Culture of Ghana

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Ghana is a country of 28.21 million people, comprising many native groups, such as:[1]

English is the official language, but the indigenous Twi of the Ashantis, the Fante language, Frafra, Dangme, Ga, Dagbani, Mampruli, Gonja and Ewe also have official status and are taught in schools as indigenous (local) languages in the respective areas where they are predominant.



The Akan people live in Akanland, and are one of the few matrilineal societies in West Africa. The matrilineal system of the Akan continues to be economically and politically important. Each lineage controlled the land farmed by its members, functioned as a religious unit in the veneration of its ancestors, supervised marriages, and settled internal disputes among its members.

Akan kings, once renowned for their splendor and wealth, retained dignitary status after colonization.[2] Celebration of the Akan kings lives on in the tradition of the Golden Stool. The Akan are noted for their expertise in several forms of craftwork, particularly their weaving, wood carving, ceramics, fertility dolls, metallurgy and kente cloth). Traditional kente cloth is woven outdoors, exclusively by men, in complex patterns of bright, narrow strips. The manufacturing of many Akan crafts is restricted to male specialists. Pottery-making is the only craft that is primarily a female activity; men usually fashion pots or pipes depicting anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures.

The various Akan groups speak various dialects of the Akan language, a language rich in proverbs, and the use of proverbs is considered to be a sign of wisdom. Euphemisms are also very common, especially concerning events connected with death.

The coastal Akans were the first to have relations with Europeans during the "Scramble for Africa". As a result of this long association, these groups absorbed aspects of British culture and language. For example, it became customary among these peoples to adopt British surnames. The coastal Akans live predominantly in the Central Region and Western Region of Akanland.


The Ga-Adangbe people or simply Ga people (named for the common proto-Ga-Adangbe ancestral language) inhabit the Greater Accra Region. The Adangbe inhabit the eastern plain, while the Ga groups occupy the western portions of the Accra coastlands. Both languages are derived from a common root language, and modern Ga and Adangbe languages are still similar today.

Despite the archeological evidence that photo-Ga-Adangbe-speakers relied on millet and yam cultivation, the modern Ga-Adangbe reside in what used to be fishing communities, and more than 75 percent of the Ga-Adangbe live in urban centers. The presence of major industrial, commercial, and governmental institutions in the city and towns, as well as increasing migration of other people into the area, has not prevented the Ga people from maintaining aspects of their traditional culture, even though Twi is an important immigrant language in their lands. As a result, they have dynamic


The Dagomba speak Dagbani language (Dagbane). The Dagomba reside in Dagbon (Northern Ghana). For centuries, the area inhabited by Dagomba peoples has been the scene of movements of people engaged in conquest, expansion, and north-south and east-west trade. Many terms from Arabic, Hausa and Dyula are seen in the Dagbani language, due to the importance of trans-saharan trade and West African trade and the historic impact that the Islamic religion has had in the area.


The Ewe people occupy southeastern Ghana and parts of neighboring Togo and Benin. The Ewe follow a patrilineal structure, meaning that the founder of a community becomes chief and is usually succeeded by his paternal relatives. Ewe religion is organized around a creator or deity, Mawu, and over 600 other deities. The Ewe are more traditionally inclined in terms of religion and belief. Many village celebrations and ceremonies take place in honor of one or more deities.

Coastal Ewe depend on the fishing trade, while inland Ewe are usually farmers and keep livestock. The local variations in economic activities have led to craft specialization. The Ewe also weave kente cloth, often in geometrical patterns and symbolic designs that have been handed down through the ages.

Role and status of women[edit]

Women in pre-modern society were seen as bearers of children, retailers of fish, and farmers. Traditionally, women's childbearing abilities were perceived as a way for lineage ancestors to be reborn. In pre-colonial times, polygamy was encouraged, especially by wealthy men. In patrilineal societies, dowry received from marrying off daughters was traditionally seen as an acknowledgment to parents for raising their daughters well. In the last couples of decades, the female gender roles have evolved tremendously. Ghanaian women now comprise 43.1% of the working class in Ghana.[3] Females have climbed to the upper leadership echelons of politics, career, business, and all other sectors. Notable political personalities include Joyce Bamford-Addo (Speaker of the 5th Session of the Parliament), Georgina Theodora Wood (Chief Justice) as well as multiple past and current political office holders.[citation needed]


The Panafest celebrates roots, and African-Americans with roots from the region, often visit and celebrate their heritage.


There are three distinct types of music: ethnic or traditional music,[4] 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.


Each ethnic group has their own traditional dances, with specific dances for different occasions. Some of these specific dances are meant for funerals, celebrations, storytelling, praise and worship. There are various dances in Ghana performed by the ten regions across the country, most frequently during festivals and occasions such as funerals, marriage ceremonies, etc. These dances are performed to entertain and educate people.( e.g. The 'Gome' dance, as performed by the Gas of the Greater Accra region of Ghana during the Homowo festival in August). Other dances in Ghana includes kpalongo performed by the Gas, Agbadza by the Ewes, Adowa by the Akans, Bambaya by the Northners, Patsa by the Ga-Adangbes, and many others.


Funerals are libations are poured.[5] African time is practiced.[6][7] Sexuality is not discussed in Ghana.[8][9] Being Left handed is frowned upon.[10]


Black magic belief is strong.[11][12][13][14] [15][16][17][18][19]


Ghana is a highly religious country where evangelical prohpets are extremely popular.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31]


The cuisine has diverse traditional dishes from each ethnic group. Generally, most dishes consist of a starchy portion, and a sauce or soup, with fish, snails, meat or mushrooms.[32]


Association football is the most popular sport in the country. The national men's football team is known as the Black Stars, with the under-20 team known as the Black Satellites. The under-17 team is known as the Black Starlets, while the national men's Olympic team are known as the Black Meteors. They have participated in many championships including the African Cup of Nations, the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

On October 16, 2009, Ghana became the first African nation to win the FIFA U-20 World Cup by defeating Brazil 4-3 in a penalty shootout.[33] On June 13, 2010, Ghana defeated Serbia 1-0 in first round play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup becoming the first African team to win a FIFA World Cup game hosted on African soil and subsequently became the only African team to progress from the group stage to the knock out phase at the 2010 event. On June 26, 2010 Ghana defeated the US by 2 goals to 1 in their round of 16 match, becoming the third African country to reach the quarter final stage of the World Cup after Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002. A loss to Uruguay in Johannesburg on July 2, 2010 by penalty shoot-out ended Ghana's attempt at reaching the semi-finals of the competition.[34]

While men's football is most widely followed sport in Ghana, the national women's football team is gaining exposure, participating in the FIFA Women's World Cup and the CAF Women's Championship. The Ghana women's national football team is known as the Black Queens, while the Ghana national women's under-20 football team are called the Black Princesses.

There are several club football teams in Ghana, which play in the Ghana Premier League and Division One league, both managed by the Ghana Football Association. Notable among these are Accra Hearts of Oak SC and Asante Kotoko, which play at the premier league level and are the dominant contenders in the tournament.

Prominent football players recognized at the international level include Tony Yeboah, Michael Essien, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Abedi Pele, Asamoah Gyan, Anthony Annan, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, John Pantsil, Samuel Osei Kuffour, Richard Kingson, Sulley Muntari, Laryea Kingston, Stephen Appiah, André Ayew, John Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah.

Ghana is also the birthplace of World Wrestling Entertainment Wrestler Kofi Kingston (born Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah), who is wrestling on the Smackdown brand. Also is Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong who competed in the Vancouver Winter Olympics. There has also been quite a few quality boxers produced such as Azumah Nelson a three time world champion, Nana Yaw Konadu also a three time world champion, Ike Quartey, as well as boxers Joshua Clottey and IBF bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kwame Arhin: "The Political Systems of Ghana. Background to transformations in traditional authority in the colonial and post-colonial periods." Historical Society of Ghana, 2002. ISBN 9988-8276-0-1
  2. ^ "The Story of Africa- BBC World Service". Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  3. ^ Awumbila, Mariama (2006). "Gender equality and poverty in Ghana: implications for poverty reduction strategies". GeoJournal. 67 (2): 149–161. doi:10.1007/s10708-007-9042-7. JSTOR 41148110.
  4. ^ Music of Ghana
  5. ^ CNN, Paula Newton. "The long goodbye: Why funerals are big deals in Ghana". CNN. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Letter from Africa: The country where everyone is expected to be late". BBC News. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019 – via
  7. ^ Schinke, Robert; Hanrahan, Stephanie J. (10 July 2017). Cultural Sport Psychology. Human Kinetics. ISBN 9780736071338. Retrieved 10 July 2017 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Efua, Boafo-Arthur (11 September 2013). "Exploring perspectives about sexuality among Ghanaian youth living in Canada: Understanding the impact of cultural contact". Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Data".
  10. ^ "My left hand: is it not part of my body? - Government of Ghana". Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Files" (PDF).
  12. ^ Richter, Roxane; Flowers, Thomas; Bongmba, Elias (27 February 2017). Witchcraft as a Social Diagnosis: Traditional Ghanaian Beliefs and Global Health. Lexington Books. ISBN 9781498523196. Retrieved 10 July 2017 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ Abdul-Yekin, Kofi Ali (23 March 2017). The Darker Side of Ghana: A Typical Case of the African Cultural Challenge. AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781524636234. Retrieved 4 September 2017 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Adinkrah, Mensah (1 August 2015). Witchcraft, Witches, and Violence in Ghana. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781782385615 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Frimpong, Enoch Darfah. "A world of superstition, frustration and disillusionment". Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  17. ^ Spence, Samantha (21 August 2017). Witchcraft Accusations and Persecutions as a Mechanism for the Marginalisation of Women. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 9781527502680. Retrieved 2 August 2018 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ "In Africa, accusations of witchcraft still a reality for many women". Retrieved 2 August 2018 – via The Globe and Mail.
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ "Ghana church stormed over death prophecy". 3 January 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019 – via
  21. ^ "Letter from Africa: Why do we rely on 'miracle cures'?". BBC News. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2019 – via
  22. ^ "False Prophets In Ghana Exposed! Omg! Check it out You May Find Your Spiritual Father on the List". Modern Ghana. 2016-01-10. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  23. ^ [2][dead link]
  24. ^ Nonterah, Nora Kofognotera (6 March 2019). "The Challenges of Interfaith Relations in Ghana". In Latinovic, Vladimir; Mannion, Gerard; Phan, Peter C. (eds.). Pathways for Interreligious Dialogue in the Twenty-First Century. Palgrave Macmillan US. pp. 197–211. doi:10.1057/9781137507303_15. ISBN 978-1-349-56841-3.
  25. ^ Agyare, Andrew; Murray, Grant (5 April 2018). "Religion and perceptions of community-based conservation in Ghana, West Africa". PLOS ONE. 13 (4): e0195498. Bibcode:2018PLoSO..1395498M. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0195498. PMC 5886562. PMID 29621348.
  26. ^ "Ghana: A model of interfaith tolerance".
  27. ^ Okyerefo, Michael Perry Kweku; Fiaveh, Daniel Yaw (2 September 2017). "Prayer and health-seeking beliefs in Ghana: understanding the 'religious space' of the urban forest". Health Sociology Review. 26 (3): 308–320. doi:10.1080/14461242.2016.1257360.
  28. ^ "Local laws and customs - Ghana travel advice". GOV.UK. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  29. ^ [3][dead link]
  30. ^ "Inside the Dark, Opulent World of Ghana's Churches". Pulitzer Center. 3 April 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  32. ^ "Inside Ghana's biggest bushmeat market". Mosaic. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  33. ^ Kenyon, Matthew (2009-10-16). "". Retrieved 2010-06-26.
  34. ^ "USA 1-2 Ghana (aet)". 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2010-06-26.


  • Some of the information, where noted, was reproduced from Ghana: a Country Study edited by LaVerle Berry. Text and graphics contained in the online Country Studies are not copyrighted. They are considered to be in the public domain and thus available for free and unrestricted use. As a courtesy, however, appropriate credit should be given to the series.

External links[edit]