Cultural Conceptualisation of Posthumous Paternity in Ilupeju-Ekiti, Southwest Nigeria


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Archaeology & Anthropology


The repugnancy principle of the colonial government effectively voided customary practices relating to posthumous procreation in Nigeria. However, a rare practice of levirate system, in which non-kin relation inherits widow and literally assists the dead to raise more children has endured in Ilupeju-Ekiti, southwest, Nigeria. What form of cultural ideology supports this practice in its contemporary form? How does the practice impact on the social position of an offspring? What is his/her legal status? In which of his/her dual patrilineage does he/she have rights to property, land, and titles? How is the integration into the family enhanced? How does the practice bear on the (re)configuration of selves and relations? And what is its overall implication for the Yoruba kinship system? Through an ethnographic approach, this study will explore the above questions and others bordering on cultural understanding of posthumous paternity in a contemporary Nigerian society.