Family occupies a pre-eminent place in the live of Yoruba people.
Family members always trace their descent to a common ancestor,
inheritance is patrilineal. Culturally, male children are favored,
because of the biological and later, social role female children will
play, they do not receive inheritance from their birth-homes.In any
Yoruba home (monogamy/polygamy), family is made up of father, wife or
wives as the case may be in a polygamous home and the children; more
over, the extended family members from both the father and the mother
sides.The traditional roles of the father then and now have not
changed, rather, have increased. In times past, fathers were to:
provide shelter, food, pre-occupied with the general well-being of
the entire family members, he led other family members in every
religious and ceremonies that had direct bearings on his family.
Fathers or adult males, even as of today hold and keep collective
families’ property such as (farmlands, act as custodian of families’
traditional and religious birthright titles). In modern times, fathers
perform these functions, even do more. They send their kids to school
from elementary to high school; those that are wealthy enough, send
their children to college and university.Besides, fathers render other
socially/legally placed responsibilities never known or not common in
the ancient times.Fathers represent and take decisions in behalf of
families on community matters.In the ancient times, wives/mothers were
always at home to take care of the children, supporting husbands in
whatever ways possible. They served as advisers, counselors to
husbands, represented husbands in absence, served as moral guardians
to their children. The older wives in homes trained the new ones,  in
some cases, served as custodians of family values and traditions. Even
as of today with western education, industrialization, Christianity
and Islam which to a reasonable extent have changed and re-defined
women’s status in today’s world, still, they still perform these
traditional functions as home-makers, in conjunction with their
secular jobs or new roles.Being an agnatic and communal-oriented
society, family members live side-by-side, or near ancestral homes for
the continuity of the extended family. The most senior/oldest male in
the entire compound becomes family head (M?gaji or Olori-?bi), the
position goes to another most senior, when the holder dies or becomes
incapacitated because of infirmity, due to old age and
illness.Traditional Yoruba homes before the arrival of Whites were
rectangular-shaped-multi-single-rooms, with corridors and central
compound and open space at the back, where children played at night.
The affluent Yoruba may have several of these homes to provide shelter
needs for: wives, several children, family dependants, and
slaves.Those who had domestic animals like: goats, sheep, cattle, pigs
(fowl of different kinds), had low-built-pen-house.Family head lived
in the same house, but in a separate room.  In a polygamous home, each
wife had personal room, which she shared with her under-aged; adult
males shared same room, while females lived in the same room. Each
wife took turn to sleep with their husband,  even in one-man-one wife
home, couples lived under this arrangement. However, the introduction
of Christianity which places so much emphasis on monogamy, the western
education and culture, cum improved standard of living-the outcome
of-industrialization, these factors combined have changed the family
outlook and dynamics among Yoruba people.Children are very prominent
in all Yoruba families. A union that is blessed with the fruit of womb
is appreciated, honored and valued, while a non-child-relationship is
seen differently. In most cases, especially in the past, women always
carried the blame for this problem, to reverse the condition,
consultation with Ifa priest was not uncommon. The priest would tell
the couple what should be done and when the situation was reversed
sacrifice would be offered. However, if the woman in the union was
permanently childless, a new wife would be provided to perpetuate the
man’s lineage.Although, most Yoruba family of today is monogamous,
still the place of children is very eminent as it was in the past.
While orthodox medicine has significantly improved the standard of
living of Yoruba people with positive impacts on sexual reproduction
and life expectancy, yet, a union without children is not cherished.
If the situation persists, other route may be sought, not through
child adoption which is culturally unpopular, but, through another
woman (second wife), should the wife be the problem.But if the man is
the problem, the union may be dis-solved.Since Yoruba is an agnatic
society, having a male child is a matter of necessity. There is always
a tension in homes without male children or in polygamous homes
between male-child-mothers and only-female-child-mothers. The tension,
mostly cold-war often results in an open confrontation with serious




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