Key Roles and Awareɛ Process Explained
Who is Agya?
Agya is the father on both sides of the groom and the bride.
Agya’s role in the groom’s side of the family.
He is responsible for approaching the woman’s family to seek her hand in marriage on behalf of his son.
He receives the bride’s hand in marriage for his son.
Agya’s role on the bride’s side of the family
He is responsible for receiving the bride price.
He is responsible for giving out his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Who is Ɔkyeame- Linguist?
Ɔkyeame is the spokesperson for each family. He or she is also the intermediary between the two families.
What is the role of Ɔkyeame?
Handles the communication between the groom and bride’s families.
Responsible for welcoming the groom’s family.
Easing tensions between the two parties.
Who can take the role of Ɔkyeame?
A relative of the groom or bride.
A family friend.
A reputable member of the community.
Qualities of Ɔkyeame
Excellent communication skills.
Cultural knowledge and maturity.
Good sense of humour.
What is the Pre-marriage Investigation?
Both families of the prospective groom and bride conduct an investigation into each other’s history in terms of issues that include but are not limited to the following;
Reason: To be sure that the groom and bride are not related by blood.
The presence of disease, for example (Epilepsy, Leprosy, Madness).
Reason: It is believed that such illnesses can be hereditary and therefore must be checked to ensure that both families are free from them.
Reason: To be sure that the groom and bride have a good moral upbringing and exhibit good behaviour.
Why is the Pre-marriage Investigation Important?
The Akans deem this pre-marriage investigation very important because it helps families to be sure that a person is worth marrying. This is succinctly captured in the famous Akan saying: “wo rekɔ awareɛ a, bisa.” What this means is that always ask questions before entering into marriage.
AKANFOƆ AWAREƐ PROCESS
Step 1 (Pre-marriage Practice)
Kɔkɔɔkɔ- Knocking Ceremony
Source: BeingAfrican (2022)
What is Kɔkɔɔkɔ?
Kɔkɔɔkɔ (knocking) is the first formal meeting between the families of the groom and bride. Knocking as an act of courtesy is also regarded in the Akan marriage culture. Since the groom and his family are entering the bride’s family for the first time, the tradition demand that they knock first. A fee and two bottles of Schnapps are required for entering the bride’s home and for the announcement of the marriage intention.
Why is the Kɔkɔɔkɔ fee Important?
The prospective in-laws require this fee to formally welcome the groom’s party and to open the discussion on the marriage.
Please note: Kɔkɔɔkɔ fee is paid on the first formal meeting of the bride’s family and not on the actual day of marriage.
STEP 2- Actual Marriage Ceremony
Tiri nsa- Bride Price
What is Tiri nsa (Bride price)?
Tiri nsa is a token that the groom pays to the bride’s family to ask for her hand in marriage. It is the most important among the requirements for awareɛ. The bride price is what seals the marriage and pronounces the two as husband and wife. A fee and a bottle of Schnapp are charged and are shared with members of the bride’s family as proof of their daughter’s marriage to the groom.
Any relative who receives a share of the tiri nsa is expected to offer their support to the marriage and its related issues.
Why is tiri nsa important in the marriage process?
It is the most important requirement in the marriage process.
It is a valued aspect of the Akan tradition.
Failure to meet this requirement, one would not be given the bride.
Please note: The mandatory tiri nsa fee must be paid in full. Negotiations for a reduction won’t be tolerated on the day of the ceremony.
What Does It Entail?
One full piece of cloth
A pair of ahenema (traditional slippers).
Why Is Danta Required in The Marriage Process?
Danta is a symbol of respect and appreciation the groom presents to the bride’s father for having and nurturing the bride.
What is Involved?
A half piece of cloth
A pair of ladies’ slippers
Why Is Afayideɛ Required?
To show appreciation to the bride’s mother for giving birth to the bride and for covering her with her cloth.
Akonta Sekan- Brother In-law’s fee
What is it?
A fee the groom pays solely to the brother (s) of the bride in appreciation for their love and brotherly protection for their sister who would be his wife.
What Is the Importance of Akonta Sekan?
To show appreciation for the brotherly care for the bride.
To equip the brother-in-law financially to take care of his nephews and nieces when they return home.
The Akans inherit matrilineally and so it is believed that the children of the bride would return to their uncle (s) home where they belong.
Please note: If the bride does not have a brother, her male cousin (s) can receive the fee.
What Does It Entail?
The bag contains everything the bride needs for her upkeep as a married woman.
What Is Dwetire Sika– Bride’s Dowry
The groom pays the bride a fee as a present for their marriage.
Why Is Dwetire Sika Important to The Bride?
It can be used to open a small-scale business to support the family.
It can be used to procure important home items (cooking utensils, food items, and personal stuff).
Please note: The Dwetire Sika is between the groom and the bride. Therefore, its detail is not disclosed in public.
KEY QUESTIONS ASKED DURING THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY
The groom is asked whether or not he comes to seek the bride’s hand in marriage out of his own free will.
The bride is asked whether or not she accepts to marry the groom.
What Is the Importance of These Questions?
To ensure that the decision to marry is personal rather than imposed.
To ensure that there is a mutual agreement between the groom and bride.
For the gathering to bear witness to the decision to be joined in marriage.
Afutufoɔ – Advisors
What Role Do They Play in The Marriage Process?
They are responsible for giving free advice and support to the married couple.
They help the couple to resolve disputes in times of conflict.
Who Can Be an Advisor?
Relative of the groom.
Relative of the bride.
Member of a religious body.
Member of the traditional council.
A respectable member of the community.
Qualities To Look Out for In an Advisor
Experience in marriage.
Good sense of judgment.
Bride’s family gathers and the groom fails to show up.
Groom fails to present the bride price.
Bride answers ‘no’ to the payment of her bride price.
BeingAfrican (2022) Ghana: Part 1: Ghanaian-Akan Traditional Marriage Process. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER5MjCn7IDI (Accessed 20 May 2023)
BeingAfrican (2022) Ghana: Part 2: Ghanaian-Akan Traditional Marriage Process. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGB7Sl_Ljk4 (Accessed 20 May 2023)
Umseeka Tv (2023) Secrets of Akan Traditional Marriage in Ghana Ep.1. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMGt8_z8dYY (Accessed 5 May 2023)