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Total population
Regions with significant populations
Kingdom of Dagbon, Ghana and Burkina Faso
Islam and Christianity

The Kassena people are an ethnic group located along the northern Ghana and Burkina Faso border. They speak the Kasem language. Their number is estimated to be about 161,000 as of 2013.[1] Their chief lives in the town of Tiébélé. The kasenna are closely related to the people of Nankanni and were brought together to form the Kassena-Nankana administrative district in 1936.[2] As of 2008 the (Kassena-Nankana) area comprises two districts: Kassena Nankana West and Kassena Nankana East.[3][4]


The Kassena people are part of the greater Gurunsi group and were separated from the Gurunsi ethnic group at the beginning of the 20th century, as a consequence of colonialism and more specifically of the partitioning of the Burkina Faso-Ghana area between France and United Kingdom. As most of the Gurunsi people live in Burkina, the Kassena were isolated and gradually developed an independent cultural identity. Kassena mostly live on agriculture, growing millet, sorghum, yam and, to a lesser extent, maize, rice, groundnuts, beans. During the dry season they also hunt and fish.[citation needed]


Traditional Kassena society is grouped into chiefdoms, five of whom are predominant:Navrongo, Paga, Chiana, Kayoro, Katiu and Nakon.[2]

Home Call[edit]

The Belgian anthropologist, Ann Cassiman, conducted detailed ethnographic accounts of the Kassena. In her book “Stirring Life: Women's Paths and Places Among the Kasena of Northern Ghana”,[5] she elaborates on the material culture, rituals and social practices as experienced in a rural Kassena village. This research also led to a museum exhibition entitled 'Home Call', housed by the Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp, Belgium.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Joshuaproject – People Group Name: Kassena". joshuaproject.net. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b Austin, Dennis (1976). Ghana Observed: Essays on the Politics of a West African Republic. Manchester University Press. p. 72. ISBN 9780841902787.
  3. ^ Koram, Kwadwo A.; Ahorlu, Collins K. (2014). Towards Effective Disease Control in Ghana: Research and Policy Implications: Volume 2 Other Infectious Diseases and Health Systems. Sub-Saharan Publishers. p. 264. ISBN 9789988647629.
  4. ^ Awedoba, A. K. (2010). An Ethnographic Study of Northern Ghanaian Conflicts: Towards a Sustainable Peace : Key Aspects of Past, Present and Impending Conflicts in Northern Ghana and the Mechanisms for Their Address. African Books Collective. p. 289.
  5. ^ Stirring Life Northern Cultural Anthropology. amazon.com.
  6. ^ Home Call. kuleuven.be.