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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Divorce of Zanjiili's Daughter: Poly-Ethnic Litigation in Northern Ghana
Author:Drucker-Brown, SusanISNI
Periodical:Droit et cultures
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:Mamprusi polity
customary law
Cultural Roles
Ethnic and Race Relations
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Abstract:After Ghana's independence (1957), the system of courts which comprised the former Mamprusi polity continued to have a variety of religious, political and judicial functions. This article discusses a dispute settled by the Mamprusi king and his court in 1965, and illustrates some significant features of the judicial system as it functioned then, and continues to operate in the early 1990s. The case described here shows that litigation dealt with by the Mamprusi king's court may affect neighbouring poeples with whom Mamprusi have dealings and that such cases are decided with reference to non-Mamprusi custom. The dramatis personae of the case discussed illustrate the ethnic diversity of the population residing in the Mamprusi region, while the procedure indicates how the customary law of non-Mamprusi people is used by a Mamprusi court. The content of the case, as well as the procedure, highlights problems faced by women in many of the northern ethnic groups where patrilineal principals determine the 'ownership' of children. The marriage which led to the dispute is unusual, however, in that the woman seeking divorce had been married into a different ethnic group (Tallensi) from here own (Kusase). Significant to the case is the fact that the family into which the woman was married, and which brought a suit against her father, lived a considerable distance from her natal home. Bibliogr.