Mamprusi people

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People Mamprusi
Language Mampruli
Country Mamprugu

The Mamprusi, or Mamprussi, are an ethnic group of northern Ghana and Togo. There are some 220,000 Mamprusi living in Ghana[1] and approximately 11,000 in Togo. They speak Mampruli, a Gur language. In Ghana, the Mamprusis live mainly in Nalerigu and Gambaga in the northwest of the Northern Region but also inhabit parts of the Upper East Region.

The Mamprusi Kingdom was founded around the 16th century by the Great Naa Gbanwah/Gbewah[2] at Pusiga, a village 14 kilometres from Bawku. The Kingdom spans most of the Northern and the Upper East Regions of Ghana, and into Burkina Faso. As a consequence, the King of Mossi to this day is enskinned by the Nayiri – the king of Mamprugu. Thus, establishing this kingdom as the pre-eminent of its kind, and the only kingdom in present-day Ghana whose relevance and authority cuts across national boundaries on the weight of its humble supremacy. The name of the kingdom is Mamprugu, the ethnicity is Mamprusi, and the language is Mampruli.

Mamprusis revere the hallowed grounds of Bawku as their ancestral home, their origin. That is why Naa Gbewah's tomb in Pusiga, is a shrine of repute to this day. It is believed that his disappearance was subteraneal, one of the marvels of Northern Ghana, and many ethnicities hold to agree with this uncommon historical account. It was after his death that his children moved farther afield and founded other kingdoms, namely: Dagbon and Namum.

Note that the name Naa Gbanwah and Gbewah can be used interchangeably, the difference being that Mamprusis refer to him as gbanwah and dagombas refer to him as gbewah. It is just a difference in pronunciations.

The people of Mamprusi where lead by a great warrior Tohazie "the Red Hunter". During the migration Tohazie died and his grandson Na-Gbewa succeeded him. Na-Gbewa died and he was succeeded by his oldest son wiliri.


  1. ^ Group, The Diagram (2013-11-26). Encyclopedia of African Peoples. Routledge. p. 590. ISBN 9781135963415. 
  2. ^ Claessen, H. J. M.; Skalník, Peter (1981). The Study of the State. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9789027933485. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Plissart, Xavier (1983). "Mamprusi Proverbs". Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale Annales. 8 (111). 
  • Drucker-Brown, Susan (1993). "Mamprusi Witchcraft, Subversion and Changing Gender Relations". Africa: Journal of the International African Institute. 63 (4): 531–549. JSTOR 1161005. 
  • Drucker-Brown, Susan (December 1982). "Joking at Death: The Mamprusi Grandparent-Grandchild Joking Relationship". Man. 17 (4): 714–727. JSTOR 2802042. 
  • Drucker-Brown, Susan (March 1992). "Horse, Dog, and Donkey: The Making of a Mamprusi King". Man. 21 (1): 71–90. JSTOR 2803595.