Traditionally, children in African societies were raised communally, with extended family members playing a vital role in child rearing and care. The adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ epitomised this communitarian philosophy. 1 Further, the very defi nition of childhood was affected, as transitions to adulthood under customary systems depended variously on life events such as marriage or forming an independent homestead, and the end of childhood was not linked to chronological age. As regards parental authority, children were subjected to absolute minority status until they attained the requisite adult status, which could occur well into adult life only.