Pawnship and Domestic Slavery in Chieftaincy Disputes (Nzema Area, SW Ghana)

Autore: Mariano Pavanello
In: Africa. N.S. I/1,2019
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Stool and land disputes are important issues in the life of Ghanaian chieftaincies, and the written records of the arbitrations carried out by the customary institutions offer rich material about Traditional Areas and the local ruling families and their internal structure of ‘royal’ and ‘plebeian’ matrilines. Litigation between families competing for a stool have been going on for generations, and the records show that the correct knowledge of the stool’s history is a crucial mark of legitimacy. Through the analysis of a case concerning the stool of Bonyere, Western Nzema Traditional Area (Jomoro District, Western Region), the author aims to show how the internal structure of families may be revealed during litigation through the narration of historical tradition, and what this source can reveal about broader social and political dynamics.

keywords: akan, nzema, chieftaincy, pawnship, slavery