Accepted Paper:

Matrilineality, inheritance and modernity: a study of continuity and change of the inheritance system of the Asante  


Wilhelmina Donkoh (Garden City University Colege)

Paper short abstract:

A key characteristic of matrilineal societies is inheritance through the mother’s lineage. This paper combines primary and secondary sources in considering this thesis in relation to the Akans of Ghana, using the case of the Asante in the pre-colonial, colonial and the post-colonial eras.

Paper long abstract:

ABSTRACT: A key characteristic of matrilineal societies the world over is inheritance through the mother's lineage. This paper will use a combination of primary and secondary sources to consider this thesis in relation to the Akan-speaking people of Ghana, first using the case of the people of Asante in the pre-colonial period, through the colonial and then the post-colonial eras. It will be argued that the thesis is partly justified, but overlooks a number of significant contributions made by modern institutions in transforming the social and cultural environment while at the same time retaining the kennel of historic beliefs and practices of the affected people. Besides examining the policies and their outcomes, the paper will also explore the extent to which western institutions such as Christianity, education and policies emanating from the modern governance system have impacted the time-honoured inheritance system of the Asante and other matrilineal Akan groups.

Panel RM-KG03
Matrilineal societies in today's world