Examining widowhood inheritance: A comparative analysis among Talensi and Nabdam, Ghana


  • Maxwell Tengolzor Ba - an Millar Institute for Transdisciplinary and Development Studies (MITDS) / Millar Open University (MOU), Ghana
  • Samuel Kwabla Segbefia Department of Business and Social Sciences Education, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
  • Mary Dogbe Social Studies Depearment,St Teresa’s College of Education, Ghana


Inheritance, Widowhood, Upper East Region, Widowhood ceremonies, Christianity


This study sought to examine widowhood in Talensi and Nabdam and inheritance practises in the Upper East. In both areas, widows want their grandkids to inherit their estates so they can marry anyone they want. Both ethnic groups imprison widows, limiting their mobility and freedom. The number of days for both varies per district. Unlike in Nabdam, widowhood traditions continue eight days in Talensi. Unlike the Talensi widow, the Nabdam widow carries the calabash for numerous reasons. They put a calabash on her and sacrifice a bird. A floured calabash is placed on her. They’re also prepared to bury her late husband. The Talensi widow would sit on the sheep with her eldest son and daughter as the older butchered it. The Nabdams would strangle a goat and use only a patch of the skin to cover the corpse (kumo-suuoluko). The study also found inter-ethnic inequalities. Notably, widowhood rites and inheritance are harmful to widows’ health and violate their rights. Respondents criticised formal education, Christianity, government institutions, and NGOs of attempting to label their culture and lifestyle as “harmful to women.” These norms were imposed by elder women in both ethnic groups. The study suggests that conventional authorities focus on women and widows as victims who need economic growth.


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How to Cite

Examining widowhood inheritance: A comparative analysis among Talensi and Nabdam, Ghana. (2022). Journal of Migration, Culture and Society, 2(1). https://royalliteglobal.com/jmcs/article/view/738