A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter III-18:  The Life of Bachelors   <PDF file>

Problems of being a bachelor; why Dagbamba don’t respect bachelors; how bachelors live; women who don’t have husbands

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

Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>


1.  bachelor’s talks not like a child or a married person
2.  bachelor like a prince without chieftaincy; does not know about householding

Types of bachelors

3.  someone whose wife has left him is not a true bachelor
4.  sickness can prevent someone from getting a wife
5.  if wife leaves a sick person, not like a bachelor

Bachelors have no standing

6.  bachelors are not consulted because have not held people
7.  bachelors do not form groups
8.  bachelors can do good work or have money, but do not get respect
9.  a bachelor dies alone

How bachelors live

10.  bachelor eats anything and sleeps anywhere; doesn’t look at others
11.  stays in his father’s house; depends on the women in the house to wash and cook
12.  some bachelors wash their own things
13.  how a bachelors gets food and eats
14.  bachelors who give respect get respect and get a good name; can get a wife
15.  such bachelors give gifts inside the house and
16.  bachelors make a town hot; roaming like dogs
17.  some bachelors find good women
18.  bachelors girlfriends can cook for them; can get a wife from them

Bachelors who are on their own

19.  some bachelors don’t want a wife; useless
20.  bachelors without parents can attach themselves to a married person
21.  useless bachelors do not get wives
22.  bachelors who only befriend bachelors do not get wives; no name in public
23.  bachelors can have money but won’t get a wife
24.  divorced man can search for money before marrying again, but bachelors lie
25.  man should talk the truth to a woman he is courting; she will see through lies
26.  a woman will respect the man who tells the truth
27.  if a young man is not good, having a wife will cool him down

Bachelors who are studying and postponing marriage

28.  bachelors who are studying have no fault; will marry later
29.  also bachelors who study Arabic; will marry later
30.  bachelors who also travel and learn work are the same
31.  many differences among bachelors

Women without husbands

32.  difference among women without husbands; include divorcees and widows
33.  a girl in her family house has no fault
34.  girls go around if parent do not provide for them
35.  grown women who are taking care of themselves:  their lives vary

Differences of women bachelors when adjusting to marriage

36.  a girl who has never married has to be treated with patience and sense or will run home
37.  inexperience can break up a marriage of a bachelor woman and bachelor man
38.  a young woman bachelor does not know work well; requires patience
37.  if she runs away, other women will not accept the bachelor woman’s complaint
39.  experience will help a man or a woman stay together
40.  a woman who has married before will give respect; will make other wives look bad
41.  woman bachelor can spoil relationship with other wife and also her own marriage
42.  a woman bachelor has to be treated differently, with patience
43.  a divorced woman also needs to be treated with strength


44.  conclusion and recapitulation

Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

A chief knows what is inside being a prince, but a prince does not know what is inside chieftaincy.

Inside of everything, there is something that looks like a bachelor.

A bachelor is a child, and a married man is an elder.

As for a bachelor, his abuse is just near.

When a bachelor dies in the night, he will die in his shit.

As for a bachelor, he is just like a tortoise.  As a tortoise is moving with his shell, anywhere he reaches is where he sleeps.

As you are giving to them, it is you yourself that you want.

It is bachelors who make a town hot.

A bachelor and a dog are the same.

There is suffering inside having a wife.

If somebody doesn’t want suffering, what is he going to do to get anything?

It is someone’s way of living that they watch before they will give him a wife.

If you want to put a weak kpanjɔɣu on a pot, you put it on a pot that is old.

I don’t know and I don’t know:  can they do work?

They are carrying you and you are also carrying somebody.

Money is nowhere apart from where there are people.

If you have money and you don’t enter into people, then we don’t count you among human beings.

If you have money, you have to get people to add to the money, because if you die, the money will not take you and bury you.

People are more than money.

A bachelor who says he is going to look for money before marrying, we look at him as a fool.

You take lies to talk and get a woman, and you take truth to hold her.

When you have a bad boy and he grows up, if you want him to be cool, you give him a woman.

We Dagbamba say that a man does not remain in his fellow man’s house.

When you have a child with a strong face, you get a wife for him, and he will cool down.

Bachelors who want knowledge, we don’t call them useless bachelors.

Sense gets.

If you catch a fish in the river and you want to cook the fish, you have to fetch the same river water to cook the fish.

If sense and sense are going to meet at the market, you will all go home useless.

When you have your wife or your husband, you bluff one another and you laugh at one another.

The one who is going to keep a woman bachelor is the one who has patience.

He becomes a deaf person and a blind person.  When the woman is going to insult him or is going to become annoyed, if he is going to see all of it and hear all of it, he cannot hold a woman.

A young girl is like a drum:  you should press her a little; don’t press her a lot.

Such a woman does not take all her things to add together.

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