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    Pulse Blogger: Inheritance in African society

    Inheritance in Africa.

    Leaving inheritance for children is a duty, but not mandatory. It is a kind of leverage for a child who must have been trained to value hard work.

    Inheritance in the hands of a lazy child is as good as putting a goat in a yam barn.


    When a man is born, he goes through the different phases of life, and at a certain point in time, he gets married. At that point, he does not only think for two, but a whole and much more ahead: his wife, his children, himself and what to keep aside, in case he is seen no more.

    Their children begin to come; the couple work for their children’s wellbeing, but on the other hand, some go the extra mile to keep away some money, with the mind to save something up for their kids, having in mind that one day, they may die.

    As a result, at their death, certain things are passed from these parents, over to their children, documented or undocumented in the name of will and testament.

    What is willed to these children is called inheritance. Inheritance could be described as what children, relatives or society (in the form of charity), receive at the death of their parents or someone related to them. At the mention of inheritance, so many minds would certainly go to landed property, cars, shares, farmlands, money, company, and so many more. These are all correct.

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    On the other hand, it is important to note that inheritance must not be something solid; it could be a good name, peace, debt, war and so much more. Moreover, a man who has no dent to his name typically leaves a good name for his children. In other words, his children would be quickly accepted anywhere they go. But a man who was notorious in a negative way would certainly have his kids not welcomed, wherever they go.

    In most cases, some people are in the trouble of debt or war transferred on them by their late parents. Whatever is left behind counts a lot in a person’s life.

    Moreover, inheritance is something that has been in existence in Africa for a very long time. Those days, a man would be alive and share his property for his house hold, in most cases, when he is about to go to war, when he suspects his death is around the corner, when he becomes old or he just takes a decision to share his possession. Children inherited barns, huts, animals, farmlands, cash and food crops, and wives, from their fathers or parents. To show that inheritance is a very important thing, it goes back as far as the history we know and don’t know. 


    Although so many people are of the opinion that inheritance is of no use, or it is not a mandatory arrangement. One must learn that in Africa, it is strongly believed that one works for nobody, but for the benefit of his wife and children, or family. Keeping or leaving inheritance is a major move which ought to be upheld for so many reasons.

    Presently, people die unannounced. When one digs deep, one usually is faced with so many disappointments, one of which is that the deceased children are still tender or are not yet fully independent. It is in such cases that inheritance forms a backbone to the family, till they are able to stand on their feet. On the other hand, a man would want his kids to attain certain height in society or standard of education, when there is something like inheritance, it would certainly lend a helping hand. 

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    As a result of the situation of the country, most youths have gotten themselves involved in all manner of societal vices, in order to make ends meet. But if they were fortunate to have parents who left something for them, they would certainly fall back on something towards their struggle for survival. On the same note, there are youths that are hardworking, such could encourage them the more to work harder. In other cases, the deceased might have left a company behind; an inheritance would be put into good use. His children would go ahead to expand the business as much as they can.

    Leaving inheritance runs like a cycle. A man, who leaves something for his children, definitely is teaching them to leave much more for their own children. This helps in family and nation building. In the sense that one hear of companies which have been in existence for decades, it is as a result of passing on inheritance, from one generation to the other.

    On the other hand, most people have kicked against leaving inheritance for children. In fact, some have gone to the extent of willing all their possessions or their most prized possessions to charity, or made it known that they were not ready to leave behind anything for their children. This is absolutely wrong, because it only creates bitterness in the heart of children who knew how rich their parents were; it could even lead to conflict.

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    Truth be told, there are certain children who haven’t lived up to expectations, even when an inheritance is left for them. Most of them waste it on party and women, reason being that they never worked for it, and don’t know the value of money or hard work. It could be compared to a young man who isn’t up to age, but his parents go ahead to marry a wife for him, give them food and shelter.

    Certainly, he wouldn’t know how to manage his wife, the food and shelter. The thing about mismanagement of inheritance could be attributed to the ‘parent factor.’ Most parents have failed to teach their children the value of hard work. Some parents don’t hide the fact that they are rich and influential, in fact, they boast about it before their children. Some parents expose their kids so much that in future, some rich kids would rather party than go to work.


    Inheritance is a duty all parents owe their children. But in a situation where this is impossible, all parents must endevour to teach their children, that there is dignity in labour. Before one decides to leave behind inheritance for their children, they must be sure that they have equipped those children in the line of good or proper training. Also, there are children who were well brought up, but due to peer influence, and selfish interest, they have decided to live life till it runs over.

    Written by Oluoma Udemezue.

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