Marriage and family life

Dating rituals

It is the father who looks for the wife. The Bakweri people are not usually allow to date. It is the father of the boy or girl who look for a partner for their son/daughter.

Sexual attitudes and unusual practices

The bakweri are not normally supposed to have sex before marriage. It is only when all the bride price has being paid, that the bride is taken to the grooms room, they have sex. On this night, a white bed sheet is spread on the bed, for the couple to have sex on it. Since the bride has to be a virgin, she must bleed on the bed sheet, and that will prove to the groom’s family that the bride was a good one.

Marriage patterns

The Bakweri have traditionally practised polygamy, although with Christianisation, this custom has become extremely rare. In the traditional Bakweri society, women are chosen as future spouses when they are still children, and in some cases, even before they were born. The father or relative of the woman have been paid a dowry, thus the woman is considered as a property to the husband and his family. Upon the husband’s death, the eldest surviving brother inherits the wife. A husband’s prosperity was also intricately linked to the influence of his wife or wives. The wives tended his pigs, goats, cattle, arable land, so no one could trespass or exceed them, etc. The Bakweri are very exogamous when it comes to marriage. They respect their blood lineage, therefore they do not marry with people from the same village. They do not practice incest. Incest is even considered as a taboo, and serious practice needs to be practice to purify the family name. They marry from very far area, or distances, but nowadays, some people marry in close area, and endogamy is now becoming common among the Bakweri.In the bakweri, marriage is a marriage between a clan, and family and not between individuals. The idea is that the bride price is actually never fully paid, because if it is completely paid, it will be like the girl has been sold, and no one in the family or clan will be able to get marry with someone in that tribe again, it is more like an agreement, and the bride price is to intensify the marriage relationship.

Marriage rituals and practices

It is the father who pays the dawry, because the young man is not working and the father is supposed to own goods therefore he is the one who pays. After fulfilling the requirement it is the man who decides on when to take the wife. The day of that occasion you bring the big and the girls family  will acess you on what to pay. The father of the girl will start the biting on the price of the dawry from 1million, until the two families reach at 500000FCFA, which is usually the lowest amount they can accept. Sometimes, the two families may come come to a compromise and ask the groom to  give what he has. If you don’t kill the pig you are not fully married, the bakweri don’t usually issued marriage certificate. After paying part of the dowry, that is when you are officially married. On the marriage day, the girls family brings the bride to the mans family. The ceremony is celebrated, on after the ceremony, the bride and the grooms family prepares a nice bed with a white bed sheet on which the bride is expected to bleed, as a sign of her virginity. If the woman bleeds on the sheet, then she is a good bride, if not, she might be disregarded by her groom and the groom’s family.

Inheritance or kinship patterns

Bakweri inheritance is patrilineal; upon the father’s death, his property is inherited by his eldest son. Inheritance also depends on the behavior of the children. If a child is a chief or is very stubborn or is noted for a very bad character like arrogance to the elders, or disregard to the tradition, the father can decide to give his inheritance to the brother. Also, if the father dies when the children are still very young, the inheritance can be transfered to a family member who is trust worthy. Also een the next of king doesn’t necessarily means that all the property belongs to you, you are the one to control the property. If you are not from the royal family you cannot be made a king. King makers are people who come from the chief family. Notables and are the people who decides on the next king after the initial king has made his will. Furthermore, we call “Manawondja”, when a woman is not married and have attained an age when she can no more get married then she can have a voice in the family.

Household patterns

In the Bakweri soceity, many families are monogamous, and therefore there is no conjugal  household from within the family. Furthermore, the Bakwerians spend a lot of time at home with their children, and the family is the main unit of production, therefore, there is no particular houshold pattern within the Bakweri soceity.

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