Matriarchal societies existed in Africa. The salient feature is that the bloodline of descent travels through the female lineage. All property is kept in common on the female side of the family. The father of his own children does not have sole authority over his own children. The mother's brother has final control over important matters concerning the children. All of this made for a much stronger family unit. In the event that the father was killed or divorced the mother; the family continued on pretty much as it always had. Whereas, in a patriarchical society, the family is devestated during divorce or death of the father.