When the marriage has taken place, what happens after that - I
mean divorce -
the responsiblility of the man and the woman who takes care of
the children and than also the rights of the woman ....
Marriage in Ghana - we see it as a very important ceremony or
institution, because even long before we came to Ghana - our forefathers
took this marriage ceremony very, very seriously, because we believe
!! Since there is a different sex, there is a woman and a man
- this two have to come together to give a family. Because of
that, when a man marries a woman, so there are some customs in
ghana which differ from place to place, ....
Head of the family
We believe that the man is the head of the family and I think
the bible also testifies this. The woman was as a result of the
bone taken from the rip of the man, so we always see the man as
the head. In the marriage the man is the head of the family and
he is supposed to take care of the whole family and because of
that, any responsiblilty in the house or in the family is for
the man to see that every thing is done. Finacial righs in the
familiy is the man, shelter is the man, and than protection also
is the man. This is how it was - our traditional way, that´s why
we feel the man is the boss...
Helper to the man
The woman is a helper to the man, so the man is to go out to bring
what they need in the house to the woman. The woman has to preapare
those things, anything that will make the family feel comfortable
in the house - I mean for the family . This is how our marriage
One child - one father
And our custom does not encourage divorce. In our customs a woman
is supposed to marry only one man, but a man can marry as many
woman as he can. He can look after, he can marry hundred women
and if he still can look after all of them, there is no need to
The reason behind this is that - in marriage something comes out
of that marriage - that is a child-bearing. Only the woman can
feel the pregnancy and no child can have two fathers -
One child is supposed to have only one father: ...everyone can
see this is my daughter, I am the father ...that means the pregnancy
is only for one person... Because of that - if a woman has two
man and that woman is pregnant - I feel the pregnancy is for me
and the other man also feels the pregnancy is for him...
Because of that - they think the man can move and maybe have other
friends - girlfriends or woman. The woman is not supposed to go
out at all - because of the fear she might bring a pregnancy from
outside! The woman is always kept in the house. And since the
woman is not supposed to do that the man has to give her the green
light to go out.
Trust and faith
Trust is there and the faith is also there, but we believe - I
mean - the weak of the devil is also there! Sometimes the devil
influences the people and there are a lot of thinks that attract
people to some other things. Because of all of these things, we
don`t know...maybe, maybe ...I offer to you sometime and you take
it very seriously and you maybe want to retain it - in other ways
- you see - in other ways you can do it, but if you want to retain
it in such a way ...in that case you are always be blamed.
Reveal some secrets
Your wife can do anything to you - as a man you are supposed to
forgive her and than forget about everything. When the woman goes
out for another man, they ask you, if you still love your woman
- and if you want to take her back - No problem! But if you feel
- as your woman has gone out for another man, and you dont want
her back - they will encorage you to leave her. If you take her
back, the others would allow that, but your friends and the people
around will always be laughing at you. They will see you as you
are no more a man, you are a woman, they see you as a woman.
Because you know the reason why your wife went out. Maybe if you
leave her and divorce from her, she might reveal some secrets
of yours. Because of that, you are afraid to leave her. Or after
all this, if your woman is pregnant that man who has once slept
with your woman can go around and tell: " This pregnancy is mine.
I pregnated the woman." When that thing happens - the man will
totally divorce you, because he wants no stories afterwards. The
other men could say: "That boy, that girl among your children
is mine." ...To cut everything short: he will divorce you. So
this is how the divorce comes to our marriage. It is not supportet
by the elders.
Women can also divorce
A woman can also divorce, but she has to have a very good reason...
The only good ground is maybe the man can beat her massively and
she can collapse, when this happens one, two times, she has a
good reason. Or if the man of having so many other women and gilfriends
- if he doesn´t make love to her at all one week, one month...
The men they are very weak and maybe you just do a small thing,
a small mistake, that man can even sometimes beat you massively
to the point of leaving - you can collapse... So if this happens
one-two-three times you have a good ground to divorce him. Because
its also a thing of your heart.
And sometimes, if the man because of having so many other women
- not married woman but other girlfriends - and because of that
he doesn`t make love to you at all for one week, two weeks, one
month you can also stand on that. Because, if you do not stand
on that and you don´t want to divorce - and than you attend to
go out, he will leave you in the end!
So the woman can also divorce. And because the man is the head
of the family - if divorce comes, the man is supposed to look
after the children.
Money and children
Before divorce comes, if it is the man who is seeking for divorce,
the eldest will ask him to perform some rights. He performs some
rights, if he wants to marry you, so he will performs some rights
again to divorce you that the people know that you are no more
his wife. If somebody maybe comes forward to marry you - that
right is a signature or a stamp. That day the man gets the stamp
on that divorce, he and his wife are no more husband and wife.
If the woman is no more your wife, the family of the husband and
the clan - they are not supposed to look after her anymore. But
they have to remember that the man has children with the woman.
Is the man taking the children along or is he leaving the children
with the woman? If he is taking the children along, then there
is nothing more to do. But if he is leaving the children with
the woman, then he has to look after the children. He gives some
amount to the children through the woman - but the man is not
supposed to go to the woman and to her house or to give the money
to the woman. He sends the money through a relative of the man.
And that relative also send the money through a relative of the
woman. And than the money will be given to the woman. Just to
make sure - all that is that the money will pass to the woman.
They are the witnesses that the man is looking after the children.
So it is a responsibility of the man to look after the children
Make the woman stay
But if it is the woman who is seeking for divorce...
The man: - if I love my wife and maybe I have done something wrong
and the woman stands on that thing and she wants to go because
of that - I will try everything to make the woman stay. I try
to insist her that she maybe changes her mind. So I tell her:
"If you are going, you have to go with all the children and don`t
come to me for anything about the children. If you insist of going,
than go along with all the children. When they are alive they
are for you, when they die they are for you. Everything of theirs
is for you." Then the woman will think very very far and sometimes
she stays. You see! But if the woman has already a very nice place
to go ...
But sometimes they are very, very miserable. And if you ask them:
"Can`t you move away from that man?" The answer they give you
, is "No" because of the children. Sometimes with all the suffering
the woman is able to stay with the husband until the end of her
life. So this kind of family becomes a modell - it`s a family
of her class. Everybody who wants to marry from that family act
like that, because they believe, that it is their character. So
this is how it is!
Change from bad habits
But if the way the man is treating the woman - thats why the woman
wants to leave and the eldest understand everything - they will
ask him - the man, if he can change from bad habits. If the man
says "Yes", than they will ask the woman to stay in another place
- or the man will stay in another place. But the man has to look
after the woman and has to visit her - for maybe a year or two
just to study this man. And if they are sure that he has changed,
it has to come from the woman. Again they ask the woman: " How
do you see your husband now? Has he changed or not?" If the woman
confesses that he has changed, everything is o.k. But if he has
not changed, the eldest will seperate them on the womans request.
Then they tell the man: "Because of your behaviour the woman is
now free for anybody who wants to marry her. And you have to look
after the children." In all the man is supposed to look for the
children, but if the woman requested for the divorce and they
agree with the woman, they give the children to the woman. This
is the whole thing about marriage, divorce and the one who takes
care of the children after divorce.
Marry two hundred women
A man can marry two hundred women at the same time. He has to
give them different homes. Every woman must have her own room.
And the man has to share the days to them: "Today I am yours,
tomorrow I am yours, tomorrow I am yours" - Every women knows
her day that the man will be with her. "If today is your day,
and I am going to be with you, my food, my eating, my everything
is with you. I mean you have to look after that from the morning
to the evening. And after feeding me, after everything then I
have to sleep with you. And the next day I move to another women.
You have to share. But if you know that today is not your day
and I come to you... the one who is supposed to have that day,
she will rush to you and fight." - You are the man, you have to
make sure, that there is no trouble. If you can whish to marry
two or three or four, you have to make sure that there is harmony
among this women.
The average amount of women
In my place everybody marries 7 or 9 women. But you have only
7 days a week! If you marry 9 women, what they do is, they don´t
give them a day, they give them a week. "One week is for you,
the other week is yours." Nine weeks after you get your man back!
And the whole week he is with one woman. The other week with another
And in our village we have marketdays. Every 4 days we have market
days, so they share along to the market days. On the market day
the men give housekeeping money to the wifes going to the market
to buy things. At the end of that market day the man goes to another
woman. They share according to the market days, 4 days, 4 days,
The population is fifty-fifty
Even if this is fifty-fifty, those men who have money they have
advantage to those who don´t have money. So you see somebody looking
for another woman to marry and you don´t have even one. Somebody
has 10, 12, because he can effort them. The bible also says that
there are 7 woman to the man...
Everybody, not only women, they want to have some basic things
in life. If I am a woman, and I want to marry you and someone
else wants to marry me - the two of you want to marry me and I
know you have money more than the other, I will go with you! But
there are some woman, who don`t look for money, they look for
character. Because you can marry a rich man, he has money, but
he is using his money outside and not on you. Because of this
the character of the man, he makes you not feel comfortable in
the house at all. So this are all the things the women are looking
for before they decide marry. That`s how it is!
In marriage you don´t have the rights of the woman. I mean the
woman is nothing but a helper not a partner. The woman is something
like a servant! The man is supposed to work hard to get enough
of money to get all the things before he can marry a woman. So
he spents all the money on the woman and to bring the woman to
his house. So he uses the woman also to work for him. At least
to get his money back. They tell the woman: "There is a lot of
work on the farm..."
The man is stronger than the woman, he will work more than the
woman. After they both worked all the day, some of them will ask
the woman to go and look for firewood too. In earlier times there
was no electricity - the woman had to go around in the bush looking
for firewood, tie this and carry all this wood home. Sometime
the woman is having a baby. Maybe two years, three years old.
Then she is going to carry this baby on her back together with
this wood. Sometimes some of them are again pregnant, the baby
at the back, carrying this load on the head!
When they come to the house after work the man will go to a chair
- we call it "lazy chair" - the man will sit in his "lazy chair"
and the woman is supposed to go to the kitchen again, prepare
food, everything and then after sitting on the table and eating,
cleaning, she has to make everything, washing the children, everything,
before she goes to the bed. And during the night the man will
also not make this woman rest. The man will always try to make
love to her. So you see, he has taken the woman as a servant,
making the woman to go to all this, I mean, suffering the whole
day! And this is going on every day! She`s more or less a slave
to the man. So this is how they used the woman in earlier times.
The bible says...
The bible says: "No, god created the woman not as a slave or a
servant to the man but as a partner." So as a partner - one has
to take a part and the other one has to take another part, together
they become one thing! But now everything has started to change.
Now the woman also has the right to say: "This is supposed to
be like that!" The man is no more the boss to say: "No, I said
this, and because of that it should be like that." That´s maybe
what I call civilisation. Because now, most of our man here they
judge like that. You see both man and woman together in the kitchen
helping each other to prepare the food. And all this... More men
are helping now the woman as it should be.
But it´s still very hard. The reason is that it´s a custom or
a tradition that started from the very beginning. Some elder woman
still raise their daughters or children who are going to marry
the old way. They still have that mentality in the back of their
mind. That´s how they were trained before, so they try to add
that old thing again. Some woman also feel correct today, that`s
our tradition. But some woman also say: "No!" This are those who
are educated. They stand on their own feet and say: "No, it is
no more like that!" If you see some woman like that, either they
are not educated, or the influence is from their parents.