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Introduction to the Fulani Family
It is important know that all African cultures are characterized by their fluidity. Sociologically, acculturation, assimilation and adaptation are always taken place among Fulani. In addition to the changes brought about by human survival needs, and changing times, the local African governments are constantly effecting changes among the people. These changes are placing on the Fulani forces that significantly affect their lifestyle.

Traditional occupations such as: farming, fishing, artisans, jewelers, weavers, pottery makers all introduce variations in the basic family living. It is important first to understand the social group which each family belongs to, in order to truly be able to appreciate the family structure.


Therefore, generalization about any aspects of Fulani culture is not easily made. However, traditionally, the foundation for the basic unit of social and economic life is laid with the legal union of man and wife in marriage. Through their offspring and through possible subsequent marriages, the household will continue its expansion and may form a compound family consisting of the household head, his several wives and their respective children.

The Fulani family is patriarchal. The husband is Jom Galle, head of the family, while the wife is Jom Suudu, head of the household. The husband/father is the one to make all the important decisions and represent the family. The decisions of the father can be discussed, but the father is always to be respected and never to be proven wrong or embarrassed in front of his wives or children. The father/husband is considered the provider of food, clothes, shelter, and medicine.

Women exert a certain amount of power in the day to day running of the house especially during the frequent absences of the father. It is frequent to have husband and wife jointly assume full responsibility for the household in such matters as herd and land that is sufficient for their sustenance. Often, it is the wives who get involved in various money making adventures to make ends meet.

This section will introduce the Household, the Daily Life, the Social Life, and the Family relations. The Elders, Women and Youth and all aspects of Village Life will be described.

Additionally, cultural notes highlight important aspects which are not readily recognized and appreciated by non-Africans.