A Drummer's Testament:   chapter outlines and links

Volume III Part 4:  Householding

III-17:  How Dagbamba Marry


1.  different ways to get a wife for Muslims and typical Dagbamba; drummers get wives easily

Dagbamba way:  greeting or respecting an older person

2.  young man can begin greeting an old person and helping him
3.  old person will tell the boy’s father that he will give him a wife
4.  young man can be greeting an old woman with firewood or foodstuffs
5.  old woman will tell the boy’s father that she will give him a wife
6.  the father and his brothers will send people to greet the old woman
7.  to get a wife, have to respect and greet the people who have the woman

Examples:  how Alhaji helped his brothers to get wives

8.  how young Alhaji Ibrahim greeted an old woman his father used to help
9.  when the woman died, her daughter gave a girl to Alhaji Ibrahim, who gave her to his brother
10.  Alhaji Ibrahim also got a wife for his brother  Sumaani

How Alhaji Ibrahim got his wives

11.  how Alhaji Ibrahim befriended Marta with friendship money
12.  befriending Ayishetu; Marta and Gurumpaɣa ask Alhaji Ibrahim to see their families
13.  Alhaji Ibrahim consulted elders for advice; advised only to marry two and not three
14.  Alhaji Ibrahim was working and was capable
15.  how Alhaji Ibrahim married Marta first; given to him through Mangulana’s father
16.  Alhaji Ibrahim married Gurumpaɣa next
17.  Ayishetu agrees for Alhaji Ibrahim to give her to Sumaani as a wife; their children
18.  Alhaji Ibrahim’s wives gave birth

Alhaji Ibrahim’s respect

19.  drummers do not suffer to get a wife; drummers have a good name
20.  how Alhassan used Alhaji Ibrahim’s name to get a wife
21.  how Alhaji Ibrahim helps people greet the family of a girl; example of man from Bimbila

Typical Dagbamba:  when a girl is promised

22.  greet the family with calabash of cola and money; maalams pray
23.  if the girl is still young, will remain with her parents; how they send to the husband’s family
24.  greetings and cola between the two families; how they talk
25.  maalam called for prayers; the girl is promised; the husband’s family returns home
26.  girl in parents’ house, the husband will send greetings, guinea fowls and yams during festival months
27.  if someone in the wife’s house dies, the husband will perform the funeral

The wedding and sending the wife to the husband’s house

28.  when girl reaches menstruation, they will set a day; Wednesday or Saturday
29.  send the girl to the husband; led by a small girl and a young boy who carries a stick
30.  new wife to room of a senior woman; slaughter a hen for the boy who brought the girl
31.  next day, they send the boy and girl home with cola and money to share to the witnesses
32.  husband must kill a hen to welcome her; she cooks and that night sleeps with the husband

How Muslims marry

33.  different from typical Dagbamba; drumming at the amaliya’s house
34.  pay sadaachi and gather items for the leefɛ:  send food; kanwa porridge
35.  sadaachi amount can vary; sometimes flexibility with the leefɛ
36.  women throw zabla night before the wedding

Tying the wedding

37.  Sunday weddings are common, especially  in towns; sometimes Thursday
38.  husband’s representatives and maalams at wife’s house; sadaachi paid
39.  cola for drummers; women dance at wedding house
40.  bride stays inside house; in night, she is bathed and led to the husband’s house
41.  next day cook food; the ones who brought the wife go home with gifts

How chiefs get their wives

42.  chiefs get many wives; did not pay; wives as gifts; bad girl can be given to a chief
43.  formerly chiefs could catch women as wives; would not catch a drummer’s wife or daughter
44.  no longer catch women; search for wives like other people

Advice to newlyweds

45.  advice to a daughter to respect the husband and his family
46.  new husband should work to provide for the wife; no roaming or chasing women

Engaged women who have sex before they go to their husbands

47.  typical Dagbamba used to send cola to wife’s family to show was a virgin or not
48.  formerly could be a case; if girl refused to show her lover, could be made a chief’s wife
49.  the case could result in debt for the person who had sex with the promised girl
50.  most men would not complain; the girl can refuse him if he collects money as compensation
51.  sometimes they would replace the girl who refused with her sister

Chiefs’ courts and civil courts in such cases

52.  at chief’s house, whipping a girl who refused to name her lovers
53.  those she named would face charges at the chief’s court; debt imposed
54.  after such a case, the marriage could stand or could be broken

Kidnapping and eloping

55.  sometimes people kidnap a girl; a case for the chief; still happens in villages
56.  in modern times, government courts overrule chief’s courts; spoils the custom
57.  sometimes the boy begs the court or the chief, and the elopement stands
58.  Alhaji Ibrahim sometimes begs the fathers of stolen girls

Government courts versus chiefs’ courts

59.  government courts follow money and lies; spoiled custom
60.  girls sometimes send their own case to the government courts; court rules for girl
61.  civil courts say girls should choose husbands; the chiefs’ courts are not to judge cases
62.  chiefs not longer judge; civil courts can make incorrect decisions from bribes; spoil custom
63.  Dagbamba chieftaincy has no strength; those with money cheat, and chiefs cannot act

Customary way of finding husbands for women:  better to look at the family of the man

64.  in Dagbamba custom, men who gave respect would get wives
65.  in Islam, fathers give daughters away but don’t force the girls; villagers hold older customs
66.  if daughter refused, typical Dagbamba removed her from the family
67.  now the parents ask the girl; many girls prefer the parents to find their husbands
68.  the girl chooses a man, the parents can agree with or refuse her choice
69.  the parents look at the family; refuse slave families, houses without food, even rich people
70.  girls’ choosing spoils custom; the father knows the family of the man better than the girl
71.  custom has strength, but white men and government spoiled the custom
72.  girls who choose often change their minds
73.  formerly girls did not complain; modern girls now choose; more confusion
74.  cannot compare custom to white man’s ways; better to choose the husband’s family
75.  typical Dagbamba used to remove girls from the family or even curse them


76.  transition to the talk of bachelors and women without husbands

III-18:  The Life of Bachelors


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

III-19:  Why Dagbamba Marry Many Wives


1.  beginning the section on householding

Marrying many wives and Dagbamba custom

2.  marrying many wives started with the chiefs, then those who could hold people, then maalams
3.  polygamy is Dagbamba custom; different from white man’s custom
4.  need more than one wife if wife travels or gives birth and goes to family house
5.  receive strangers
6.  having many wives shows respect and personhood
7.  a person without wives and children is abused as useless

Olden days difficulties to get a wife

8.  previously people only had one wife; no food
9.  strong people could collect women; whipping at the chief’s court
10.  many people became old before they could get a wife
11.  this talk from Alhaji Ibrahim’s father; even greeting elders before they had daughters
12.  chiefs got wives by force; also, women were fewer in number
13.  not sure why the women were not many in olden days; maybe war or starvation
14.  maybe the shortage of women was not because of anything

In modern times, having one wife is a problem

15.  women are more available; if one wife travels, husband is tempted to commit adultery
16.  adultery brings bad things
17.  if one wife, can be deceived; no perspective; husband will not know about the marriage
18.  one wife with one husband are happy together, until another wife comes
19.  most men with one wife want more wives
20.  a strong woman can prevent the husband from getting another wife
21.  how Christian marriage with a ring kills a family; inheritance
22.  in Christian marriage, the family is not extended
23.  one wife means worries:  poor person, useless person, villagers
24.  women are many in the towns, fewer in the villages; difficult for villagers to marry
25.  villagers with one wife suffer when the wife gives birth

How chiefs get many wives

26.  princes get wives before chieftaincy because of their respect and means
27.  titles of chiefs’ wives:  Paani and Paampaɣa are first two; last wife is Komlana
28.  women marry chiefs for money, status, and to have children who are princes
29.  chiefs also get bad women from families; also catch women; sisters’ daughters
30.  chief also gets wives from his elders when he arrives in a town

How wives get their rooms in a house

31.  how the chief groups his wives into rooms; senior wives and roomchildren
32.  wives get their own rooms by giving birth; also get cooking days
33.  Muslims are different; the wife gets a room to hold the leefɛ
34.  Muslim amaliya starts cooking immediately; young one might be trained by husband’s mother; some people wait forty days
35.  with typical Dagbamba, the wife must give birth before she gets her cooking; commoners and chiefs

Cooking, roomchildren, and sex in the chief’s house

36.  as the chief gets more wives, he may group many of them in the rooms
37.  the roomchild works for the senior wife until she gets her cooking
38.  chief sleeps with the wife who cooks
39.  two days for each wife to cook; roomchildren do not have cooking and don’t sleep with chief
40.  how the chief sleeps with the roomchildren
41.  if the roomchild gets pregnant, the child is not senior to other children
42.  the Paani will determine when to tell the chief about the child
43.  if a woman without cooking leaves a child in the chief’s house, the child will not become a chief
44.  how chiefs’ wives commit adultery; can lie about a man and give him trouble
45.  gradually the roomchildren will get their rooms, their cooking, and their own roomchildren

Others who marry many wives

46.  people with money get many wives; have to be able to feed everyone in the house
47.  maalams can marry up to four wives; the waljira is senior
48.  commoners can marry to the extent they can feed the household

III-20:  How Dagbamba Feed Their Families


1.  chapter will discuss commoners, not chiefs or maalams or rich people
2.  a commoner:  not a prince; not wealthy; without a voice; sick

Those who are sick or poor

3.  a sick person will not marry; a blind person sometimes marries
4.  impotent person can marry to provide for housepeople
5.  some sick people feed their family through alms
6.  sick person’s household roams to find food; wife may leave him
7.  very poor people; from God; sometimes the children prosper
8.  other people will feed such commoners and their households

How commoners share corn and guinea corn to feed the household

9.  calabash measure corn or guinea corn to each wife for a month’s cooking
10.  some typical Dagbamba watch while wife fetches grain from the room
11.  farmers who have a lot of food can hold wives; soup ingredients there too
12.  the food lasts because the wives each cook two days before the cooking rotates
13.  not necessarily a farmer who has enough food for the household
14.  market traders buy food; differences:  marry wives to the extent of wealth

Buying the other ingredients for cooking

15.  difficult to give examples about money and spending because of inflation
16.  the wife with cooking gets money for soup ingredients; wives add own money
17.  sometimes the money is not enough; mother provides for young children too
18.  rich man’s children more likely to steal than poor man’s children
19.  poor man’s children do not steal
20.  good man will give extra money which wives will use for the children
21.  have to feed everyone in the house; if do not, will lose respect
22.  some men only give corn and nothing for ingredients; the women suffer

How rich people hold their families

23.  good way of living:  person who uses money to feed many people
24.  bad way of living:  person who does not share money
25.  children of selfish person are those who become thieves
25.  useless person asks wives about the costs of things in the market
27.  rich person is someone with people; not someone with money

How chiefs feed their families

28.  chiefs give grain, buy meat; does not give for soup ingredients
29.  chiefs’ wives take things from people’s farms; make their own kpalgu
30.  salt given to chief by the market chief
31.  only some chiefs’ wives still enter farms
32.  chiefs near larger towns do not do it; give money for ingredients

How children eat

33.  chiefs’ wives two-day cooking schedule; leftovers in morning; carry food to farm
34.  farmers’ children:  old food or porridge; roasted yams at farm, also food from house
35.  townperson:  gives children money to buy food; if no money, children find for themselves

How household members borrow from and help one another and how the women trade

36.  difficult to feed everyone; constantly managing money and adjusting
37.  cooking money only for the wife who cooks; can borrow from the wife
38.  women get money from trading; husband will help finance the trading

Wives who are very young and other examples

39.  young wives do not trade until grow older and know the household
40.  older wives will train the young wife; husband gives her money
41.  young wife learns the people in the house and how they eat
42.  a young man’s wife is trained by the senior women in the house or father’s wives
43.  householder gives money to wives of young men in the house
44.  Christians eat by themselves in the house; don’t share cooking
45.  a few Muslim wives stay and trade in the house; husband goes to market; not common


46.  transition to talk about other work than cooking and eating

III-21:  How a Husband and Wife Love One Another


1.  differences between typical Dagbamba and Muslims

Dagbamba husbands' main work is providing food

2.  money or food for cooking; the most important thing is to establish trust

Buying cloth for the wife

3.  buying clothes and shoes
4.  how a rich person and a chief buy cloth
5.  how maalams, commoners, and farmers give cloth; often given during Ramadan
6.  cloth for Ramadan; can give money; woman adds her money to choose her cloth
7.  how giving the money instead of buying cloth shows the husband's respect
8.  chief’s wives have no choice
9.  how commoners beg their wives to accept the gift they can afford

Other good works by the husband

10.  respect for in-laws; greeting the wife’s housepeople
11.  buying of gifts, animals
12.  show concern for wife’s feelings; does not chase outside women
13.  sharing things and work; protecting the wife from bad things
14.  exception:  typical Dagbamba husbands do not do washing, but for man to cook and to pound fufu are inside custom
15.  love the children of the wife
16.  villagers show trust in their wives to hold his best things
17.  if there is no love, then trouble, blame, quarreling, selfishness; different from this talk

Good works Muslim husbands do

18.  start good works before marriage; gifts; get all the things for when they marry
19.  arrival of the wife at the house:  the unveiling; slaughter animals to prepare food
20.  preparing and furnishing the wife’s room
21.  help the wife to learn to read; greet his in-laws; protect wife from suffering


22.  Muslim husband will assist the wife’s family if there is a funeral
23.  Dagbamba funerals have more expenses for in-laws; cloth, scarf, sheep, money, food, music
24.  a good wife and mother will attract help for the funeral from the whole family of the husband
25.  Dagbamba try harder for a woman who has no children; example:  Alhaji Ibrahim’s senior wife

The good works of a wife who loves her husband

26   women’s help feeding guests at a funeral protects the man from shame
27.  women are the foundation of funerals; get blessings from God
28.  women get blessings and respect; man should not put her into difficulty
29.  have to respect woman as a wife; no adultery; should not beat a woman
30.  the woman takes care of the house:  cooking, sweeping, washing, going for water and firewood
31.  good to people in the house; does not gossip or quarrel outside; gifts; speaks well of people
32.  a wife can show her love with sex
33.  help the husband; even goes to help on the farm; buys things for the husband
34.  protect her husband from trouble or shame; give her own money to perform funerals
35.  good works and help for the husband’s parents; wife’s love resembles a husband’s love


36:  conclusion and transition

III-22:  How Women Work and Help One Another


1.  other work apart from cooking and trading in old days and among typical Dagbamba

Women's work

2.  cooking:  grinding grain with grinding stone (nɛli and nɛkaŋa)
3.  cooking:  pounding in a mortar (toli)
4.  plastering the walls of the house; gather with other neighborhood women; how they feed them
5.  plastering:  mixing the plaster (tari); how they use their hands to spread it
6.  plastering and pounding the floors with flat stick (sampani); gather other women to help
7.  sealing the walls:  use water prepared from pods of kpalgu tree (dasandi)
8.  in the towns, plastering is done by masons; grinding mills have replaced grinding stones
9.  modern shortages:  need to return to the customary tools and work
10.  spinning:  removing the seeds from cotton with guntɔbu
11.  spinning:  spinning the cotton inside guntarga with kalo and jɛni
12.  spinning:  selling the cotton or keeping it for funeral

How the women live with one another

13.  many women like to live in a house with other wives
14.  many women who are single wives do not understand the experience of cooperation and help
15.  they help one another to make shea butter or to trade
16.  help one another with problems like funerals; accompany to the funeral house
17.  help with weddings; gifts for the bride; also gifts when a child is born
18.  protect one another from shame; contribute money to a group fund; wear some cloth in a group
19.  example:  Alhaji Ibrahim’s amaliya in two groups; how they contribute
20.  example:  how the group contributed when the wife’s daughter married
21.  example:  how the group of forty women will sew similar cloths for a wedding

Bad women

22.  some women are selfish and not helpful; some women bluff others with what they have
23.  because of bluffing, many women do not want to borrow from one another
24.  contrast with the generosity of some women who always help people on their own
25.  many types of bad women:  selfish, bluffing, borrowing money, gossiping, adultery
26.  need for husband and wife to listen and understand; bad women don’t listen to husband or cowives

The work in the house

27.  when women help one another with the work, they are happy in the house; they like where they are
28.  the women know the benefit of their work
29.  women’s sense:  they remember everything and will remind the husband when they quarrel
30.  despite women’s sense, God has given men control; women accept their position

Women do not talk about the people or the issues in their household

31.  men look at women’s work to know their hearts; women do not talk about their house
32.  example:  how women refused to talk about the people in their house
33.  women follow the talk of their husbands
34.  many differences; cannot generalize; men and women have many ways to live together
35.  Alhaji Ibrahim will try to separate the talks; John should ask questions to help clarify

How women communicate in the house

36.  how women gather in a house to make one mouth to talk to their husband
37.  singing proverbs to communicate, especially shy women; can make complaint or cause trouble
38.  a woman is like the heart; can bring good or bad talks

The bad traits of women

39.  women do not forget; they remember what the husband has said in the past
40.  someone who does not forget has bad sense
41.  women have more sense than men, but their sense can do bad things
42.  some women can kill their husbands; use medicines in food

Dagbamba stories about bad women

43.  old Dagbamba tell a story about an egg; how the husband tested the wife
44.  the story comes from what they have seen; some women can do bad things
45.  typical Dagbamba do not tell their wives house much money they have

Sharing and not sharing secrets

46.  a husband and wife know each other’s secrets; a woman will not show all her secrets
47.  example:  woman will not ask a man for sex
48.  a man cannot know all the talks of women; they do hard work but they are jealous

III-23:  Sex and Rivalry in a House


1.  sex can strengthen or cause trouble in marriage
2.  differences emerge among women in polygamous household
3.  sex causes jealousy among wives

Sex outside marriage

4.  sex before marriage is not common; couples don’t know their sexual compatibility
5.  divorced women who are remarrying:  some refuse and some accept
6.  sex with girlfriends only rarely leads to marriage
7.  even pregnancy does not necessarily lead to marriage; the man or woman or her family can refuse
8.  differences among women regarding sex can lead or not lead to marriage
9.  differences in sexual behavior of young women
10.  differences between friendship money and paying for sex

Sex inside the household

11.  sex strengthens the bond between husband and wife
12.  the woman’s sexual preferences determine the nature of the sexual relationship
13.  sexual strength and appetites are from character; not learned
14.  some men chase outside women; differences in sexual pleasure from different partners
15.  differences causes problems; difficult to give equal attention; women see the differences

Scheduling sex in the polygamous household

16.  women sleep with husband on their cooking day; men get tired trying to please all
17.  jealousy among women when the other wives are having sex
18.  how women know if the husband has been having sex with the others; from washing
19.  a neglected woman will respond:  proverbs, return to her family house; how the man responds
20.  if the woman does good works in the house, will stay; otherwise will divorce


21.  jealousy among women; they know the husband’s relations with their cowives
22.  no remedy for jealousy; jealous woman is looking for vindication
23.  sex can strengthen or weaken marriage; need for balance and moderation


24.  rivalry among cowives; four wives or two wives separate themselves; especially cooking days
25.  menstruation days also bring out rivalry; sex not forbidden but not common during menstruation
26.  having many wives is difficult; not all women are jealous, but many are
27.  three wives is most difficult; shifting rivalries of two against one
28.  husband cannot separate the quarrel; sometimes will put the three wives into separate houses
29.  some three wives get along; or the rivals all quarrel with their husband instead of each other

Examples of rivalry and jealousy

30.  rivals can use medicine against one another or against the husband
31.  rivalry extends to stepchildren; medicine and abuse against the children
32.  rivalry over gifts; have to give to each wife individually and equally
33.  wives are possessive about other responsibilities on their cooking days
34.  the wives resent and work against a favored wife; gossip outside the house
35.  jealous woman has no shame; will work against the person who will help her in the house
36.  the jealousy is general among women; examples of bluffing each other

Women who are happy

37.  women who are the only wife are happy; examples
38.  a woman who is for herself; trading and in her own house; no man trouble


39.  cannot know everything about a woman; secretive; more complicated than men
40.  women take quarrels to a higher extent; overstate and lie about issues
41.  can only trust women to an extent; too much jealousy; hold onto bad feelings; good and bad

III-24:  How a Husband and Wife Separate


1.  Alhaji Ibrahim can speak from experience

Importance of knowing a woman before marriage

2.  men do not think before marrying a woman; does what he wants
3.  man should try to know the character of a woman
4.  important to know the parents; how Dagbamba find their wives

Lack of children

5.  stress and gossip if a couple is childless; from woman’s friends, not parents
6.  frustration leads to quarrels; separation begins

How the separation proceeds; wife returns to her family

7.  woman to her father’s family, husband will follow; she returns but further quarrels
8.  woman to her uncle; husband will follow; the separation is decided
9.  several month before collecting the wife’s things; then the separation becomes final
10.  children remain with father if they are walking; infants will return to father when they walk

Quarrels among wives:  jealousy

11.  when a new wife arrives, senior wife may become jealous and leave
12.  senior wife may abuse new wife; no blame if the new wife leaves
13.  husband needs to be strong and refuse to choose; threaten to divorce all of them

Quarrels among wives:  childbirth

14.  if a new wife gives birth, a childless wife may leave
15.  if senior wife with girl children and new wife with boys, senior wife may make medicine
16.  especially with chiefs and rich people; other wives will not like a wife who has boys
17.  some women with girls will leave on their own when new wife has boys
18.  the senior wife can put medicine in food to kill the boys or kill the new wife
19.  medicine can ruin a person’s life, so the new wife may leave the house
20.  the senior wife’s strength will overcome the love of the new wife and the husband
21.  the husband may send boys away to be raised, or he may divorce the senior wife
22.  wives cannot refuse each others’ food; they will fear to use medicine; other ways to repair it
23.  exception:  wife may like the one with boys, thinking she will also get that luck

Quarreling in a house

24.  too much quarreling, man will divorce all the wives; he has “bought his life”
25.  a house with constant quarreling is vulnerable to medicine and witchcraft
26.  story of a witch giving medicine; find people who “don’t want themselves”
27.  someone who quarrels “does not want” himself or herself

The response to jealousy

28.  new wife comes, refusal and bad examples from senior wife; husband has to complain
29.  sometimes the wives will use sense to live together better
30.  after husband talks, each wife will decide if she will leave the house or live with the other
31.  when wife leaves, husband should not mind whatever story she tells her family

Why a woman leaves a man

32.  the man can be at fault; a useless man can drive a woman away
33.  a woman can also leave on her own choice; counting the faults of the husband
34.  husband doesn’t care if the wife is sick
35.  husband does not greet the woman’s family
36.  husband does not perform funerals in woman’s family
37.  husband does not buy clothes for the wife
38.  husband tries to account for how the wife buys food
39.  husband becomes impotent; or woman does not want to sleep with man
40.  husband has bad habits the wife didn’t know; husband beats the wife
41.  husband has lied to court the woman
42.  cowives will abuse the woman
43.  husband’s mother doesn’t like the wife and will abuse her; doesn’t want to share
44.  some families are descended from slaves
45.  some women will leave if they find that the husband is from a slave family
46.  a family arranges a marriage, and one of the couple does not like the other

How Alhaji Ibrahim divorced three of his wives


47.  in mother’s house after giving birth; became pregnant by another man
48.  pregnancy from another man is dangerous to an unweaned child
49.  Alhaji Ibrahim sent people to the mother’s house, but Gurumpaɣa did not return to him
50.  Gurumpaɣa refused to return; the conversation about the pregnancy
51.  Alhaji Ibrahim went himself; they refused to identify the other man
52.  Alhaji Ibrahim brought a case against his in-laws in the chief’s court
53.  suing in-laws is unusual and against custom, especially if there has been birth
54.  Alhaji Ibrahim explained about the pregnancy; the court summoned Gurumpaɣa and her mother
55.  the court asked Gurumpaɣa’s mother about the pregnancy, and she refused to say
56.  Gurumpaɣa explained her relationship to the other man; he was joined to the suit
57.   how the court charged the mother and the other man
58.  the judgment and fines; Alhaji Ibrahim accepts the judgment of the court
59.  Alhaji Ibrahim sent people to end the marriage; later he collected his children from Gurumpaɣa, but not the other man’s child
60.  in Dagbon, a father can give his pregnant daughter to a chief; such children have spoiled chieftaincy


61.  continually quarreled with Alhaji Ibrahim’s other wife, Fati


62.  did not group herself with the other wives
63.  did not tell Alhaji Ibrahim about her uncle’s sickness and death
64.  ignored the other wives at the funeral
65.  Alhaji Ibrahim wrote a letter to Alima’s family to come for her
66.  her family collected her things; no one knew why
67.  did not visit her former cowife in hospital who was taking care of her children
68.  did not attend the cowife’s funeral; people understood
69.  why to confront or not confront someone who does bad to you; conclusion