The traditional African families are extended families. They were usually polygamous in nature but due to a lot of influencing factors they are now changing to monogamous families. The families stem from both marital and blood relations. In the old days, a man could have as many wives as he would deem fit and enough for him. He would live together with his wives in the same compound, but each wife would have her own hut. A man would also sometimes live in the same area or compound as his parents and other siblings. The women are represented by their father or their brothers, while after marriage they are recognized by their husbands. They had no rights if inheritance in the case where any of the parent dies.
Roles were clearly defined in that each individual had his or her own responsibilities in the home.
The grandparents, being the most respected, were consulted when the people needed advice or guidance on various issues; they defined norms and articulating systems of passing down cultural ideology, customs and rituals, and resolving conflicts. When the necessity arouse the grand parents were consulted for their advice or help.
When a boy married he brought his wife to his home, they lived together and bore children. When a girl got married she had to leave home and join her husband in her home. Payment of dowry was mandatory and often a huge ceremony was celebrated by the members of the society, relatives and friends of the marrying couple. The boys could not marry until they had the permission of their elders. The opinions of the family members are also taken into consideration in the event of any marriage, if anyone objects to the marriage, it cannot take place. Today, thought, due to a lot of western influence the traditional African family roles, organizations and functions are rapidly changing.
Husband - Wife Relationship.
The man was the head of the home and engaged in the organization and the management of the homestead.