Kin Groups and Descent. The calculation of patrilineal descent is significant at both the domestic and political levels. The royal patrician descended from the first king, Na Gbewa, is constituted at present by the five patrilineages that articulate the territorial framework of Mamprusi political organization (see "History and Cultural Relations"). Each royal lineage provides a chief for the capital village in its respective province; the centrally localized lineage provides the king. Chiefs of the capital villages in each province are selected and installed by the king and his court, but they, with their courts, in turn select and install village chiefs within their provinces. Although each lineage is localized in a corresponding province, its constituent segments are dispersed throughout the many small settlements of that territory. Villages may contain a variety of commoner kin groups and one or more segments of a royal lineage, or they may be made up of a single extended kin group consisting solely of either royals or commoners.
The patrilineages that form the royal clan are subdivided into "gates" ( zanoaya; sing. zanoari ); many commoner lineages are similarly organized. A gate consists of agnates who trace connection through three generations of deceased patrikin. Within a gate, office is inherited, and gate numbers cooperate in the performance of funerals. Members of the same gate sacrifice together to their common ancestors. The distinction between royals ( nabiisi ) and commoners ( tarima ) depends on patrilineal filiation, and Mamprusi claim that all patrilineal descendants of kings, however distantly related, are royal. Large numbers of commoner gates probably have royal origins. Although it is said that royals should not intermarry, neither at clan nor at lineage levels are Mamprusi royals an exogamous group. The exogamous unit is the gate. Beyond this range of patrikin, marriages occur, although one or both partners may relinquish royal status in establishing the union. Where intermarriage occurs between members of different royal lineages or different gates of a single lineage, one segment will be regarded as royal, while the other will be classified as commoner. If royal descent is not reaffirmed by tenure of royal office, royal status is eventually lost. Thus, the commoner population consists of descendants of royals who have lost claim to royal office as well as immigrants from a variety of different ethnic groups, most notably Tampollensi, Tchokossi, Kantonshi, and other neighboring peoples. Some commoners claim autochthonous origins. Commoners hold office as elders in the chiefly courts and may also hold chiefly office, although their chiefships, unlike those of royals, are not ranked; they are regarded as nonresident elders of a royal chief's court.
Kinship Terminology. The Mamprusi classificatory terminology distinguishes three generations, and great-grandparent/great-grandchild relationships can be described. In Ego's generation, men distinguish senior brother ( bere ) from junior brother, who is classed together with sisters as junior sibling ( tizoa' ) . Female ( tizo-pwa'a ) and male ( tizo-doo ) junior siblings can be identified. Women class their senior sisters and brothers together (bere) and their junior brothers and sisters together (tizoa'). In the first ascending generation, Ego categorizes siblings of the same sex as a parent, depending on their age relative to the parent. The categories senior father ( bakpema ) and junior father ( bapura ), or senior mother ( makpema ) and junior mother ( mapura ) include all persons for whom Ego's parents use sibling terms. Special terms distinguish a mother's brother ( nyahaba ) and a sister's child ( nyahanga ). A father's sister ( piriba ) refers to her brother's child as child ( bia ). Ego refers to his own children and to those of persons he calls by a sibling term, as child (bia); male child ( bi-dibiga ) and female child ( bipunga ) may be distinguished. The child of any person called child will be called grandchild ( ya'anga ), for which the reciprocal is female grandparent ( yapwa'a ) or male grandparent ( yadoo ). The term for grandparent ( yaaba ) is also used for ancestor. Affines distinguished in Ego's generation include husband ( sira ), wife (pwa'a), sister's husband ( datyia; pl. datyisi ), and brother's wife ( pwaatia; pl. pwaatyisi ). A woman calls her husband's brother "husband" (sira) but usually specifies his relative age with respect to her husband ( sira-kpema = senior husband; sira-pira = junior husband). A man calls his brother's wife, wife (pwa'a). All the above terms are used both in address and reference and replace personal names in most contexts.