Ashanti Ghana PEOPLE
Ghanians come from six main ethnic groups: the Akan (Ashanti and
the Ewe, the Ga-Adangbe, the Mole-Dagbani, the Guan, and the Gurma.
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The Ashanti tribe of the Akan are the largest tribe in Ghana and one of
the few matrilineal societies in West Africa. Once renown for the
splendour and wealth of their rulers, they are most famous today for their
craft work, particularly their hand-carved stools and fertility dolls and
their colourful kente cloth. Kente cloth is woven in bright, narrow strips
with complex patterns; it's usually made from cotton and is always woven
outdoors, exclusively by men.
The village is a social as well as an economic unit. Everyone participates
in the major ceremonies, the most frequent of which are funeral
celebrations which typically last several days. Attendance at funerals is
normally expected from everyone in the village and expenditure on funerals
is a substantial part of the household budget.
The Ashanti are noted for their expertise in a variety of specialized
crafts. These include weaving, wood carving, ceramics, and metallurgy. Of
these crafts, only pottery-making is primarily a female activity; the
others are restricted to male specialists. Even in the case of
pottery-making, only men are allowed to fashion pots or pipes representing
anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures.
The Ewé have over 600 deities to turn to in times of need. Many village
celebrations and ceremonies take place in honour of one or more deities. Tehy
also weave kente cloth, and their more geometrical patterns contain symbolic
designs handed down through the ages.
The Ewe occupy southeastern Ghana and the southern parts of neighboring Togo and
Benin. Most Ewe were farmers who kept some livestock, and there was some craft
specialization. On the coast and immediately inland, fishing was important, and
local variations in economic activities permitted a great deal of trade between
one community and another, carried out chiefly by women
The Fanti tribe are mainly located in the coastal areas of Ghana
The Ga-Adangbe people inhabit the Accra Plains. The Adangbe are found to the
east, the Ga groups, to the west of the Accra coastlands. Although both
languages are derived from a common proto-Ga-Adangbe ancestral language, modern
Ga and Adangbe are mutually unintelligible. The modern Adangbe include the
people of Shai, La, Ningo, Kpone, Osudoku, Krobo, Gbugble, and Ada, who speak
different dialects. The Ga also include the Ga-Mashie groups occupying
neighborhoods in the central part of Accra, and other Gaspeakers who migrated
from Akwamu, Anecho in Togo, Akwapim, and surrounding areas.
The Guan are believed to have begun to migrate from the Mossi region of modern
Burkina around A.D. 1000. Moving gradually through the Volta valley in a
southerly direction, they created settlements along the Black Volta, throughout
the Afram Plains, in the Volta Gorge, and in the Akwapim Hills before moving
farther south onto the coastal plains. Some scholars postulate that the wide
distribution of the Guan suggests that they were the Neolithic population of the
region. Later migrations by other groups such as the Akan, Ewe, and Ga-Adangbe
into Guan-settled areas would then have led to the development of Guan-speaking
enclaves along the Volta and within the coastal plains.
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west africa slave trade
Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart
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