s child, but your mother’s child hasn’t come to you to ask.  And so anyone who comes to search for your daughter, he is your mother’s child.  The daughter I gave to a drummer, it was the drummer who came to me and told me that he wanted to marry her.  I told you that friendship is senior to family.  Is that not it?  And sitting together, or mingling, that is senior to friendship.  The one you sit together with, whether he is a maalam, or a blacksmith, he is your family.  You yourself, sitting down now, you are one of us.  How is it that you are a white man and you are our family?  We will never go to some place and say that we don’t know one another.  If I have a daughter, and you say you like her, I would give her to you.  And so we give our daughters to our mother’s children who ask for our daughters.  And we give to other people, too.  It is not by force.  If you see your mother’s child who is interested, you can give.  But if you are saying that only a drummer will collect your daughter, then the woman you yourself will marry, is it only a drummer’s daughter you are marrying?  That is how it is.

        In this area, Gulkpeogu, they even give birth and give to one another.  I have seen someone marry his uncle’s daughter.  Is it not one family?  Near to my house, I have seen someone take his sister — not from the same mother and same father, but inside the family — and bring forth, and as we are sitting today, the child is just a newborn baby.  And so even today they are doing that.  As it is, the child is also the same family, and there is no mixing at all.  There is no doubt about it, and that is correct, because there should not be doubt about a family.  If there is doubt, it means the family is not there again.  That was how they used to give birth and give to people.  If they are going to follow the family like that, let’s take it that someone’s wife gives birth to twins, a girl and a boy, and they are there and his wife gives birth to twins again, another girl and boy.  He can take the girl from the first twins and give to the boy from the second twins, and take the girl from the second twins and give to the boy from the first twins.  They will marry each other, and all of them will have one mother and one father.  This has been happening.  Even all of us including you white people, this is how we all came.  That is how the family started from Adam and Hawa, and it is the inside of the family I am showing you.  As our eyes were opening, we said that we were too near each other to be marrying like that, and we decided to take our uncle’s daughters or our aunt’s daughters.  If your aunt brings forth a daughter, it is not a fault for you to marry her if you get her.  Your uncle can give you his daughter and you will marry.  That is dɔɣri paɣa:  family wife.  She is your playmate.  They give like that, and you will be holding her.  That is even the correct way.  It started in the olden days, and up to now some people are doing it.  But we don’t follow it all that much because they are too near, and the woman won’t respect you.  That is why we don’t follow it too much, but if we had been doing it we would have been extending the family very well.  How Adam and Hawa started it, we also took it a little bit, but then we left it.  But it is not forbidden, and we still have people who give their daughters in that way.  The dɔɣri paɣa is there with the typical Dagbamba, and it will never die in Dagbon.  It is still there.

        If you follow it, there is an example inside Yendi.  Naa Luro gave birth to Naa Tutuɣri, gave birth to Naa Zokuli, and gave birth to Naa Zaɣli.  And Naa Tutuɣri gave birth to Naa Zanjina.  Naa Zokuli’s Pakpɔŋ was Laamihi, and he gave her to Naa Zanjina to marry, and this Laamihi gave birth to Naa Garba.  This Laamihi also gave birth to Aminara.  Naa Zaɣli gave birth to Naa Siɣli, and when Naa Siɣli was going to take a wife, he married this Aminara and gave birth to Naa Saa Ziblim.  And so that is dɔɣri paɣa, family wife.  As for that time, the way the chiefs were doing that, sometimes a chief would have a daughter, and the chief would know that if this daughter were to be a man, he would be a chief.  It is the chief who will think that there is chieftaincy inside this woman, and so I will give her to my mother’s child who is a chief.  This is how the chiefs were watching, and they were giving their daughters to their mother’s children.  I think that is the reason why they were doing that.

        But as for bringing forth and giving to different places, sometimes someone’s family will die and no one will know about it again.  If someone gives birth to only a daughter and she marries somewhere else, and she brings forth only one child and she dies there, that child won’t come into your family.  If they are going to count your family, how are they going to count it?  But if you are a butcher and give your daughter to a butcher, whatever happens, they will call your name because you are all butchers and all of you come from the same family.  In Dagbon here, too, if someone dies, it is the father’s house which will perform the funeral.  If your in-law dies, you can’t collect his funeral and perform it, but if you are from the same door, there is a way.  If they have given your uncle’s daughter to you, if your uncle dies, that is your wife’s father.  If your uncle dies, you will find a sheep and cloth and all you need to give your wife to make her father’s funeral.  And if you want, as you are from one door, you can also put your cooking pot on the fire and make food to perform his funeral.  That is why we like to give our daughters to someone from the same door.  This is how it is.

        We are all one in Dagbon, but everybody has got his way.  And it’s just from the way we give birth to children and they take different work.  Truly, we are all farmers, because whatever work you do, you have to buy food.  But there are many of us who also follow other work, and when your daughter marries someone who is not doing your work, it will cause the family to separate.  It’s not that you yourself are going to separate from your children.  The separation will be coming from the children your children give birth to.  Your daughter will not move out of your family, but the children she gives birth to will leave your family.  The family has now turned and gone in a crooked way, and these children will pass other places.  That is one thing that separates a family.

        And so Dagbamba were all one, but it is that we grew up and some people took some kinds of work to be their family’s work.  Some people became butchers, others blacksmiths, others barbers.  Those who started the work, if they gave birth to children, the children also took the work.  This is how these types of people came to be living in Dagbon.  As for this, it is standing now, and we call it kali:  tradition.  And it is also something like how we talk about a door on the part of chieftaincy.  All of us are one:  everybody is a chief’s son and everybody is a commoner.  But as the lines have separated, it comes to show that on the way of our custom, everybody has got his custom, and everybody has got the work of his family.  This is how it comes.

        Do you see the butchers?  Their grandfather is a chief, and as their grandfather was a chief, he was also a butcher.  He used to sell meat, and he gave birth to children and they didn’t eat Yendi, and they were selling meat.  Haven’t they become commoners?  The Yaa-Naa who was a butcher was Naa Dimani, and Naa Dimani’s junior brother was Yankana.  It was Naa Zɔlgu who gave birth to them.  When Naa Dimani died, his child didn’t become Yaa-Naa.  It was this Yankana who was there, and he took his brother’s children and they were all killing meat, and they are the butchers in Dagbon now.  They have their chiefs, too.  I have already told you about them.  The chief of the butchers is Nakɔhi-Naa.  They have their other chiefs who follow him, too.  After Nakɔhi-Naa is Yidan’ Baba, and then there is Taribabu who is also a butcher.  This is how it comes.  This is their way.  How we drummers are, the butchers are like that.

        And again, the blacksmiths are also one family, and the barbers have the same family.  As they catch soothsayers, the soothsayer’s line is different.  And I can say that as for butchers and blacksmiths and barbers, nowadays some people enter that work because they see that there is money inside.  But those who are the real butchers are there.  And it is the same for the blacksmiths and barbers.  The blacksmiths still have the one who becomes chief of the blacksmiths, that is, So-Naa, and he has other chiefs following him.  Someone still becomes chief of the barbers, Yidan’ Gunu.

        As Dagbamba are one, if you are given birth as a Dagbana, you will grow up and take your father’s work.  When you bring forth your children, some of them will also take your work, and some of your children’s children will also take that work.  But everybody gets up to take the work he is going to do, and sometimes some of the children will grow up to take their own work, and the family has separated.  I am not a driver, but my sons Alhassan and Abdulai are drivers.  This is how the family moves.  And if you are a drummer and you marry a butcher’s daughter, one of your children can also decide to go to become a butcher.  He can leave playing a drum and go to his mother’s house, and if you ask him, he will say that his grandfather was a butcher.  I told you that my mother’s mother was raided by a blacksmith.  If I want, today I can say, “My grandfather was a blacksmith,” and it will stand because it is not a lie.  But as I am a drummer, I am following the work of the drummers.

        That is why I say that if you are a drummer and you give your daughter to a drummer, you are holding the family well.  If you are a butcher and you give your daughter to a butcher, you are holding the family well.  If you are a barber or a blacksmith or a chief or whatever, if you give your daughter to someone who is the same as you, you have extended the family.  This is how it is.  But if you bring forth and you mix, that will make the families enter one another, and it will come to a time when you will not know one another.  You will one day sit down and say, “They said some of my family were inside the butchers somewhere.”  And you are doubting.  But how a family is, you don’t doubt.

        I want to give you an example of how we can be inside one family and we will come to separate, and I will talk on the part of drummers and take it into details.  And I will show how it is the taking of women that has come to mix the family.  As I have said that your daughter can marry someone from a different line, your son can also take a woman from a different line.  We drummers all have the same grandfather, but we have different lines inside it.  It’s just like the way the chief’s lines have moved.  If it were that we drummers had been taking our women from the same family, then all drummers would have been one.  But a drummer will go and take a chief’s daughter; someone will go and take a tindana’s daughter; someone will go and take a blacksmith’s daughter; someone will go and take a barber’s daughter.  All this has happened and the family has become mixed.

        And here is the example on the part of drummers, so listen well.  You see us drummers:  the Savelugu and the Karaga drummers are not the same.  I want to show you how some of our family went to Karaga and remained there, and now we and they are different.  It was the Savelugu drummers who went and sat at Karaga.  Karaga Lun-Naa Baakuri:  his door was our house in Palo.  He was from the line of the Savelugu drummers, but his door turned to Karaga.  I have told you this already.  That was the time of Naa Ziblim Kulunku.  Naa Kulunku ate Karaga before he ate Yendi.  And Naa Kulunku’s first-born ate Karaga:  that was Kari-Naa Mahami.  I don’t know how this Baakuri went to Karaga, whether he was following Kari-Naa Mahami or whether he was following Naa Kulunku when Naa Kulunku was eating Karaga.  You know that a drummer can follow any chief or any prince.  And I think that maybe his door was not strong in the Palo.  And Naa Kulunku gave his daughter to Baakuri to marry, and so Baakuri’s wife was the sister of Kari-Naa Mahami and she was also a princess of Naa Kulunku.  And so Baakuri was holding Kari-Naa Mahami’s sister, and Kari-Naa Mahami also made Baakuri the Lun-Naa at Karaga.  And the first-born son that Karaga Lun-Naa Baakuri and the daughter of Naa Kulunku gave birth to was Karaga Lun-Naa Blemah.  Karaga Lun-Naa Blemah’s mother was a princess of the Yaa-Naa, and his uncle was the chief of Karaga, and his father was a chief of drummers.  And so one side of his family was chiefs, and the other side was drummers.  How it separated, it was from the women.

        This talk:  I heard it from Palo-Naa Mumuni.  A Karaga drum chief came to Voggo, and we went to beat Punyiɣsili for the Vo-Naa.  The Karaga drummer was beating, and he beat Dakoli n-nyɛ bia, and he started praising his grandfathers, and he called the name of Palo-Naa Kosaɣim, and then he took it and followed to Karaga.  And I was surprised, and I sat down quietly, and I wondered, “Why is this drummer starting with my grandfather.”  When they left Voggo, I went to Savelugu, and I greeted Palo-Naa Mumuni, and asked him.  And he told me, “It’s true.  They come from our house.”  And so even in the olden days, it was there that if a prince or a chief gives you his daughter, then the time he eats any chieftaincy and goes to someplace, you can follow him there as a drummer.  If you follow him, and a drummer’s chieftaincy falls there, he can give it to you to eat.  You are holding his daughter, and if you also come to give birth to a child, and this child’s uncle is eating that town, it shows that the child’s mother’s house and father’s house is that town.  And so Lun-Naa Blemah:  his house was Karaga.  That is how is is.

        And so when Baakuri went to Karaga and became Lun-Naa there, when anything happened at Savelugu, if they sent to tell him, he wouldn’t come.  If his brother died at Savelugu, he wouldn’t come.  He remained at Karaga, and he was giving birth to children.  And it came to the time when he himself died, and they sent and told Savelugu Palo-Naa’s people, and they said, “He was alive and he left us, and we sent for him and he wouldn’t come.  And so we will also not go.  He has seen chieftaincy and refused his family.  And so our legs will not move there.”  Karaga Lun-Naa Baakuri gave birth to Karaga Lun-Naa Blemah, and Karaga Lun-Naa Blemah also did not come to Savelugu.  As it is, will someone mind them?  Has the family not separated?  We left their talk, and they are there at Karaga.  But they are our family.  That is how we separated from the Karaga drummers, but it is not that we are from different families.  That is why I have told you that if you refuse to attend a funeral in the family, it will separate the family.  If the senior people don’t attend the funeral, will the children they are bringing forth know the line?  And the small children, if somebody happens to tell them that their door started at Savelugu, they will say it’s a lie.  If they want, they can just say that as for them, they are Karaga people.  They don’t know that some of their family are at Savelugu.  And so that is how family can separate, and everyone lives where he is.  All of us are one family, but the door has separated.  This is how the family moves.

        As it is, our grandfather was Bizuŋ, and even as we have been mixing, we are all one.  Even as we have been arguing about our chieftaincy, we are all one.  When I was going to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca, there are many people in this town whom I did not tell about my going, but I went and farewelled the drummers of the Gulkpe-Naa, and we and they, we don’t talk to each other.  But if you are going to a place like that, if your mother’s child is anywhere, you have to go and say goodbye to him.  If we were not of the same family, I would not have gone to farewell them.  We don’t like one another, but as they are of the same family with me, I went to their houses to tell them.  If I had gone without telling them, when I came back, they could have asked me some questions which I couldn’t have answered.  They would have asked, “Have you removed your hand from this family and left us?  We are all of the same grandfather, and here it is that you have gone to a far place and you didn’t tell us.  It shows that you have removed yourself from our family and left us?  Or what?”  And so all drummers are one.

        As I am sitting, if I get up today and go to Yendi, if a drummer gets up and starts singing the Samban’ luŋa, within a short time he will get into my family.  As he is pounding the soup and singing about his family at Yendi, there will be some names inside it from my family.  And so we are all one family, but it is only the taking of women that has separated us.  This is how it is with us in Dagbon.  Yendi, Tolon, Kumbungu, they all have their talks, but Bizuŋ is our grandfather, and Bizuŋ was the child of Naa Nyaɣsi.  However the drumming line has moved, you must know that it is all one, and none of the drummers is different.  As Lunʒɛɣu is there, we say that Lunʒɛɣu started drumming, and we also call Lunʒɛɣu our grandfather.  And as Lunʒɛɣu was from around Diari, we also say that every drummer is from Diari.  It was Bizuŋ they gave birth to and gave to Lunʒɛɣu to teach Bizuŋ how to play.  And so Lunʒɛɣu is Bizuŋ’s drumming father.  If not that, who taught Bizuŋ?  As we are sitting down today, you and I are inside drumming, and if you go back to your town and they ask you who taught you, what will you say?  You will say that I taught you.  And what will you call me?  You will call me your father.  It is just by force that you must say that I am your father.  This is how it is.  It is all one.  Bizuŋ is from Yendi, and he gave birth to Namo-Naa Ashaɣu, and Namo-Naa Ashaɣu gave birth to Palo-Naa Kosaɣim, and the line moved to Savelugu.  Aren’t we the same family as the Yendi drummers?  And  Savelugu drummers gave birth to Karaga Lun-Naa Baakuri.  Is it not the same?  They are all the same.  Truly, I have told you that Lunʒɛɣu started our drumming, and Lun-Zoo-Naa is older than to Namo-Naa.  But if you follow it, you see that we are all one, because we are all from the same Bizuŋ.

        What has separated us?  It is the taking of women.  If a drummer brings forth thirty children and they are all drummers, there will be nothing separating them.  But if they marry, what will happen?  They will all marry different women.  If they all marry drummers, there will be no difference.  But maybe this one will marry a butcher, and that one a barber, this one a chief’s daughter, that one a typical Dagbana farmer.  Whatever happens, if you follow the family, it will mix, and they will have different lines.  As Karaga Lun-Naa Baakuri gave birth to Karaga Lun-Naa Blemah, it was Karaga Lun-Naa Baakuri who left his father’s house in Savelugu and went to marry a chief’s daughter and give birth to Karaga Lun-Naa Blemah.  And so Karaga Lun-Naa Blemah’s mother was a chief’s daughter.  Has it mixed or not?  And Karaga Lun-Naa Blemah refused his father’s side and followed his mother’s side, and that separated the family.  And so everybody has got his door, and there are different doors.  We all have one grandfather, but we have different doors.

        And how it comes again, we have two types of families in Dagbon:  we have a chief’s family and a commoner’s family.  If your son marries the daughter of a chief, that is the second way of separation.  As I have talked about the drummers of Karaga and Savelugu, is that not it?  And again, let’s say today I give birth to children, and one of my children is a daughter and a chief marries her.  As this chief has married her, the child she gives birth to will be a prince; he is not a drummer.  Do you see the difference?  Have we separated or we haven’t separated?  My daughter is a drummer because I am a drummer and I have given birth to her.  But she has married a chief and given birth to a prince.  The child will not come to my side again, and at that point there is some separation between me and the child.

        On the chief’s family side, if they give birth to a prince and the prince is still young, the prince will go and stay with his mother’s side.  The prince will not stay in his father’s house, and so they will send this child to the parents of his mother.  But when his father dies, if this prince comes to eat the chieftaincy, he will never mind the family of his mother again.  As he has gotten his father’s chieftaincy to eat, he won’t mind anything happening outside again.  By then too, as he is a chief, he will not feel any shame.  Whatever his heart tells him to do, he will do it.  He will never think that if he does such-and-such a thing, people will blame him or abuse him for it.  If we give our daughter to a prince to marry, the prince will just regard us as useless.  It’s just the same as how we take the Gurunsis to be useless and we don’t respect them.  These princes will not respect the daughter of a commoner, and they will take it that as they are princes, they won’t even respect you the father.  Whatever they do to your daughter, where can you take them?  You can only take them to the chief’s house, but they are princes.  The chief’s house is where they eat.  And so chieftaincy too can reduce a family.

        There is even something else in the chief’s house.  According to the custom, if a chief gives birth to children, the chief’s children don’t stay with him in the house.  They only stay in the chief’s house when they are very small, but when their eyes open, they take them away.  They go to their mother’s house.  If their mother’s father is alive, they will go there.  If their mother’s mother is there, she is the one who is going to take care of them.  But the chief will never tell any of the children to go and visit the mother’s side.  The child will not go and visit his mother’s brothers or sisters or uncles or nephews or anyone apart from the mother’s father and mother.  The chief will not even allow the child to go, and sometimes it will not be unless the chief dies that the child will get to know whether his mother had a large family or not.  As I have said that when the princes are young, they can be staying with their grandfather and grandmother, the time a prince grows up to become strong, he won’t mind his mother’s house again.  He will run to the chief’s side, that is, his father’s side.  Can his mother’s side help him to get chieftaincy to eat?  But if the chief dies, and these princes are staying with their mother’s family, then if they don’t send themselves to their father’s brothers, then who will know them and they will get chieftaincy to eat?  If the prince is going to continue staying at the mother’s side, then a time to come he is going to be a commoner.  And so the only time such children will stay with their mother’s side is if the chief dies when they are still young, and none of them has eaten any chieftaincy or is grown to become the regent.  As they are young and their father is dead, they are useless, and no one will care for them at the chief’s house.  It is only if they get a regent from among themselves that they will have somebody to eat their father’s chieftaincy or some other chieftaincy, and by then they will have somebody to help them at the chief’s house.  But if they are young, they and their mother will go back to their mother’s family.  And if the mother takes these small princes back to her family, the time they grow up and get to know they are princes, they will say they are higher than their mother’s family, and they will run back to their father’s family.  They will run to their father’s senior brothers and junior brothers who are eating chieftaincy, and they will stay with them.  This is how their way of living is, and we have talked about it.  And so wherever the princes go, every commoner fears them, and we don’t want to be involved with them and their talks.

        And so when they are young, the princes won’t go to their father’s side.  When they grow up and have sense, they will leave their mother’s house.  But sometimes the chiefs will be alive and they will catch the children and share them among the senior brothers and junior brothers.  If you hear that a prince is staying with his junior father or senior father, it shows that the father has caught him and given him to his brother.  That is catch and give:  they can go there like that, that the chief will catch some of the children and given them to his mother’s child.  Apart from that, the chief can catch his children and give them to elder chiefs.  You see Kumbun-Naa, Tolon-Naa, and those who are elders of Yendi:  Yaa-Naa used to give his children to them to hold.  Anybody who is eating chieftaincy, he can send some of his children to stay with them.  And if the chief doesn’t catch the child and send him to any particular chief, then the time the prince has sense, he can move to go and stay with any of the chiefs.  He is looking at his door to chieftaincy.  So that is the way it is.

        And so a chief’s family too does not extend as much as a commoner’s family.  Any time you see a chief’s family extending, it is because the chief is allowing some of his daughters to marry commoners.  As for us commoners, we fear a chief, but if a chief wants, if he likes a commoner, he will allow his daughter marry a commoner and let people know that “This person is holding a chief’s daughter.”  And among us commoners, there is someone who will give his daughter to a chief just to say that his children are princes, but truly, we don’t like it.

        Apart from that, we have many different tribes here, and sometimes it happens that we mix.  This is the third way the family can separate, and there are many people like that in Dagbon here.  Even it is inside our chieftaincy, because I have been telling you that some of the Yaa-Naas took wives from some other people.  Even from the starting, Naa Gbewaa’s mother was a Guruma woman.  Didn’t I tell you that?  Naa Yakuba’s mother was a Konkomba woman.  The elders of the Yaa-Naa, most of them are Gurunsis.  And so that way of living is there in Dagbon.  It’s not that we agree to give our daughters to other tribes.  Let’s say I have a daughter, and a Frafra man comes to look for the child.  He loves the girl, and she also loves him.  If I think that I will not give my daughter to this Frafra man and I say that I will refuse, then I am telling myself a lie.  When my daughter is meeting this Frafra man, I don’t know whether he is having sex with her or not, and if I say that I have refused them, it will come to a time when this Frafra man will conceive the girl.  If my daughter gives birth to a child of this Frafra man, what is the child?  The child is a Frafra child, and I am a Dagbana.  Have we mixed or not?

        As for the tribes that are here, we and they don’t mix.  If I want, I can say that we and the Mossi people are all the same.  If I give my daughter to a Mossi man and the girl gives birth to a child with this Mossi man, I can say that the child is my friend, because we Dagbamba and the Mossis are friends.  But if a Gurunsi man comes to marry my daughter and take her and give birth to a child, I don’t know a Gurunsi man.  At that point my family has spoiled.  Those children I myself am giving birth to and the children my daughter is giving birth to, they cannot stay together.  My daughter’s children are Gurunsis, and we don’t mix.

        Truly, in the olden days, we didn’t regard the Gurunsis to be anything.  How Dagbamba didn’t want our daughters to marry different tribes, we took it that we were more than the Gurunsis.  More like what?  They were slaves.  In the olden days, Dagbamba were selling Gurunsis.  How can you be selling somebody, and your daughter will go and enter his house?  That is the reason why Dagbamba didn’t want their daughters to marry a Gurunsi.  In the olden days, the Gurunsis were not even wearing clothes.  Dagbamba wouldn’t agree for their daughter to marry somebody like that.  And again, if a Dagbana woman married a Gurunsi man and gave birth to a child, the child wouldn’t be able to do anything on the part of custom.  And if a Dagbana man married a Gurunsi woman and brought her to house, there would be quarreling.  You would hear the women abusing her.  They will be calling her, “Guruŋa, Guruŋa,” that she is a slave.  If this woman gives birth to a child, the child will show himself to be better than the Dagbamba women.  Every day, there will be quarreling.  And so in the olden days, Dagbamba and Gurunsis didn’t enter into one another’s talks.  It is now in this modern time that God has softened everything for us.  Now, the Gurunsis are clothing themselves, and some of them have been able to enter the Muslim religion.  If a Gurunsi man is looking for your daughter and she also likes him, if she conceives and gives birth to a child, whether you want or you don’t want, the child is a part of your family.

        And so in Dagbon here, spoiling the family and repairing the family, the talks seem to look alike, but they are not.  It is now that the spoiling of families is coming to be more than the repairing of families.  But I can say that to us, making the family well and gathering the family is our big talk.  We even take pride that we Dagbamba do not give our daughters to other tribes.  It is now that everything is spoiled, and it is the eye-opening which has brought all of it.  In the olden days, if you gave your daughter to someone from another tribe, they would say that you have just thrown your daughter away.  The child you don’t want, that is the child you will give to another tribe.  Let’s say that your wife goes outside and steals pregnancy and comes and gives birth to a child:  that is the kind of child you can just give to some other tribe to marry.  Whatever the child is doing, you don’t mind because you don’t want her.  Such daughters, if they go to marry their husbands from another tribe, we don’t care.

        In the olden days, the only people from other tribes we were giving our daughters to were maalams.  It was because they have come to stay with us in our houses, and they do everything in the Islamic way.  If you are a Muslim, whatever you want, you have to share it with that kind of person.  That is why we gave our daughters to people from other tribes in the olden days.  In the olden days, it usually happened that when such people traveled from their land to this land, they would stay here forever.  They would not go back to their towns again, and so when we gave our daughters to them and they gave birth to children, if such a person died, we would bring these children back into the family.  And that one would stand that your family is increasing.  Most of that kind of children are still in this Dagbon.  And such maalams, we were giving our daughters to them with the idea that they were not going back to their home towns again, and truly, some of them stayed here for twenty to fifty years without turning back to their home towns.  We just took them to be the same as us.  These Hausas and Zambarimas, these two tribes, you will often see maalams who have come from them.  If someone like that should stay here for years and years, even if he goes back to his home town, his town will be strange in his face.  When he gives birth to a child here, if he goes home, sometimes he will take the child and go.  And other times, as he has stayed her for a long time, it can happen that his children have also grown, and he will go home and leave the children here.  As for that example, we don’t say that the family has separated.

        But as for the Gurunsis, the Frafras, the Wangaras, the Kotokolis, and all the other tribes, if you let your family get into them and give birth to children, then you must know that you have lost part of your family.  There is no day that you can count such children into your family.  If anyone from these tribes marries your daughter and give birth to children, you should know that the children are running into the bush.  They will never count themselves into your family.  Such children are even the children who break a house.  If they come into your family, they will destroy the family because they are not the real family.  Such children of our daughters, we don’t even want them in the family.  In the olden days, if your daughter happened to love a Gurunsi man or a Frafra man, and she ran to marry this man, you would remove that daughter from your family.  You would go and tell the whole family that no one should greet that daughter again, and she should not come to any of their houses again.  And anything that you will be doing on the part of the family, she will not be inside it.  If somebody happens to greet her, then that fellow has gone behind your back.  If someone who was not a Dagbana got into your family, then your family would spoil.

        But however bad or useless a Dagbana is, if you give your daughter to a Dagbana and she gives birth to children, whatever happens, any time you are counting your family, you will count your daughter’s children inside.  If a Dagbana man is a useless person and he is giving birth to children, at least one day the children will say, “We have to try to know our mother’s father’s house.”  They are counting themselves into their grandfather’s family, and when they say this, they will get up and go to their grandfather.  If you are the grandfather and you are sitting in the house, and you see your grandchildren coming to you just to find out whether you are their grandfather, will you not be happy?  Truly, it often happens that we will be sitting down and we won’t know some part of our family, and we will see one of the family coming to us.  Sometimes a useless person will come and marry your daughter and take her to somewhere like Accra or Kumasi, and he will give birth to children.  Let’s say these children will be in Accra, and this useless person will be roaming in Accra and will not tell the children that they have got a grandfather in Tamale here.  It is the mother who will show the children, and they will run to Tamale here to see their grandfather.  If you are an old man and you see such children coming to meet you, it looks as if you don’t know them.  But you know of them because they are from your family:  they are your daughter’s children.  And so as for that one, it will never become useless, because such children are never lost.  They will ask to know, and they will find their family.  By that time, if your family was less, they have come to add themselves to make it more.  And so if a useless Dagbana married your daughter and even took her to a far place, at least at some time the children would come to Dagbon and count themselves into your family.  And this is how the family is moving.

        The reason why we like to count such children into our family is that in Dagbon here, we say that if you come from a small family, then you are useless person.  It is good you come to stay with people and they know that you come from a very large family.  People will take your family to know you.  If you are staying with people somewhere and they happen to find out your tribe, they will first group you as a Gurunsi or a Frafra or a Dagbana.  And if they next come to know that you are from a very large family, whatever tribe you are, they will fear you, and they won’t do any bad thing to you.  And you yourself, if you know that they gave birth to you in a large family, you will be proud.  Even if you don’t know your family, you the child will get up and go to find your family and stay with them.

        And so these are some of the ways the family separates, and tomorrow we will continue the talk, and I will tell you about some things we have in our Dagbamba living that let a family extend and become strong.