Background

Senegal is a particularly appropriate location in which to explore the dynamics of loss and care following the death of a family member; it provides a complex social milieu with a high rate of urbanisation compared to other African countries (48% of the population live in urban areas (ANSD, 2013). Family relations and inheritance practices in Senegal are underpinned by the ‘triple heritage’ of African, Islamic and colonial influences. Economic crisis, urbanisation, and increasing competition for land, combined with the large, often multigenerational, nature of households, means that increasing pressures are placed on the growing numbers of families living in urban areas. Dr. Evans’ exploratory research in Senegal suggests inheritance disputes were more likely in urban areas, especially among co-wives in polygamous marriages when the husband had significant assets.

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