WHY GHANAIANS ARE SO SLOW TO BURRY THEIR DEAD.

In our series of letters from African journalists, writer Linda Sarkodie considers why bodies are not buried for months, sometimes years, in Ghana.

This past week there was another one of those typically Ghanaian funeral stories in the news.

The body of a chief who had died six years ago was still in the morgue as the family bickered over who should be designated as the “chief mourner”.

I was, as is usual with me, outraged.

But the story did not attract much attention because we regularly leave dead bodies in the morgue for long periods to sort out the disputes that erupt after every death in this country.

Our elaborate, expensive funerals and over-the-top dramatically carved caskets are well documented. 

In spite of the keen interest I have taken in trying to work out how funerals came to have such a hold on our society, there are some things that I still cannot understand after all these years.

I have to keep on trying to find explanations. 

Take the role of the “family” in funerals for example.

According to our custom and tradition, which has been upheld by the law courts, once someone dies, the body belongs to the family.

You would think you know what and who constitute family, but once there is a death, the definition of family changes completely.

A spouse and children suddenly do not qualify as family once there is a death.

I have to keep on trying to find explanations. 

Take the role of the “family” in funerals for example.

According to our custom and tradition, which has been upheld by the law courts, once someone dies, the body belongs to the family.

You would think you know what and who constitute family, but once there is a death, the definition of family changes completely.

A spouse and children suddenly do not qualify as family once there is a death.

It is only the family, referring to the extended family into which you are born, that decides on who the chief mourner is and all the other titles that come with a death. 

This “family” and this chief mourner might not have seen or spoken for the past 30 years with the dearly departed, but they are deemed to know more about the dead person than the spouse and the children. 

There then follows the interminable meetings which are presided over by this “family”, where the word of the spouse and children can be ignored.

It then takes weeks to draw up an obituary notice and it is an intricate business getting the list of the mourners in the right order.

So the next time you see an obituary notice in a Ghanaian newspaper, you better be appreciative of the amount of work that went into drawing it up to ensure no offence has been caused and family feuds have not been started or old ones rekindled. 

The choice of the chief mourner is critical because he is not only in charge of the funeral, he, and it is always a he, never a she, has the ultimate word on who succeeds the deceased. 

All this while the body has to be kept in the fridge as there will be disputes about when and where to bury the dead person. 

Not surprising therefore that we often end up in court with injunctions preventing anybody from moving the dead bodies.

Sometimes the delay has nothing to do with disputes.

Customized coffins are popular in Ghana.

We take seriously the idea of giving the dead a befitting burial.

We refurbish the house in which the dearly departed lived and died or sometimes a new house has to be built to be able to stage a spectacular funeral.

That takes time.

If you want certain important personalities to be at the funeral, then a suitable date that would accommodate various diaries will have to be negotiated.

And that takes time. 

This weekend, I was at the funeral of a famous industrialist and politician, Nana Akenten Appiah-Menka.

His funeral brochure is a 226-page glossy production of photographs and tributes covering his life time of 84 years.

That takes time to compile.

Elizabeth Ohene:

“My mother died at the age of 90 and we buried her after three weeks and this was and is still regarded in our village as sacrilege”

As I have been trying to find answers to the Ghanaian funeral phenomenon this past week, my thoughts went to a programme I presented on at Christain Advantage Preparatory School.

I now think I should have had a segment in that programme about some of the unintended consequences of the invention of refrigeration, which had otherwise been such a blessing to humanity. 

Before mortuaries became popular in this country, we buried our dead within two to three days and then set a date for the final funeral rites. 

Now the regular period in which a dead body is kept in the mortuary before being buried ranges from three to six months.

Ten months to a year is not unheard of. 

When you try to bury someone within a period that is regarded as “too early”, you are certain to invoke outrage. 

I know this from sad experience. 

My grandmother died at the age of 90 and we buried her after three weeks and this was and is still regarded in our village as sacrilege and lack of respect to our beloved mother.

Stay tune..

It’s still Heritage Ghana

Our culture…our pride

YENKASSA

Akan or Twi proverbs are more than wise sayings.

They have a wide range of uses and show, principally, that the user is wise and well-educated in the customs of the Akan people. The ability to use language enriched by proverbs is considered sage and is the hallmark of great public speaking.

I present 15 important Akan proverbs. I have adjudged them important for being popular, versatile, and particularly demonstrative of Akan philosophy and thought. As this is just my opinion, it is completely fair for others to compile a different list.

Also, the meanings and remarks are from my own learning and experience so the scope of some of the discussions is limited to a few use cases.

Each proverb appears under a heading. Unfortunately, it appears better to make the anglicised spellings of the proverbs rather than the correct Twi spellings the headings. This is because most people are unwilling or unable to type the letters er and or with their keyboards when searching for Akan proverbs on the web.

Below are the fifty sayings with their literal meanings and some remarks in English. More Twi proverbs may be found in another list of proverbs.

1. Okoto nwo anoma

Twi spelling: Ɔkɔtɔ nwo anoma

Literally: A crab does not give birth to a bird.

This used to acknowledge the resemblance between a child and his parent. The resemblance could be in physical features or character. It is similar to the English saying “the apple does not fall far from the tree.”

2. Woforo dua pa a na yepia wo

Literally: It is when you climb a good tree that we push you.

We the society and the elders in it can only support a good cause, not a bad one. Hence, if you want our support, you should do good things with which all can publicly identify and support.

3. Ti koro nko agyina

Literally: One head (or person) does not hold council.

One person discussing an issue with himself cannot be said to have held a meeting. We need a group of people to hold a meeting. This proverb is similar to the English one that says “two heads are better than one.”

The Adinkra symbol Kuronti ne Akwamu admonishes the involvement of the various arms of the state in decision-making because “Ti koro nko agyina,” to wit, “One person does not constitute a council.”

4. Abofra bo nnwa na ommo akyekyedee

Literally: A child breaks a snail, not a tortoise.

A child breaks the shell of a snail and not that of a tortoise. The shell of a snail is easier to break than that of a tortoise. Thus, children should do things that pertain to children and not things that pertain to adults.

In Akan culture, it is a taboo for a child to challenge adults in any endeavour. Hence, children should take care when engaging with adults lest their actions be misunderstood.

5. Obanyansofoo yebu no be, yennka no asem

Literally: The wise is spoken to in proverbs, not plain language.

There seems to be great reluctance to being direct in Akan culture, especially in speech. It is not clear why this is so but in many instances where the uninitiated may not see the need, it is the preferred mode of address.

This proverb is also used to indicate that one is expected to learn from his circumstances and the experiences of others.

It is also used to mean that we don’t need to belabour a point for the wise to understand. A few words of exhortation should be fine. In that sense, it is similar to the English proverb, “A word to the wise is enough.”

6. Hu m’ani so ma me nti na atwe mmienu nam

The anglicised spelling of this proverb is the same as the correct Twi spelling.

Literally: It is because of “blow the dust off my eyes” that two antelopes walk together.

This proverbs is also sometimes rendered “Hwɛ me so mma minni bi nti na atwe mmienu nam,” which literally means “It is because of ‘watch over me while I eat’ that two antelopes walk together.”

It is good to do things in a group. It is good to have a partner. The benefit of having a supporter with you is enough to see you through. This idea of collaboration rather than competition runs through a number of wise sayings in Twi and it is deeply engraved in the culture, creating a strong disincentive for independence and isolation.

7. Aboa bi beka wo a, ne ofiri wo ntoma mu

Literally: If an animal will bite you, it will be from your cloth.

It is likely that the people who will harm you are those close to you. In fact, it is those who are closest to you who can hurt you the most because they know how best to do it.

This proverb can be used to counsel someone who has been hurt by a close associate, even a relative. In that case, the import of the proverb will be that the one who has been hurt should let things go since, after all, it is those who are close to him who could hurt him.

However, it could also be used to admonish one to be wary of his close associates because they wre the very ones who are likely to hurt him, rather than some supposed enemies.

8. Anoma anntu a, obua da

The anglicised spelling of this proverb is the same as the correct Twi spelling.

Literally: If a bird does not fly, it goes to bed hungry.

You must take action if you want to make a living. It could also be understood as “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” for the bird takes a risk by flying, yet, it needs to do that before it can have any hope of getting food to eat.

Jerry John Rawlings, a former president of Ghana, once created humour by quoting this proverb as “Anoma anntu a, ogyina ho,” meaning “If a bird does not fly, it remains standing.”

9. Obi nnim obrempon ahyease

Literally: Nobody knows the beginning of a great man.

The beginnings of greatness are unpredictable. Hence, we should not despise small beginnings or condemn people when they are starting and seem to be struggling.

10. Agya bi wu a, agya bi te ase

The anglicised spelling of this proverb is the same as the correct Twi spelling.

Literally: When one father dies, another father lives.

The raising of children is a communal activity in Akan societies. With such an arrangement, a child could have many fathers, where a father is an older male who takes some responsibility for raising the child. In such a situation, if one’s biological father dies or is absent, there are many others to individually or collectively play his role.

The proverb is also used when a substitute is found for something valuable or someone important.

The musician Nana Ampadu has a song in which he sings “Agya bi wu a agya bi te ase yɛde daadaa nwisiaa,” to wit, “When one father dies, another lives: that is used to deceive orphans.” It is a more cynical interpretation of this proverb which suggests that though there might be a general theoretical expectation for others to step in to father orphans, nobody actually gets around to doing it, leaving the orphans to fend for themselves. The orphan, therefore, sad and unfortunate as his situation might be, should not despair but strive to make it in spite of the odds.

11. Animguase mfata Okanni ba

Literally: Disgrace does not befit the child of an Akan.

It could also be interpreted as “Disgrace does not befit an Akan.” Further, it could also be interpreted as “Disgrace does not befit man,” where “Okanni ba” is just a substitute for mankind.

Honour is a very important virtue in Akan culture and all must be done to preserve it. Anything that could bring animguase (shame, disgrace) rather than animuonyam (glory, honour) should be avoided like the plague. In fact, there is a proverb, Feree ne animguasee dee fanyinam owuo, that says that it is better to die than to be ashamed and disgraced.

12. Obi nkyere akwadaa Nyame

Literally: Nobody teaches a child God.

God is everywhere and we can know him through his creation which even children can see. Hence, even children don’t need anybody to point out that there is a creator (obooadee) who is the Supreme Being.

This is a pervasive Akan world view that is so strongly held that it is the rare Akan who does not believe in God. Saying that even children do not need anybody to tell them that God exists suggests that it is foolish for an adult to claim He doesn’t.

13. Agoro beso a, efiri anopa

Twi spelling: Agorɔ bɛsɔ a, efiri anɔpa

Literally: If the festival (or carnival or party) will be entertaining, it starts from the morning.

Just as we can tell how nice a party will be from its very beginning, we can tell how successful a venture will be from its beginning.

14. Kwaterekwa se obema wo ntoma a tie ne din

Literally: If a naked man promises you a cloth, listen to his name.

A man cannot give what he does not have. If the naked man had any clothes, he would wear them first before giving away his extras.

15. Obi akonnodee ne odompo nsono

Twi spelling: Obi akɔnnɔdeɛ ne odompo nsono

Literally: Someone’s delicacy is the intestines of an odompo.

Presumably, the odompo’s guts are widely considered undesirable, yet, that is what somebody enjoys eating. So we can’t condemn someone for his preference. This is similar to the English proverb “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” and perhaps “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.”

Linda Sarkodie is an Akan, an Ashanti. She was trained in Akan tradition and customs and she is under training to become a Queen Mother someday to come. This is because of her lineage and fluency in the Akan language and customary devices.

She is the author of works of literature on Akan culture and short stories for Primary pupils. This blog page is a testament to Linda Sarkodie’s resolve to fulfill her life goal of leaving footprints for the younger generation to follow.

Keep reading to keep yourself updated on everything about culture.

Heritage Ghana

Our culture, our pride…

Tourist Attractions in Ghana

Why Ghana?

If you are looking for a cultural adventure in Africa or a safe English-speaking country in West Africa, it is difficult to argue for a different destination than Ghana. While we do not have a central wonder like the Pyramids in Egypt, or the density of wildlife as in eastern Africa, we do have many varied regions and cultures. This gives you the ability to have many different experiences within only one country – saving you on flights and visa applications. There are many reasons to visit Ghana!

Friendly People

Ghana is certainly the most welcoming country in the region, and according to Forbes magazine, was ranked the 11th friendliest country on earth. (The survey, conducted by Forbes in 2010, is the most recent Forbes survey to include Ghana.) In 2017, Jumia Travel, an online travel service, also gave Ghana recognition for being among the most friendly nations on earth. There is no other country in Africa that is so welcoming and hospitable. Her people are truly the #1 attraction of Ghana.

Let’s get started with the most attractive tourist sites in Ghana

1. Boti Falls

Boti Falls is located just 17km North-east of Koforidua, the eastern regional capital. For those interested in how soon it takes to get there, it is just over 30 minutes drive from Koforidua and over 90 minutes from Accra depending on your means of transportation.
River Pawnpawn which forms the falls takes it source from Ahenkwa-Amalakpo before falling over an igneous rock outcrop at the Boti Langmase that is how the falls get its name. The fall was hidden in the forest until it was discovered by a white catholic priest. It is recounted by locals that the priest used the base of the falls as an entertainment ground for his friends and himself.

The land on which the falls is located is not without any controversy though. The Akyems of Tafo who were the original owners of the forest/land wanted it back. But it was realized later that the Tafohene had sold that piece of land to one Tetteh Nguo, a Krobo. It took a court settlement to bring the dispute to a closure.
If the dispute brought Boti Falls into the public domain then a visit of the president of Ghana at the time (Dr. Kwame Nkrumah) propelled it into its status as the most attractive and talked about falls in the eastern region of Ghana. The president visited the falls in 1961 and was amazed at the splendor and grandeur of the falls. He therefore tasked the regional commissioner to construct a rest house at the falls.

Features of Boti Falls
There are actually two falls at Boti: The upper falls and the lower falls. These are the main features of the Boti Falls (what has widely been talked about is the lower falls). The locals describe it as male and female (this description is for the lower falls only). When the volume of water is high especially during the rainy season, the two meet in what the local describe as ‘a mating ceremony’. This ceremony is ‘graced’ by the rainbow that is formed by the splashing water.

To get to this beautiful ‘mating’ ceremony, visitors will have to descend over 70 steps. The steps offer a timely exercise for people who have not had an exercise in a long time and the plunge pool formed at the base of the falls should provide a refreshing cooling down effect for those who want to take a bath.

Two attractions that are also available for visitors to see but not directly related to the falls are the umbrella rock and the three –head- palm tree.
The locals have managed to develop these sites to enhance visitor experience, which means that you are not limited only the falls but other notable attractions as well. The umbrella rock is just 30 minutes walk from the falls. The three head palm tree is unique and can be described as the ‘Siemens’ of the plant life. For those who want a guided tour of the forest reserve around the falls, tour guides are available to provide guided tours. The woods also provide a sacred place for those who want to set aside some time to reflect.
Something that is becoming a Ghanaian past-time is picnicking and under the new management of the falls, summer huts have been provided for picnic lovers. Therefore those intending to spend their holidays and anniversaries at the falls should not have any fears. If you happen to be at the falls and failed to carry any food on you, there are local food vendors at the falls. This could be a perfect opportunity for foreign tourists to taste and try some local dishes and fruits as well.

2. Kakum National Park

Kakum Conservation Area is made up of mostly rain-forest comprising the Kakum National Park and Assin Attandanso Resource Reserve in the Central Region of Ghana. Kakum National Park is situated 33km north of Cape Coast, the Central Regional Capital, and 170km west of Accra.

Kakum covers an area of 350 square kilometres, including the Assin Attandanso Resource Reserve. The vegetation includes tall hardwood trees that virtually dissolve into the sky at 65m in height. The Kakum National Park has several trails linking the most interesting features of the forest where guides will tell you a lot about the interesting trees and plants, their cultural and ethnic uses, economic values and local stories and proverbs about them. The nature trails are a must for you. The wildlife endemic in Kakum includes porcupines, squirrels, olive colobus monkey, black and white colobus, the red river hog and tree hyrax. Butterflies and birds abound in Kakum, while night tours may bring visitor into encounters with the shy forest elephant.

Canopy Walkway: The key attraction of Kakum, is the tree canopy walkway, that enables you to walk over the high tropical forest on a swinging bridge measuring almost 500m long among the tallest trees. The canopy walkway receives over 120,000 visitors a year and is one of the only six in the world.
The drainage of Kakum is very rich and several rivers and cascades, including the Kakum River that supplies water to Cape Coast municipality and surrounding areas.

You can visit Kakum all year round, but especially from March to August. Kakum may be reached by public transport from Pedu junction in Cape Coast.  Wear light summer clothes and strong running shoes or boots.

Kakum has an interesting visitor interpretation centre, a T-shirt printing facility that puts your pictures on your T-shirt, and a gift shop managed by the Aid-To-Artisans Ghana, an NGO that supports rural craft producers.

Kakum is conveniently close to Cape Coast and Elmina, where oldest European buildings south of the Sahara may be found: the over five hundred years’ oldest castles and forts that dot Ghana’s coast. A few kilometres before reaching Kakum is the Hans Cottage Botel where visitor may observe and feed crocodiles in a large pound over which the restaurant and bar are built on stilts. The Cape Coast and Elmina municipalities also have some of Ghana’s most colourful festivals, the Fetu celebrated in May Cape Coast and the Bakatue of Elmina.

3. Aburi Botanical Gardens

Aburi is located on the Akwapim-Togo Range of Ghana. It’s just three quarters of an hour drive from Accra, the capital of Ghana. The cool mountainous weather of Aburi makes it a destination for people who love the cool side of life. Located in this cool tranquil environment is the Aburi Botanical Gardens. The garden covers a total land area of about one hundred and sixty (160) acres. However it is only three (3) acres that have been developed and the remaining serving as a botanical reserve.

The House of Commons in London in the year 1842 recommended that a garden should be established on the mountains of Aburi. But tried as they could, this first attempt did not come to any fruition. Another attempt in 1865 to establish the garden was also not successful either because the powers that be at the time did not see the need for such expenditure to create a garden far away from home or sheer lack of interest all together. But in March 1890, upon a third attempt, the idea was accepted and this led to the establishment of a garden at Aburi. Why Aburi was chosen over other places such as Amedzofe which also offers the same cooler conditions and had been occupied by the Germans is something that needs exploring. Could they have chosen Aburi over the other mountainous regions of the Gold Coast because it was already home to the British sanatorium? Plausibly! This is because before 1890 the Gold Coast government had constructed a sanatorium at the site in 1875 for government officials who were recuperating. This place later became a something of a holiday retreat for the British colonial masters.

Prior to 1890, a year earlier, under the supervision of a German Basel Missionary and during the governorship of His Excellency, Sir W. Brandford-Griffith, K.G.M.G. some hectares of land were cleared for the start of the gardens. In 1890, Mr. William Crowther (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) was appointed the first curator of the garden. His grand ideas to transform the parcel of land around the sanatorium into a famous garden resulted in the cultivation of 6.8 hectares of land by 1902. His application of botany an area that he had specialized in as student could clearly be seen with the demarcation of the land into three distinct plots for the cultivation of three groups of plants: economic plants, botanical specimen and decorative plants.

The early toils of the forbearers have not gone to waste since today at Aburi stands a beautiful botanical garden that is among the 1800 of such kinds in the world with the primary purpose of preserving and conserving what is left of the earth’s rare plants species. It can be said without any shred of doubt that Aburi Botanic Gardens is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Ghana.

Features of Aburi Botanical Gardens

To reduce the features of this garden to just seeing of plants will be a great undervaluation of the essence of the garden. This garden offers edifying, aesthetic and spiritual experience for all groups of people. And this becomes very important if one consider the fact that human beings have been genetically coded to remain closer to nature and draw from it healing, peace and replenishment their energies.

On a visit to the garden, the first thing that graces you is the beautifully lined royal palm trees (roystonea regia) on both sides of the road leading to the car park. These palm trees cannot be said to be part of the original plants that were cultivated but look very old. You do not have to worry about authenticity because there are some original species of plant that can still be found there; the silk cotton tree (ceiba pentrandra) is an example. This tree is said to be the only survivor of the original forest that once covered the Aburi Hills.

In fact the silk cotton tree is acclaimed to be one of the biggest trees in West Africa (how they came to that conclusion is not know). But the sheer girth of about 5-7 metres and a height of about 48 metres indeed make it one of the biggest in the sub region. It is not surprising to see tour guides asking people to form circles around the tree to demonstrate how big the tree is. To add to the growing attributes of the cotton tree, many people in the sub region believe it is a sacred tree and therefore revere it.

One significant thing with all flower bearing plants is the fragrance that they leave behind and Aburi Botanic Gardens is not to be left out. The sweet scents and aroma from some of the carefully selected both exotic and local plant species is something to behold.

For lovers of nature the following special species of ornamental plant collection are available in the Gardens: Araucaria spp., Bambusa nana, Brownea grandiceps, Calophyllum mophyllum, Cedrela spp., Delonix regia, Dillenia indica, Elaeocarpus searratus, Enterolobium cyclocarpum, Ficus leprieuri, Garcinia xanthochymus, Murraya exotica, Naulea latifolia.

You need not be gobsmacked with these scientific names. The knowledgeable tour guides on duty will take you through all the names and sometimes provide local names as well. On my visit to the place I was surprised to find the nut meg tree in the garden (I cannot remember the scientific name now though!). One plant species that visitors to the garden should not miss is the mimosa pudica. It is a very sensitive plant that literally recoils into its shell by the slightest contact.

On arriving at the bush house, one will find the bamboo citadel. These are very beautiful highland bamboos which have formed a nice canopy.

Bird and butterfly lovers are not left out of the experience. The abundant life of different species of birds and butterflies makes it an ideal place for you. The birds come so close that one nature lover described the whole experience in the following words: “they come so near that sometimes you feel they want to perch on your head”.

Aburi Garden also features other interesting things that should draw visitors to the place. First amongst the lot is the serene atmosphere that the garden provides for picnic lovers. On any of the national holidays, it is not surprising to find lots of people travelling from far and new just to have their picnics there.

Other features that should attract you are the Bush House, the Rock Garden, the Pergola or Lovers’ lane, the retired helicopter, the ficus tree and the horticulture school.

The VVIP garden is another place to make a stop. This place has trees that have been planted by dignitaries who have visited the garden and to leave a lasting memorial, they planted trees to “enshrine” their visit. Among them are Queen Elizabeth II who visited in 1961, Gen I.K. Acheampong in 1973, Prince Charles in 1977, and Gen Olisegun Obassanjo in 1979.

A recent addition to enhance the stay of visitors and especially bikers to the place is the bike hiring services operated by a native of Aburi. The operators of the service will provide you with a guide map of the area. With the map and your bike, the only limitation to your exploration of Aburi will be your level of imagination and the desire to explore.

4. Bonwire Kente Weaving Village

Bonwire is located 18km on the Kumasi-Mampong Road, Bonwire is popular for Kente weaving.
Kente is a colourful Ghanaian traditional fabric which is worn mostly on important occasions and celebrations.

Kente was developed around 17th Century A.D by the people of Asanti the Kingdom; it can be traced to the long tradition of weaving in African dating back to circa 3000 BC. The origin of Kente is grounded in both legends and history. For the legend, a man named Ota Karaban and friend, Kwaku from a town called Bonwire (a leading town for the production of Kente in Ghana) had their weaving lessons from a spider that was weaving its web. They tried to do same by weaving a beautiful raffia fabric. They later told their story to the Nana (Chief) Bobie, who intend passed on the important news to the paramount chief of the Ashantis- the Asantehene. The Asantehene did not hesitate adopting the fabric for all Asantis as a national cloth for special occasions like funerals, festivals, naming ceremonies and marriage ceremonies. Afterwards the production was improved but the name was retained which subsequently became “Kente”. It is also held that Kente was design originally from Bonwire. Bonwire is located 18 km off the Kumasi – Mampong road. It is a settlement with hundreds of Kente weavers.

Historically, the origin of kente weaving could be traced to the traditions of the ancient West African kingdoms between 300 A.D and 1600 A.D. Some historians are of the view that Kente is a development of various weaving traditions that existed around the 17th century. Nevertheless, while the Kente Cloth may have its origin from around the 11th century of West African weaving traditions, the art of Kente weaving developed earlier in Africa. In some parts of Africa, archeological excavations have revealed weaving instruments like spindles whores and loom, weights in early Moroe Empire.

Features Of Kente

Kente, now Ghana’s national cloth is one indigenous handicraft that has won world wide recognition. There are many types of Kente each with its own symbolism and name, which tells the history, culture and social practice of the weavers of the cloth. As declared a national cloth on the attainment of independence on 6th march 1957, Kente is used for different purposes and at different functions. It is important to note that Kente is used not only for its beauty but also for its representational imperative. The weaver derive names and meaning from moral values, oral literature, philosophical concepts, human behavior, individual achievements, animal life, proverbs and social code of conduct.

The aesthetic beauty of a kente cloth is affected by the colour symbolism. Colours are chosen for both their symbolic effect and visual effect. A weaver’s choice of a colour may also be influenced by his tradition or a matter of preference. Gender plays a key role in the selection of colours as women prefer pink, purple, light yellow and light blue etc while males cherish black, dark blue, dark yellow, orange, red and dark green.

There are about 50 types of Kente patterns with the most reputable and expensive of all the patterns in the Asanti culture being “Adwene asa” which is translated as my skills are exhausted. It is indeed the last word in the Kente cloths, one in which the strips join all the known designs. It was created only for the kings of Asanti and only one master craftsman can weave it. Sometimes weavers compose new designs of honour. Example is one called “Fathia Fata Nkrumah” meaning Nkrumah merit Fathia was created in 1960 for Ghana’s first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and his Egyptian wife madam Fathia.

A variety of hand woven Kente fabrics are obtained in many of their local shops at Bonwire. Kente is woven on ancient hand looms. They operate the loom with their hands and feet. The needle, which tread the wrap are placed between the toes. A shuttle passing from the left hand to the right hand in deft movement inserts the weft. Simultaneous with the action comes the Kente loom music, a well known noisy Kro-hin-kro … Kro-hin-kro. This rhythm made by the reverberating shuttle as they entwine the coloured yarns smoothly over one another to produce the dazzling double – weave strips of cloth, eight feet long by four inches wide. The strips are sewn together to make the required sizes.

5. Lake Volta, Ghana

Lake Volta lies along the Greenwich Meridian, and just six degrees of latitude north of the Equator. The lake’s northernmost point is close to the town of Yapei, and its southernmost extreme is at the Akosombo Dam, 520 kilometers (320 mi) downstream from Yapei. Akosombo Dam holds back both the White Volta River and the Black Volta River, which formerly converged, where the middle of the reservoir now lies, to form the single Volta River. The present Volta River flows from the outlets of the dam’s powerhouse and spillways to the Atlantic Ocean in southmost Ghana.

The main islands within the lake are Dodi, Dwarf and Kporve. Digya National Park lies on part of the lake’s west shore.
The lake is formed by the Akosombo Dam, which was originally conceived by the geologist Albert Ernest Kitson in 1915, but whose construction only began in 1961 with completion in 1965. Because of the formation of Lake Volta, about 78,000 people were relocated to new towns and villages, along with 200,000 animals belonging to them. About 120 buildings were destroyed, not including small residences, as over 3,000 square miles (7,800 km2) of territory was flooded.

Visiting Ghana is an experience you will never forget. Whether it is the delicious cuisine, the warm people, or the fascinating natural beauty, Ghana is a country that seeps into your soul and will make you want to visit over and over again. Being an equatorial country, Ghana does not experience too much of a variation in terms of temperature, but that does not mean you don’t have to find the best time to visit Ghana. You’ve got to make sure you have the best vacation after all!

Best Time To Visit Ghana - Ghana

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It’s Heritage Ghana

Our culture, our pride…

MUSIC, DANCE AND CEREMONY IN GHANA

In Ghana, music and dance are part of everyday life and will be heard and seen everywhere.

Music of Ghana

There are four main types of music heard in Ghana today: Contemporary music, Traditional music, Gospel music and Imported music.

♫  Contemporary music   ♫  

Contemporary music from Ghana is mostly comprised of ‘Highlife’ and ‘Hiplife’ musical styles as well as the newer and wildly popular Azonto and Azonto Plus, Alkayeeda inclusive. Highlife music was first recorded in the 1930’s and reached its popular peak in the 50’s through 70’s. It takes a traditional percussive beat and fuses it with various European, American and Caribbean flavors. A.B.Crentsil, Nana Achempong, Rex Omar and Daddy Lumba are some of the well known performers of highlife.

Hiplife is a newer style of music that combines the Highlife beat with influences from American Hip-Hop and Rap. It is by far the most popular style of music among the younger people and can be heard blasting from many establishments. Popular artists include Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy, Samini, Tinny and the recognized father of Hiplife, Reggie Rockstone.

♫   Traditional music   ♫ 

While the style may differ between north and south, traditional music comprising of singing, clapping, drumming and dance are ritualized events occurring at funerals, ceremonies, festivals, weddings and other public and private gatherings. Drums and gong-gong are more prevalent in the south, while string instruments and the calabash are more used in the north.

At festivals and celebrations the music and dance will be a social ritual that tells a story or re-enacts an event of historical significance to the tribe. See our list of Festivals in Ghana for a large, but incomplete, list of festivals and celebrations held in Ghana during the year.

♫   Gospel music   ♫ 

Ghana is a very religious country, and the music reflects this. You should feel welcome to visit any church service anywhere in the country. You would be warmly welcomed.

♫   Imported styles   ♫ 

American Pop, Hip-Hop, R&B, and surprisingly Country are some of the most encountered contemporary music imports heard in Ghana in the larger towns and cities. Some contemporary French music will be heard closer to the Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso borders.

Reggae is by far the most popular non-American style and is heard everywhere. There are enormous Rasta parties at various locations, including Wednesday nights at La Beach, and Saturday nights in Kokrobite.

Styles of nearby countries can sometimes be heard, especially the closer to a border you are located. Mapouka from Cote d’Ivoire, Afrobeat from Nigeria, Griot and Mbalax from Mali – the list of styles goes on and on.

Ghana Dance

Inseparable from traditional music, the dance and ceremony that accompanies it is used to greet gods and spirits, to re-enact or tell a story or legend, or simply as a social recreation. These ceremonial dances may occur at funerals, celebrations, important historical dates and festivals.

There are simply too many rituals and dances to describe, but here are some of the major dances that you may encounter while in Ghana.


♪ Adzogbo ♪

Originally a war dance, now adapted as a social and recreational dance. Women begin the dance with Kadodo, a dance with elegant movement of the arms and taps and hops from the leading foot. Men follow in a series of energetic Atsia, performances which show their strength, dexterity and agility. This is a dance among the Ewe people in the Volta Region.

♪ Kple ♪

A religious dance from Greater Accra, this dance is performed by priestesses at shrines during the Homowo festival in late August & early September. This dance is used to communicate with the gods and to bring blessings.

♪ Bamaya ♪

This is a dance of the Dagbamba tribe from northern Ghana. This is an outrageous display of men dressed as women in a dignified, graceful, and thoroughly campy celebration. It marks the end of a great drought that occurred in the 19th century and was ended when the men all dressed as women to ask the gods for help because prayers by women supposedly get a quicker response.

♪    Adowa   ♪  

This is sometimes referred to as the ‘Antelope dance’ because this dance mimics the jumping of an antelope. It is a recreational dance performed gracefully and athletically by men and women in Akan areas.

♪ Agbadza ♪

This is a traditional dance of the Ewe tribe of the Volta Region.

Performed by men and women accompanied by drums, rattles and gong-gong, there are two main movements: A slow step where the arms move back and forth while extended downwards, and a fast step where the arms flap at the side with elbows extended.

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MY WAY GHANAIAN DISHES

Eny3 MY WAY A, Ka s3 NO WAY…

That picture speaks “Ghanaian Tasty Food” more than a spoken lecture would.

Those reading this in the newspapers should put on some 3D glasses and take one look at that picture in colour to instantly activate your salivary glands. As Ghanaians, we love our food. I am first to confess that I do crazy maths to decide whether to purchase a $0.99 app from the AppStore, but with food, that math is very short and very basic.

What if our love and preference for Ghanaian tasty dishes was tapped into towards Ghanaian Food Products. Good news is, MADE IN GHANA is getting trendy. It’s too vivid to be uncoordinated. Maybe it’s euphoria from the immense ongoing hype of the YEAR OF RETURN. Maybe it’s a targeted effort to actualise Government’s agric policies. Last week Monday, our Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, marketed Ghana Rice during his speech at the launch of the 35th National Farmers Day Celebration in Ho. He said,

“…for this Christmas, as you go out to buy your rice, please make sure you are buying rice which is grown either in Aveyime or Bolgatanga or Tono or somewhere in Ghana. Let’s buy and eat made in Ghana rice!”

Whatever started this, I’m loving it. Because it seems like farmers in Ghana can only make serious profits if they look at foreign markets, when the very huge market they seek is right here.

Let’s be practical. Most of us don’t buy Ghanaian rice. The powers that be need to understand that enforcing our quality control and safety standards is imperative to gaining public confidence in ‘certified’ Ghanaian Food Products: the key word here is ‘certified’.

5 Traditional Ghanaian Dishes You Need To Try

There’s a lot to learn from a group of people by the way they put together their meals. The ingredients, cooking methods and energy they apply into feeding themselves extend beyond nourishment, with their culinary skills reflecting different beliefs, traditions and habits. As such, experiencing and experimenting with local traditional foods provides an education of the culture, too.

Traditional Ghanaian food is typified by the distribution of food crops. With the prominence of tropical produce like corn, beans, millet, plantains and cassava, most ethnic groups creatively employ these foodstuffs to make mouth-watering dishes for their nourishment. Below are some dishes to introduce you to the scope of local Ghanaian food.

1.Jollof rice

Originally from Ghana, Jollof is a pot dish of rice prepared with tomato sauce and served with meat or fish that stirs up plenty of interesting debate online. The rice soaks up the juicy flavours and turns orange when cooking, and is a national favourite that can be found in most restaurants or dished out by street vendors at affordable prices.

2.Waakye

Waakye is another food that exhibits Ghanaians’ creative use of rice. The recipe is a medley of beans and rice and was originally a Northern dish, but it can now be found almost everywhere on the streets of Accra. Eating Waakye will open the door to a range of Ghanaian tastes and flavours as the main dish is served with other sides such as fried plantain, garri (grated cassava), spaghetti and avocado.

3.Banku and tilapia

When you see fish being grilled on the streets of Accra it is most likely to be tilapia, a delicacy among Ghanaians, who spice then grill the succulent freshwater fish. It complements banku, a Southern mix of fermented corn and cassava dough, and very hot pepper, diced tomatoes and onions. Banku is one of the main dishes of the people who live by the Ghanaian coast.Banku and Tilapia © sshreeves / Flickr

4.Fufu and goat light soup

In the Eastern and Ashanti regions of Ghana, one meal guaranteed to work its wonder is fufu and goat light soup, the proud dish of the Akan. Fufu is a staple food across West Africa but in Ghana, it is made by pounding a mixture of boiled cassava and plantains into a soft sticky paste to go along with aromatic and spicy tomato soup. Fufu can also be found in Northern Ghana, although it is made with yam in certain regions.

5.Kelewele

No list of traditional Ghanaian foods would be complete without this savoury side dish. Kelewele is an instant favourite among anyone who tries it, even those who aren’t big fans of peppery food. Usually sold as a snack or side dish all over Accra, it is made by frying soft plantains that have been soaked in a medley of peppers, ginger and garlic. The aroma is crisp and strong, while the pleasant plantain adds some sweetness to the sour.

Eny3 MY WAY A, ka s3 NO WAY…

HERITAGE GHANA

Our culture, our pride…

Welcome to a land of rich cultural heritage.

Welcome to a home far from home.Along the Golf of Guinea lies the beautiful West African Country of Ghana.

Its culture and traditions are rich and vibrant. The people of Ghana are warm and friendly. They are polite, open and trusting-even with strangers. In Ghanaian society, it is traditional to take life at a relaxed pace and view time as a series of event rather than a matter of hours or minutes.

As a matter of fact, we would be discussing the way of life of some of the various regions in Ghana on this blog page.

We shall be talking about

* Top attractions

* Practices

* Touring

*Festivals

We can never throw away our culture and take what does not belong to us and as we all know Christianity came to meet culture.

As my grandfather use to say, Sankofa w)h) yi y3nkyine. Join Linda Sarkodie, a final year student at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology as I provide an in-depth knowledge to you about Culture.

Heritage Ghana

Our culture, our pride…

WHAT IS HERITAGE GHANA?


Heritage Ghana talks about an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage. 

As part of human activity Cultural Heritage produces tangible representations of the value systems, beliefs, traditions and lifestyles. As an essential part of culture as a whole, Cultural Heritage, contains these visible and tangible traces form antiquity to the recent past. 

Cultural Heritage is a wide concept. I prefer to concentrate on the similarities between the various heritage sectors, instead of on their differences. Cultural Heritage types

Cultural Heritage can be distinguished in: 

  • Built Environment (Buildings, Townscapes, Archaeological remains)
  • Natural Environment (Rural landscapes, Coasts and shorelines, Agricultural heritage)
  • Artefacts (Books & Documents, Objects, Pictures)

CONTACT HERITAGE GHANA

Address
Post Office Box,F.NT 144, Kumasi

Fax
123-456-3467


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