Les orphelins et leur famille en Afrique : une réflexion sur les logiques d'acteurs autour du soutien aux enfants orphelins chez les Mossi à Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)

Authors: Danhoundo, Georges
Advisor: Marcoux, Richard
Abstract: Based on the filiation rules within the Mossi, a few works have highlighted that the concept of being orphan does not exist in that society. Those works support that the oldest child or brothers of the biological father do care for the orphans after the father’s death. That idea is ingrained in the belief that the Mossi represent a collective group where individual’s wills are dissolved within the extended family expectations. In our perspective, that reference to the Mossi as a collective group seems to be simplistic. Based on direct observation and 20 interviews laid nearby households, this research aims at understanding the logics of actors about the family care to the orphans.Contrary to the biases, this research concludes that: 1) The father’s death reveals prior conflicts between the deceased and his brother, and proves to lead to conflicts that opposes the widow and her family to the family of the spouse. Those conflicts laid on the access to the heritages. Indeed, according to the lineage logic, the women appears as foreigner in their husband family. They are not allowed to inherit from their spouse, contrary to the civil law of Burkina Faso. These conflicts make detrimental the father’s family support to orphans. As a consequence, we noted that a few orphans have been transferred to their mother’s family or to non-related family on purpose of education; 2) Most of the children who have lost their mother are maintained in their father’s household. We noted that men have a sort of ego that leads them to think of orphan fosterage as a social irresponsibility. We may highlight that the step-mothers play an important role at supporting the orphans. In doing so, according to men, they appear as an illustration of the importance of the polygamy; 3) The strategy of transferring the children in order to assure their education is not always rewarded. It happens that the receiving household ask some compensations from the fostered children such as domestic chores. What is notable is that, generally, those children arrange so that their works may not restrain their education; 4) The filiation relationship does not lead to social recognition of alliance. This research brings up the necessity to enlarge the concept of the extended family in the case of orphan’s fosterage in the Mossi’s society, that is, the necessity of better defining the fact of belonging to extended family. Beyond the filiation rules, the modes of the orphan fosterage and the social and economic context do play an important role.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2014
Open Access Date: 20 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/25154
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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