Yakö - Marriage and Family



Marriage. The nuclear family is the nucleus of the Yakö household, but the majority of middle-aged men have more than one wife; older men, however, tend not to be notably polygamous. Sororal polygamy was not approved. Men very seldom divorced their wives, but wives, certainly since at least the early twentieth century, have had considerable liberty to leave marriages they disliked and remarry, provided only that they did not remarry within the same patrician. The patrician that supplicates at the same e-pun-det shrine is an exogamous unit (despite any gossip about what may have been different ultimate origins). The matrilineage (but not the matriclan) is also exogamous. Kin are, of course, involved in marriage: the patrikin of the groom are concerned with the bride who is coming to live in their midst; her matrikin, who will be replenished through her offspring, are concerned ritually with her fertility, and, traditionally, they organized, for a girl's first marriage, both visits to matrilineal shrines and a clitoridectomy rite (female circumcision was common throughout much of the middle Cross River area). Other groups are, however, involved in marriages even more than the kin. For a first marriage, the age mates of the bride's mother and those of the groom's father play very important roles; a married couple turn for help in any marital difficulty mainly to their age mates, not to their kin. Ultimately, the town as a whole is concerned with the marriage of its women, given that the great majority of marriages are endogamous within the town.

Domestic Unit. Traditionally, a girl did not take up residence with her husband's people until the birth of their first child. In her husband's compound, she had her own house and was not subservient to the wives who were already in residence. In the event of divorce, the wife had the right to take her younger children with her. Her daughters stayed with her and her new husband until they themselves married. Her sons were supposed to return to their father's compound, at least when they were old enough to farm; however, in practice, it seems to have been quite common for them to become effective adoptees into the patrikin groups of the stepfather.

Inheritance. The fact that houses and land have traditionally gone to patrikin and movable goods to matrikin is crucial to the distinct existence of patrikin and matrikin groups. By the mid-1930s, however, it was being reported that sons resented the transmission of the father's wealth to the matrikin. Whether inheritance is now effectively patrilineal is doubtful because debts are also inherited by the matrilineal heir. The Yakö have not been a heavily indebted people, but the outstanding men who had the most property to leave were likely to join various men's societies and omit to pay their full fees, which consequently became charges on their heirs; inheritance was not an unmixed blessing. There was no strict rule about inheritance in relation to particular children. Houses of the dead were allowed to fall into ruin, and the sites were then claimed by sons about to marry. Fallow land passed within the patriltneage, but not by strict division to brothers or sons. The main matrilineal heir was the person who was prepared to take responsibility for debts and the general cost of the funeral; this person then allocated the deceased's personal possessions to the kin, taking the main share for himself or herself.

Socialization. In Yakö society, as in others in the area, great emphasis was placed on a child becoming a well-behaved member of his or her age set. Children were taught from the age of 6 or 7 that they must not quarrel with their age mates; rather, they must cultivate the self-discipline to meet obligations toward them and settle any disputes in an amicable mannen It is preferable to accept decisions counter to one's interests than to alienate one's age mates.


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Jan 11, 2017 @ 5:05 am
HI. I WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ADOPTION OF STEPSONS IN YAKO TRIBE. I AM WRITING A TERM PAPER ON CUSTOMARY ADOPTION. ALSO IN SOME TEXTBOOKS, THE YAKO TRIBE IS SAID TO BE IN PLATEAU STATE. IS THERE ANY TRUTH TO THIS ASSERTION? THANK YOU

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