The institution of family is at the heart of Ghanaian culture. The family is recognized as the bedrock of all social life, sustained by a sequence of kinship networks and marriages. The family is not only the foundation of Ghanaian social organizations, but it is also the primary or sole caretaker for the young and the critical source of social security in old age (both emotionally and financially). The family is the fundamental unit of development and distribution and the primary social control agent.
The Akans, also known as Ashanti, Kwahu, Akwapim, Wassa, Akyem, Ahanta, and Nzema, are a West African ethnic group that live in Ghana’s forest region. The Akwamu, Aowin, Brong, Sefwi, Denkyira, and Dwira are the others.
There are two primary family structures in Ghana. The patrilineal and matrilineal systems are two types of family structures. Property and inheritance rights are passed down through the mother’s line in the matrilineal system, while property and inheritance rights are passed down through the father’s line in the patrilineal system. These two-family structures form the foundation of Ghanaian social organizations, and they are passed down through the generations through carefully designed socialization processes and reward systems.
The Akans have a matrilineal family structure. Married women in matrilineal communities prefer to live with their mothers because conjugal bonds are less significant than matrilineal membership. The children and their mothers are often regarded as “outsiders” by the husband’s matrilineage, as is the husband by the woman’s matriclan. Matrilineal family relations can affect the stability of the marital unit through three different mechanisms. First, married couples seldom pool their wealth to benefit the marital family unit in the matrilineal family system.
The rational choice theory of Klein and White can be credited with a second explanation (2002). According to the rational choice theory, any transactions that lead to the exchange of resources between family members in the form of bride-wealth payment before the consummation of the union could influence the wife’s behavior within the marriage. Finally, family members in matrilineal societies are given substantial social support, privileges, and independence that are not available in non-matrilineal societies.
It is evident from the preceding discussion that matrilineal kin groups have poorer consummation relations, which undermines the conjugal unit’s unity. The degree of autonomy that matrilineal women derive from nonconjugal family members (extended kin) will influence their marital decisions, among other things.
Nonetheless, many fathers’ levels of obligation were influenced by the matrilineal family structure because they believed that their children belonged to their mother’s heritage and that their success was due to their mother’s lineage.
Because of the same family relations, most fathers changed their obligation from their nuclear family to caring for their nephews and nieces. Since the wife and children are seen as outsiders, this mentality has had a significant impact on many children. This form of the family structure affected marital harmony and inter-ethnic group marriage.
The untold story of Ghana’s Akans matrilineal family structure is family unity and close conjugal bonds.