A Drummer's Testament:   chapter outlines and links

Volume III Part 5:  Old Age

III-25:  Widows

Widows are different from other unmarried women

1.  widows present issues; some people see them as bad luck; others search for them
2.  people fear widows; many people will not marry a widow
3.  if a woman is widowed twice, only someone with medicine will marry her
4.  some people search for widows; different reasons

How widows marry again

5.  widow’s dress:  white cloth and scarf; at family house, many men together trying to find her
6.  to search for a widow, stay with friend to send money to widow’s elder; need soothsaying stone
7.  soothsaying stone is ten-pesewa coin; how the soothsayer and family head hold walking stick over all the stones
8.  when they choose one stone, family head goes and tells the widow
9.  the suitor’s householder sometimes collects the widow at night
10.  other suitors may use vua or paɣali to steal the widow
11.  sometimes fight with chosen husband; widow’s family intervenes
12.  arguments and trickery to send the widow without trouble
13.  the other suitors collect their money back from the widow’s housepeople
14.  the new husband and the widow will eat karga before sleeping together
15.  customs regarding sleeping with the widow; white cola; if widow gives birth to a boy

Chiefs’ widows are beaten

16.  dead chief’s housechildren beat the widows; not the chief’s actual children; mistreated by the chief’s wives
17.  can be protected from beating if have children in the house or family in the town
18.  widows stay in houses near the chief’s house until the funeral

Bathing the widows and how they pass through the broken wall

19.  on the funeral day, M’ba Naa comes from Yendi to bathe the widows
20.  the bathing attracts many spectators
21.  how they bathe the widows and dress them
22.  faithful wives take spears and pass through the broken wall to the grave; drummers beat Baŋgumaŋa
23.  those who don’t pass the broken wall are whipped by M’ba Naa; some pay bribes to pass
24.  how drummers praise widows who pass the wall; family will slaughter an animal
25.  jealousy and medicine against such widows
26.  how the widows greet in the town the morning after the funeral and then go to their family houses


27.  widows talk is different from other women

III-26:  The Life of Old People

The respect and works of old age

1.  old age come from God; many talks; respect for old person, rich person, chief, maalam
2.  comparison to chief, to rich person, to maalam with intelligence
3.  old age is not simply age or white hair; it is how one holds oneself
4.  old person holds himself; tried to repair things, whether succeed or fail
5.  old people consult and repair quarrels or problems that spoil people’s way of living
6.  in a quarrel, give the right to the elder person
7.  an old person holds people; acts as if blind and dumb and deaf, acts with patience
8.  an old person without people is not old; cannot hold his children; not a family head
9.  an old person is family head; old age is in the heart and will come into the open
10.  all family events and work require the presence of an elder; sacrifices
11.  old person also holds the area around a house; helps anyone in the area
12.  an old person’s presence reduces consequences at the chief’s court
13.  people put the old person’s name in front without informing him, and he accepts
14.  people do not argue with an old person who lies
15.  old age comes to someone who feeds and takes care of his housepeople
16.  an old person holds people in a house; housepeople farm and help him; give him leadership

The old age of women

17.  an old woman will get the same respect; has taken care of the children in the house
18.  respect an old woman who is a mother; fear of the mother’s house; can swear a curse
19.  people who are feared in a household:  mother, mother’s brother, father
20.  old woman without children also gets respect from housepeople
21.  an old woman with bad character does not get respect
22.  men have eldership more than women
23.  a woman whose old age would make her the family head will give the eldership to a man
24.  people will accuse the woman family head of witchcraft
25.  women know the family talks and teach the children; they get respect in old age; example:  Alhaji Iddi and his mother

Taking care of old people

26.  Dagbamba take care of their elders; food, clothing, gifts; God repays the good
27.  a good old person without children:  people take good care; it appears he has children
28.  if people let an old person suffer, their things will spoil
29.  if children neglect their old person, their mother or father can curse them
30.  old person’s talks stand and do work in a family; continuing presence

Old age and drumming

31.  transition to examples of old age among some drumming elders
32.  a drummer is an old person; knows the talks of yesterday; addressed as “grandfather”
33.  Alhaji Ibrahim is an old person in drumming because of his leadership; did not choose it
34.  Alhaji Ibrahim has shared money among drummers for thirty years, even in other towns
35.  an old person can talk of yesterday, today, and tomorrow

Alhassan Lumbila’s old age

36.  example:  the character of Alhassan Lumbila; how children followed him to the farm
37.  Alhassan’s relation to Mangulana and Sheni; Alhassan’s seniority in drumming
38.  Alhassan’s wives and children
39.  the incident of Gulkpe-Naa Iddi, Toombihi, and Alhassan Lumbila
40.  Alhassan received money from anyone who beat drumming in Tamale; his respect

Alhaji Adam’s old age

41.  Alhaji Adam has the same personality as Alhassan Lumbila; does not get annoyed
42.  the age of Alhaji Adam; the oldest drummer but does not have Alhassan’s old age
43.  Alhassan’s talk; Alhaji Adam does not get money like Alhassan; only Alhaji Ibrahim gives him his share
44.  proverb about white matter from the eye
45.  Alhaji Adam’s acknowledgment to Alhaji Ibrahim for helping him

Sheni’s old age

46.  Sheni is like a chief; how Sheni suffered for Alhassan Lumbila
47.  Sheni also has Alhassan’s character; white heart; his friendship with John
48.  why Sheni gives John money
49.  how Sheni greets Alhaji Ibrahim, despite being the elder
50.  Sheni knows many people; has more respect and more old age than Alhaji Adam

Comparing Alhaji Adam and Alhassan Lumbila

51.  Alhaji Adam has respect, but not up to his father’s; entered chieftaincy talk; Andani side
52.  Alhassan did not choose among drummers; took all to be his children; Tamale drummers are Abudu side
53.  Alhassan told Alhaji Adam that one day he would not get benefit; an old man’s talk happens


54.  the talk is relevant to all people, not just Dagbamba