Culture of Ghana
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- the Akans in the centre and South of the country;
- the Ga and Adangbe in, around and East of Accra;
- the Guang peoples in the rain forest;
- the Dagombas, Mamprusi and related peoples in the North;
- the Gurunsi languages speaking peoples in the far North;
- the Gonjas in Northern Region.
English, is the official language, but the indigenous Twi of the Ashantis, the Fante language, Frafra, Ga, Dagbani, Mampruli, Gonja and Ewe also have official status and are taught in school as indigenous (local) language in the respective areas where they predominate.
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. 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 in complex patterns of bright, narrow strips. It is woven outdoors, exclusively by men. It outdoors the dignity and pride of the people when they dress in it. In fact, the manufacture 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, modern Ga and Adangbe languages are still similar.
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 cultures.
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 are essentially a patrilineal people, the founder of a community became the chief and was 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
Women in pre-modern society were seen as bearers of children, retailers of fish, and farmers. Within the traditional sphere, the childbearing ability of women was explained as the means by which lineage ancestors were allowed to be reborn. In pre-colonial times, polygamy was encouraged, especially for wealthy men. In patrilineal societies, dowry received from marrying off daughters was seen as a traditional means for parents to be acknowledged for taking good care of their daughters. Also to thank them for the good training. Within the last couples of decades, the roles of the feminine gender has evolved tremendously. Ghanaian women no longer 'belong to the kitchen', roles and responsibilities which hitherto remained the prerogative of females is now very common with males. Females have climbed to the upper leadership echelons of politics, career, business, and all other sectors. Notable political personalities include Joyce Adeline Bamford-Addo (Speaker of the 5th Session of the Parliament), Georgina Theodora Wood (Chief Justice) as well as a host of past and current political office holders. This renaissance is a direct result of the efforts put in by Ghana's vibrant civil society. Women have since risen to positions of professional importance in southern Ghana.
There are three distinct 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.
Each ethnic group has their own traditional dances and there are different dances for different occasions. There are dances for funerals, celebrations, storytelling, praise and worship. There are various dances in Ghana performed by the ten regions across the country. These dances are performed mostly during festivals and also during occasions such as funerals, marriage ceremonies, etc. These dances are performed to entertain and educate people. e.g. The 'Gome' dance is performed by the Gas of the Greater Accra region of Ghana during their Homowo festival somewhere in August. Other dances in Ghana includes kpalongo performed by the Gas as well, Agbadza by the Ewes, Adowa by the Akans, Bambaya by the Northners, Patsa by the Ga-Adangbes, and many others.
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. 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 USA 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.
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 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 recognised 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Culture of Ghana.|
- 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
- Kenyon, Matthew (2009-10-16). "NEWS.BBC.co.uk". NEWS.BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- "USA 1-2 Ghana (aet)". NEWS.BBC.co.uk. 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.
- National Commission on Culture (Ghana), Official Website
- Ghana: a Country Study
- People and Culture of Ghana Africa Guide