A Drummer's Testament:   chapter outlines and links

Volume III Part 2:  Family

III-8:  Family and Lineage

Family terminology

1.  parts of a family and how they are called
2.  the father’s side and mother’s side
3.  children address father’s brothers as “father,” mother’s sisters as “mother”
4.  aunts and uncles
5.  grandparents
6.  brothers and sisters
7.  grandchildren

Terms of address extend the sense of family

8.  family terms show closeness:  many mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters
9.  does not affect inheritance
10.  don’t show the differences between different sides; address them similarly
11.  in-laws do the same in addressing husband’s or wife’s family

Family, line, and tribe

12.  family like a tree with branches; from Adam and Hawa; separates and extends
13.  dɔɣim and dunoli:  immediate relatives and line
14.  dunoli, zuliya, and daŋ:  line and descent group
15.  example:  location of the dunoli with family head
16.  women and drummers know more about the family

Knowledge of the family

17.  education has spoiled the family; now no knowledge of the family
18.  need to ask and learn about the family
19.  formerly children spent more time with family elders
20.  drummers and women show the family, especially at funeral houses

Example:  Alhaji Ibrahim’s lines

21.  drummers show the family and the origins of the line
22.  example:  Alhaji Ibrahim’s mother’s line from Naa Siɣli
23.  example:  Alhaji Ibrahim’s father’s line from Naa Garba
24.  example:  both lines from Naa Luro
25.  drummers have knowledge of people’s families

Example:  family doors of Yendi chiefs can die or shift

26.  family like a tree:  some branches grow and other branches die
27.  Naa Garba’s line
28.  Naa Andani Jɛŋgbarga’s line
29.  Naa Abdulai and Naa Andani
30.  chieftaincy dispute from the time of Naa Abilabila
31.  the strength of Naa Abdulai’s line in chieftaincy

Chiefs and commoners

32.  door to chieftaincy can die; all commoners come from former chiefs
33.  a chief is addressed as “my grandfather”
34.  if a child is missing, drummer’s announce that chief‘s grandchild is missing


35.  talks of family will continue

III-9:  How a Family Separates

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

III-10:  What Has Strength in Dagbamba Families

Staying together with people

1.  an extended family has strength
2.  family strength in trust; people coming together; strength of friendship
3.  give daughter to marry a friend; friend’s children become family
4.  trust, patience, coming together, sharing good and bad
5.  good to do things as a group; importance of funerals
6.  take children to funeral houses to know the family
7.  some families increase; other decrease
8.  should not inherit anything from someone who did not want the family
9.  should not attend the funeral of someone who did not want the family

The benefits of a big family

10.  respect for a big family; include every relative
11.  example:  funeral elder collects the children of the dead person
12.  Dagbamba way of living:  don’t separate people from the family
13.  Dagbamba way of living:  gather relatives; don’t refuse them

Sharing children helps the family

14.  give your children to be raised by your siblings
15.  sharing children extends the family
16.  voluntary; drummers do it to help child learn; child won’t be spoiled
17.  responsibility to a child who is given to you to raise; trust; no gossip
18.  if child is not being trained well, take the child back
19.  not training the child well breaks the family
20.  share daughters to sisters
21.  importance of the training to help the child
22.  Alhaji Ibrahim raising many children from his brothers
23.  a child may not know who is the real father
24.  a child may see the love between junior and senior father and understand his relationship
25.  example:  son Alhassan refused to farm; how Alhaji Ibrahim challenged him and helped him

Strength of the mother in how children bond

26.  Alhaji Ibrahim’s brothers raised one another’s children; respect among them
27.  children of one mother and one father have strongest bond
28.  the strength comes from the mother; different mothers may not have one mouth
29.  example:  Naa Andani and Naa Alhassan did not have the same mother
30.  second strongest is having mothers from one mother and one father
31.  children of different mothers may or may not bond; weakest among princes
32.  different mothers versus one mother:  important aspect of family life in Dagbon
33.  Alhaji Ibrahim’s house has many people living together; brothers from the same mother


34.  summary of importance of extending the family; transition to the talks about children