March 21, 2012
0152 GHANA - An Ashanti boy, dressed in kente
I wrote about the Ashanti people here, both about their history and their present and about kente cloth. I'll add only a few details about the Ashanti family unit and family system, which I found on a very interesting site, ashanti.com.au:
"As in most developing countries, there is a strong extended family system. Poorer members may seek financial assistance from their better off relatives for school fees, medical expenses etc. But visitors are always welcomed, even if their arrival may be a cause of financial concern. In Asante, the family line is matralineal - in that it passes through the mother to her children. A man is strongly related to his mother's brother but only weakly related to his father's brother. This must be viewed in the context of a polygamous society in which the mother/child bond is likely to be much stronger than the father / child bond. As a result, in inheritance, a man's nephew (sister's son) will have priority over his own son. Uncle-nephew relationships therefore assume a dominant position. (Legislation was introduced in 1984 to change this traditional pattern of inheritance.)"
"The constitution of Asante (Ashanti) is based on the Abusua (Family system). There are seven established Abusua or Family Groups in Asante:
● Oyoko and Dako
● Aduana (Atwea, Abrade)
● Bretuo and Agona
● Ekuona and Asokore
Every member of the Ashanti tribe is a member of one of the above Abusua or family groups and can trace their descent only through the Female Line to the same female ancestress who would invariably be the Founder of the Abusua. The first effect of this relationship is clearly that members of one Abusua are considered to have the same blood, and marriage between them is therefore forbidden. Abusua is not the same as clan. Whereas Abusua means (or is) a group or groups of people descended from one great-grand-mother on the maternal side, Clan is a federation of four or five different groups of Abusua or Families with one recognised head. So those members of the same clan cannot, like members of an Abusua, trace their ancestry (or Descent) through the same common ancestress. Marriage between members of a clan is, therefore, permissible, Where members of a clan do not intermarry, the group would be more of a family than a clan. A child born of any marriage in Ashanti is a member of the same Abusua or Family as its mother, and naturally comes under the chief whom its mother serves."
The stamp is the same as on the first postcard, about which I wrote here.
sender: Emmanuel Bonsie (direct swap)
sent from Accra (Ghana), on 06.12.2011