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The Bonkoungou Family

Portrait photo of the Bonkoungou Famiy
© Harouna Marané

Mr. Bonkoungou Saiba, comes from a family of the “Moaga” ethnic group, and founded a family with Justine (Oussalibou) of the “Gourounsi” ethnic group. In this Family, cultural intermingling finds its full meaning insofar as the couple manages to take this diversity into account in their daily life.

Family Concept
The family can be considered a universal phenomenon, which has always existed among humans, long before its modern and religious consecration. It is an interdependent group of people belonging to different ethnic groups, religions, cultures or nationalities. We stick together in a chain of reciprocal unions. It is also the united whole formed by parents and their children, (Serge Vallon). The Bonkoungou family is composed of different ethnic groups, and lives in Ouagadougou in the Rayongo neighbourhood. This couple defines the Family as “a father, a mother and children, whether biological or adopted”.

Synthetic Family Tree
Mr. Bonkoungou Saiba, Consultant (39 years old) comes from a family of the “Moaga” ethnic group, and founded a family with Mrs. Bonkoungou born Oussalibou Justine, Journalist (29 years old), of the “Gourounsi” ethnic group. Their union by the sacred bond of marriage in 2013 has made it possible to constitute a family of four (4) persons living together. In this Family, cultural intermingling finds its full meaning insofar as the couple manages to take this diversity into account in their daily life.

Family, Religion and Education
Religion has increasingly become the foundation of the family home in many families in Burkina Faso. It is the pillar on which social life education connects to better inculcate the norms and rules laid down by society.  In this family, the children’s education is based on the teachings and word of God.  The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

Furthermore, given Mr. Bonkougou Saiba’s economic activity, which prevents him from always being with his family, he has been able to create extra-family relationships with his sisters, colleagues and friends who are, according to him, a vital support in his everyday life. As such, he considers these people as members of his family, given the reciprocity of the numerous services they provide to each other. However, Mrs. Bonkougou is more available and spends more time with the children, and even revising lessons with them at home.
 
Family, Marriage, Rituals and Mobility
As in all cultures, marriage is a contract that allows two people, or even two families, to join together to form a single one. However, this pact must be made by respecting a certain number of values and criteria such as age, in some cultures.  According to the Bonkougou couple, the age required in their culture for marriage is that of majority (18 years in Burkina Faso).

In addition, the Bonkoungou Family recognises that despite the difference in their cultures, it is possible for a man to marry as many women as he wishes. So whoever is talking about life as a couple is talking about sexual relations, and probably about birth or birth planning. The Bonkoungou couple believes that family planning is a way for them to regulate their births. That is to say, to be able to have as many children as they wish in order to be able to provide them with a decent life.
Regarding the issue of the elderly dwelling place, their general conclusion is that there are no retirement homes in Africa. Thus, the elderly live with their families. Mr. Bonkougou also added that, “There are no retirement homes here. In our conception of parents, they grabbed our hands at some point in our lives to guide and feed us when they were active. Therefore, it is our duty to hold their hands in our turn when they are no longer active”.

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