Widowhood rite: An infringement on the rights of widows in Bongo.

  • Doris Fiasorgbor Presbyterian university college, Ghana
Keywords: Widow, widowhood rites, rights, infringement, Bongo


Some traditional societies tend to believe that when a man dies, it is because his wife is an unlucky woman whose ill-luck has caused her husband’s death (source). In some communities in Ghana, it is this belief that underlines the treatment that a woman goes through when her husband dies. In these communities, there is a strong belief that such a woman is likely to bury a second and a third husband that is if she can find one. Women’s complex roles in the socio-economic sector contribute greatly to the growth of the economy. Widowhood rites are not only practiced in Ghana but everywhere in Africa. Studies have also shown that the tenets of the rites differ from one area to another. However, in all cases, it is the widow who bears the brunt and brutalities associated with the practices. The main aim of this study, therefore, is to assess the effects of widowhood in Bongo and how it infringes on the rights of women/widows. The study was conducted in the Bongo District in the Upper East Region. The District is a multi-ethnic one with two (2) major ethnic groups dominating, that is, the Bosis who are from Bongo central and some part of the District while the Frafras are at the outskirts of Bongo. The study used a mixed method where both qualitative and quantitative techniques were employed. A sample of ninety-five (95) widows/widowers and non-widows/widower in the Bongo community formed the population of the study. Snowball and simple random sampling techniques were employed to select the widows/widowers and the non-widows/ Data were collected from mid-October to early November 2018. Generally, most of the various rites identified by this study widows unquestionably constitute an infringement on the human rights and freedom of the widows. As a result, these recommendations are made that the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) should educate women on their rights and Government should effectively implement existing gender equality policies.

Author Biography

Doris Fiasorgbor, Presbyterian university college, Ghana
Community Development Dept. Senior lecturer