Accepted Paper:

Debunking myths about matrilineal societies: paternity in Laimbwe history and culture of Cameroon  

Author:

Kah Henry Kam (University of Buea)

Paper short abstract:

Many studies on matrilineal societies in the world almost exclusively examine membership of people to their mother’s kin group giving the impression that such societies do not have a place for fatherhood in their histories and cultural practices.

Paper long abstract:

Many studies on matrilineal societies in the world almost exclusively examine membership of people to their mother's kin group giving the impression that such societies do not have a place for fatherhood in their histories and cultural practices. This paper challenges this lopsided discussion and deviates from it to examine the important and symbolic role of paternity in the history and culture of the Laimbwe matrilineal group of the North West Region of Cameroon. A father like the sister or mother has the power and full right to deny his son or daughter from taking up responsibilities in his/her mother's kin group. Traditional secrets of masquerade societies are in the hands of sons than sister's sons or brothers and a man has authority to bury his wife although she belongs to her mother's kin group. These and other issues shall be examined through field work, participant observation and existing secondary works to show the powerful role of paternity in the history and culture of the Laimbwe of Cameroon.

Panel RM-KG03
Matrilineal societies in today's world