KINSHIP/CLAN ORGANIZATION IN AFRICA

1.1.1. THE FAMILY

 

Family means a combination of wife husband and children. Family was the basic and the simplest means of production in the early agricultural societies.

 

1.1.2. THE CLAN ORGANIZATION

 

Clan means a combination of several related families with a common ancestor. clan organization combined with both the matrilineal and patrilineal societies. In the patrineal societies clan heritage was based on the father, in the matrilineal clan heritage was based on the mother examples of this society were Mweras, Kambas and Kikuyus whom others are patrineals. The main economic activity in the clan organization was agriculture. clan is controlled or ruled by the clan’s head. More examples of matrilineal  societies; The Ngindo, Zaramo, Makua and Matumbi.

1.1.3. DUTIES OR FUNCTIONS OF THE CLAN HEAD

 

  1. To distribute land to the communities or clan
  2. To preserve traditions and customs of the
  3. To preserve land belonging to the
  4. To settle disputes and
  5. To find wives for boys and husbands for

 

1.1.4. Types of clan organizations in agricultural societies

There are two types of clan organizations in agricultural societies;

  1. Matrilineal
  2. Partrilineal

 

1.1.4.1. Matrilineal clan organization

This is a society where by the husband moved to the wife’s family and children of the new family belonged to the mother’s(wife’s clan). As a result clan heritage was based on the mother’s clan. Uncles have to make all the important decisions concerning the children and the nephews of their sisters. Matrilineal age in Africa was practiced among the Makonde, Makua, Mwera and the Yao of Tanzania and the Kamba of Kenya.

ALSO READ:  Historical Sites as Source of Historical Information

 

1.1.4.2. Patrilineal clan organization societies.

 

This is the system of organization in which the clan heritage was based on the father’s line and all children bared the name of the father. The husband had to pay substantial bride price in different forms such as cattle, goats, etc in Oder to get the wife, the bride price could be stored as wealth, in this system all the children of the new family belonged to the father’s clan.

 

By the 18th and 19th century clan system changed to chief train ship after several came to be controlled under one leader.

Melkisedeck Leon Shine

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