The Nzema are an Akan people numbering about 328,700, of whom 262,000 live in southwestern Ghana and 66,700 live in the southeast of Côte d'Ivoire. In Ghana the Nzema area is divided into three electoral districts of Nzema East Municipal also referred to as Evalue Gwira, Ellembele District and Nzema West, which is also referred to as Jomoro District of Ghana. Their language is also known as Nzima (in Ghana) or Appolo (in the Ivory Coast).
The Nzema are mostly farmers. According to their traditional calendar, days are ordered in cycles of seven, and these follow each other in a three-week cycle. They have a matrilinealkinship system, with descent and property passed through the maternal lines.
A religious Kundum Festival is held annually all over the Ahanta-Nzema area. Its start is timed to coordinate with the harvest period, so local communities determine when that will be. It begins in the easternmost part of Ahanta and advances southwestward together with the harvest period. Ritual drumming, singing and dancing take place for four weeks, and are considered the way the community expels devils and protects its good fortune. This festival is the main occasion on which the satirical avudewene songs are performed by young men.
The pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah was an Nzema. Anton Wilhelm Amo, who was born in the Axim region and taken to Europe as a boy, was raised in Germany as one of a duke's family and educated in the best schools and universities. He became a philosopher in eighteenth-century Germany, teaching at two universities, before he returned to his homeland.