Ghana's Culture - Rooted in Ancient Akan Society

Volunteer in Ghana and experience Akan CultureAkan, a "pure" heritage, is one of the most ancient cultures in Africa. These African people live predominately in the countries of Ghana and Ivory Coast with many descendants now living in Europe and the USA.

Before the 13th century, the Akan peoples (ancestors of the Asante Tribe) migrated from other parts of Africa into the forest belt of present-day Ghana. Family bands established small states in the hilly country in the neighborhood of modern Kumasi.

This early migration was likely related to the opening of trade routes established to move gold throughout the region. It was not until the end of the 17th century, however, that the grand Asante Kingdom emerged in the central forest region of Ghana, when several small states united under the Chief of Kumasi.

Much of what is known about ancient Akan customs was passed on in oral histories, which have survived for several hundred years. Many of the objects that have been recovered through archaeological excavations are still produced in modified form among contemporary Akan peoples. In 1957, after a period of internal self-government, the Gold Coast became the first African colony to achieve independence under the charismatic leadership of Kwame Nkrumah.

The Asante are part of the Akan tribes, who speak various dialects of Twi. The language is very rich in proverbs, the use of which is taken to be a sign of wisdom. Euphemisms are very common, especially about events connected with death. Rather than say "the King has died", one would say "a mighty tree has fallen". Proverbs are often used to express ideas indirectly as can be seen from the following: "Obi mfa ne nsa benkum nkyere n'agya amanfo" - this is literally: "Do not point to the ruins of your father's house with your left hand," which means: "Do not scorn culture inherited from your forefathers."

Today, the village is a social as well as an economic unit. Music is a large part of everyday life. There are three main types of music: ethnic or traditional music, normally played during festivals and at funerals; "highlife" music, which is a blend of traditional and "imported" music; and choral music, which is performed in concert halls, churches, schools and colleges.

All community members, young and old, participate in the major ceremonies, the most frequent of which are funeral celebrations which typically last several days. Attendance at funerals is normally expected from everyone in the village and expenditure on funerals is a substantial part of the household budget. The Ancestors (Nananom), senior family members that are no longer living, remain active, supporting the well-being of the family by advising, guiding and protecting their spiritual charges, customs and traditions. For more information about Ghanaian people, customs and language, see these resources:

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1 comment:

nanua said...

this site as no information on what i am needed i need to know the traditions of Ghana..... i do not mean to sound rude but it does not... sorry but your no help....