Marriage in Tiv

Topics: Marriage, Burial, Sociology Pages: 86 (31302 words) Published: March 22, 2012


Being a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The inspiration for this research work came from the members of the Tiv Area Traditional Council – all starting point for my fascination with the subject of Tiv marriage and Brial Customs. My immense gratitude goes to all of them for their contributions in one way or another. I am particularly thankful to Professor David Iornem, my Academic adviser for his moral encouragement, unrelenting support and in providing reading materials and being the consultant who assisted me to organize the First National Workshop on the Tiv Marriage and Burial Customs. Many people deserve my special thanks for the contributions especially for their comments and suggestions which have proven invaluable in making this work what it

is. Such people include my Academic Counsellor, Dr. Zacharys Anger Gundu and Dr. Peter T. Iyortsuun. I am highly indebted to Mr. Paul T. Orshi who has been a good research assistant to me, right from the beginning and to the end of this research work. I owe you a big thank you. I wish to extend my gratitude to my wives for their encouragement, patience and sacrifice. Their support was essential especially HRH Helen O.M. Torkula whose steady encouragement and great source of inspiration added to make this work a reality. v Finally, my children have sacrificed to make the work possible, by doing without my attention from time to time. I thank them too with hopes that they will some day learn from reading as for themselves .


ABSTRACT This study has investigated the traditional marriage and burial practices of the Tiv people who reside in Benue State in Central Nigeria. It has also studied the changes which influenced the institutions of marriage and burial as practiced by the Tiv people and identified those changes and the impact they have on the traditional customs of marriage and burial in Tivland. The study has also put forward some recommendations for improvement. The information collected for this study was obtained mainly from informants who were selected from different parts of Tivland. The data were collected by means of oral interviews by research assistants. The data collected by oral interviews was supplemented by documented evidence from papers presented at the First National Workshop on Tiv Marriage and Burial Customs organized for the purpose. During the workshop, prominent Tiv elders, traditional rulers, renowned academicians and others interested in Tiv culture were consulted and valuable information obtained from them. In the course of this study, related literature on Tiv culture, economy and politics were intensively reviewed and relevant information and ideas obtained for the research. From the data obtained, it was established that: 1. The Tiv had their own culture with regards to customs of marriage and burial. Their traditional practices were strictly preserved and passed on from generation to generation.


The traditional custom of Yamshe in Tiv marriage institution was abolished by the British colonial administration with active support of the vii Christian Church and the Tiv Youth. With the abolition of the Yamshe system, changes began to creep into the marriage practices of the Tiv people. In traditional society, the Tiv really mourned for the dead. There was complete absence of merry-making during the time a member of a family died. Very little was spent on the burial arrangements. There were inherent residual desirable values in the traditional practices of marriages and burials which we need to reposition.




The changes which have affected marriage and burial customs of the Tiv people have imposed serious economic and social implications on the Tiv Culture.


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