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Asante Kingdom

March 26, 2019
Posted by View: 826
Asantehene

The Ashanti Empire was a pre-colonial West African state that emerged in the 17th century in what is now Ghana. The Ashanti or Asante were an ethnic subgroup of the Akan-speaking people, and were composed of small chiefdoms. The Ashanti established their state around Kumasi in the late 1600s, shortly after their first encounter with Europeans. In some ways the Empire grew out of the wars and dislocations caused by Europeans who sought the famous gold deposits which gave this region its name, the Gold Coast. During this era the Portuguese were the most active Europeans in West Africa. They made Ashanti a significant trading partner, providing wealth and weapons which allowed the small state to grow stronger than its neighbors. Nonetheless when the 18th Century began Ashanti was simply one of Akan-speaking Portuguese trading partners in the region. That situation changed when Osei Tutu, the Asantehene (paramount chief) of Ashanti from 1701 to 1717, and his priest Komfo Anokye, unified the independent chiefdoms into the most powerful political and military state in the coastal region. The Asantehene organized the Asante union, an alliance of Akan-speaking people who were now loyal to his central authority. The Asantehene made Kumasi the capital of the new empire. He also created a constitution, reorganized and centralized the military, and created a new cultural festival, Odwira, which symbolized the new union. Most importantly, he created the Golden Stool, which he argued represented the ancestors of all the Ashanti. Upon that Stool Osei Tutu legitimized his rule and that of the royal dynasty that followed him. Gold was the major product of the Ashanti Empire. Osei Tutu made the gold mines royal possessions. He also made gold dust the circulating currency in the empire. Gold dust was frequently accumulated by Asante citizens, particularly by the evolving wealthy merchant class. However even relatively poor subjects used gold dust as ornamentation on their clothing and other possessions. Larger gold ornaments owned by the royal family and the wealthy were far more valuable. Periodically they were melted down and fashioned into new patterns of display in jewelry and statuary. If the early Ashanti Empire economy depended on the gold trade in the 1700s, by the early 1800s it had become a major exporter of enslaved people. The slave trade was originally focused north with captives going to Mande and Hausa traders who exchanged them for goods from North Africa and indirectly from Europe. By 1800, the trade had shifted to the south as the Ashanti sought to meet the growing demand of the British, Dutch, and French for captives. In exchange, the Ashanti received luxury items and some manufactured goods including most importantly firearms. The consequence of this trade for the Ashanti and their neighbors was horrendous. From 1790 until 1896, the Ashanti Empire was in a perpetual state of war involving expansion or defense of its domain. Most of these wars afforded the opportunity to acquire more slaves for trade. The constant warfare also weakened the Empire against the British who eventually became their main adversary. Between 1823 and 1873, the Ashanti Empire resisted British encroachment on their territory. By 1874, however, British forces successfully invaded the Empire and briefly captured Kumasi. The Ashanti rebelled against British rule and the Empire was again conquered in 1896. After yet another uprising in 1900, the British deposed and exiled the Asantehene and annexed the Empire into their Gold Coast colony in 1902.

Although located in the heart of the forest, Asante dominion was extended by military action and political skill towards the European occupied castles on the coast to the south, and also into the dry savannah lands to the north. This led to various wars with Britain. Kumasi was captured by the British Army in 1873 (as a result of which much of the magnificent Asante gold regalia can be seen in London in the British Museum). After a final uprising in 1901, led by the Queen Mother of Ejisu (Yaa Asantewaa) Asante came into British Protection and finally became a region of the Gold Coast colony.

In 1957, after a period of internal self-government, the Gold Coast became the first African colony to achieve independence under the charismatic leadership of Kwame Nkrumah.
Kumasi Getting to the end of the 17th century Anokye Komfuo planted three “KUM” trees at different places. One at Kwaaman ruled by the Nananomayokofuo , a second one at Apemso-Bankofo ruled by Nananomaduanafuo and a third a village near Fomena and Amoafo called Oboani ruled by Nananomekuonafuo.

The Kum tree at Kwaaman flourished and became a very big tree under which the King and his people often sat and so Kwaaman became Kum-ase meaning under Kum.

The tree at Oboani was however very tiny and for no apparent reason was relatively short. According to oral tradition this small tree however produced a couple of other trees which were all small in size. The name of the village was changed to Kuma meaning small KUM.

The Kum tree at Apemso-Bankofo did not grow at all. After some few weeks the leaves got rotten and the tree fell down and so it was said that the Kum tree has died or the Kum tree was dead and so the village became Kum-awu and this later chnaged to become Kumawu.

The Ashanti kingdom, or Asante, dominated much of the present-day state of Ghana during the period between the late 17th and early 20th centuries. It was ruled by an ethnic group called the Akan, which in turn was composed of up to 38 subgroups, such as the Bekiai, Adansi, Juabin, Kokofu, Kumasi, Mampon, Nsuta, Nkuwanta, Dadussi, Daniassi, Ofinsu, and Adjitai.

In the late 1500s, there were at least 30 small states, which corresponded to the subsections of the Akan people. By 1650, these groups had been reduced to nine, and by 1700, they united. Ultimately the groups formed a confederation headed by the chief of the Kunasi group.

The kingdom, formed by its legendary warrior Osei Tutu in 1691, was in fact a confederacy of both Akan and non-Akan people. The king’s symbol was the golden stool; equivalent to the throne, the stool became the symbol of kingship, so that a ruler was said to be enstooled or destooled.

The asantehene, or king, had authority when he was raised three times over the stool. Even after 1901, when Ashanti became a protectorate, and 1957, when it became part of the modern state of Ghana, the stool and the enstooling ceremony of the Asantehene were important ceremonies.

The Ashanti kingdom, although originally a confederacy, had three bases of power—administration, communications, and economics—and was located in what is now north Ghana. Osei Tutu took over the administration set up by Denkiyira, the former hegemon, and added to it.

Communities within 50 miles of the capital city of Kumasi were directly ruled by the asantehene. Under Osei Tutu and his successor, Osei Apoko (whose reign collectively lasted from approximately 1690 to 1750), the state expanded so much that by 1750, it encompassed about 100,000 square miles, with a population of 2 to 3 million.

All of present-day Ghana with the exception of areas directly on the coast with small adjacent areas in the contemporary states of Togo, Ivory Coast, and Burkino Faso were part of the Ashanti state.

In order to accommodate the new extent of the state, the administration divided itself into a metropolitan and a provincial area. The metropolitan area consisted of those towns within a 50-mile radius of Kumasi. The rulers of these towns were made up of the confederacy. Their only obligation was to pay annual tribute to Kumasi and troops in the event of war.

This practice was extended to newer members of the state. All towns elected a governing advisory council composed of powerful members of the community. The towns were considered part of the Kumasi sphere, as they paid taxes that supported a steady army in the early 20th century. After a revolt of a military chieftain in 1748, a palace guard was organized.

The rulers of the metropolitan spheres were members of the royal Oyoko clan and served on the royal council and had autonomy in nonfiscal and military matters. The Council for the Asantehene had gained substantial power; it occasionally destooled an incompetent ruler and formally helped to choose the new asantehene.

Agyemang Prempeh

Asante Kings (Asantehene)


Nana Osei Tutu (1680 tp 1717),
Nana Opoku Ware I (1720-1750)
Nana Kusi Obodum (1750-1764)
Nana Osei Kwadwo (1764-1777
Nana Osei Kwame (1777-1798)
Nana Opoku Fofie (1798-1799)
Nana Osei Bonsu (1800-1823)
Nana Osei Yaw Akoto (1824-34)
Nana Kwaku Dua I (1834 – 67)
Nana Kofi Karikari (1867-74)
Nana Mensah Bonsu (1874-1883)
Nana Kwaku Dua II in 1884
Nana Kwaku Duah II alias Nana Agyeman Prempeh I from 1888 to 1931,
Nana Osei Tutu Agyeman Prempeh II from 1931 to 1970
Otumfuo Opoku Ware II from 1970-1999. The Asante kingdom was founded by the great King Osei Tutu in the eighteenth century. His fetish priest was Okomfo Anokye, who unified the Asante states through allegiance to the Golden Stool, which miraculously descended from heaven. Okomfo Anokye planted two trees in the forest and predicted that one tree would live and become the capital of Ashanti. Hence is derived the name Kumasi (the tree lived); the place in which the other tree was planted became Kumawu (the tree died).

Economics

The mainspring of the confederation was economic. It had fertile soil, forests, and mineral resources, most notably gold. The future state of Ashanti had two ecological zones. In the southern forest belt there were forests and fertile soil.

Original subsistence crops included yams, onions, and maize and, in the 19th century as farming became commercial, cola nuts and cocoa. In the northern savanna belt, there were yams and Guinea corn. The state was advantageously located for the importation of slaves from both the north and the west.

In this period, beginning in the 15th and 16th centuries and lasting until the 1830s when slavery was abolished, the Ashanti still used slave labor to plant more crops such as plantains, yams, rice, and new crops such as maize and cassava brought from the Americas. This led to an increase in population and a movement of the Akan peoples to the forest zones.

The use of slave labor was involved in its most important mineral product, gold. Akan enterprise utilized the labor of slaves for both trading with Europeans (Portuguese, Dutch, English) and in the state grassland belts first in clearing new land and then for the development of deep-level mining and placer mining.

The slave trade for gold brought more slaves to produce more gold, and slaves were also traded for firearms. The desire to exert control over gold production and the new farming communities in the forest helped facilitate state functions.

The desire to control access to labor pushed the Ashanti state in its attempt to control the coast inhabited by its Fanti peoples. The attempt to conquer the Fanti led to disputes and battles with the British, who had taken over the Gold Coast by 1815.

Earlier the Ashanti had played the Dutch and Portuguese against the British. However hostilities after 1800 erupted for control of its coast. After the Ashanti were able initially to defeat the British in 1807 and in 1824, they suffered setbacks and accepted the Prah River as a border.

Thereafter peace reigned for over 40 years. In 1872, a long-simmering dispute on the control of El Mina (the great Portuguese and Dutch post) saw a renewal of hostilities. After early Ashanti success, the British occupied Kumasi in 1874 until peace was concluded.

In the late 19th century, the state began a rapid decline. Other parts of the state broke away so that by 1900, the state had dwindled to approximately 25,000 square miles and a quarter of a million people. The British began to interfere in events in Ashanti.

In 1896, they deposed the asantehene and in 1900, a British demand for the golden stool resulted in an uprising that was put down in 1901, after which Ashanti was a protectorate. Incredibly, the golden stool was never surrendered and was restored to the nation after being “accidentally” found in 1921. In 1926, the asantehene was restored to the stool, and in 1935, its ceremonial role in Ashanti was formally restored.

During the colonial period, its population increased more than fourfold. The Ashanti peoples engaged in cocoa growing while also actively producing crafts such as weaving, wood carving, ceramics, and pottery making. The bronze and brass artifacts produced by the lostwax process became prominently displayed in museums throughout the globe. Since 1935, the kingdom, now part of Ghana, has been organized into 21 districts.

Throughout its golden age, the Ashanti state demonstrated impressive flexibility, often at the expense of neighbors whom it enslaved and whose tribute it exacted. It continued to increase production in the gold mines and to migrate and clear forest for agricultural production. It utilized the slave trade to increase its military might and diplomacy to key European allies.

After slavery was abolished, it found a new economic outlet in cola nuts, and in the 20th century, the production of cocoa, Ghana’s biggest export. Even in independent Ghana, the Ashanti kingdom still maintains a clear existence and the Ashanti people have retained their cultural identity.

Bureaucratic Control

The provincial aspect of administration was subject to increased centralization as the centuries progressed. Outlying Akan districts did not participate in the royal selection process but were forced to pay taxes. By 1800, they were also forced to pay tribute.

They were subject to increasing bureaucratic control such as a state agency that controlled all internal and external trade. The non-Akan areas controlled until the mid-19th century also sent thousands of slaves annually to Kumasi.

The effectiveness of the Ashanti state relied on communication processes. The complex bureaucracy served as a conduit throughout the state. In addition both taxes and tribute were used to establish a well-maintained army throughout the century. Most famously were the talking drums.

Since the national language of Ashanti, called Twi, was polytonal, any military commander or administrator could send out messages by matching syllables to the tones of the drum in a fashion similar to Morse code.

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History of Ghana

March 26, 2019
Posted by View: 569

Medieval Ghana (4th – 13th Century): The Republic of Ghana is named after the medieval Ghana Empire of West Africa. The actual name of the Empire was Wagadugu. Ghana was the title of the kings who ruled the kingdom. It was controlled by Sundiata in 1240 AD, and absorbed into the larger Mali Empire. (Mali Empire reached its peak of success under Mansa Musa around 1307.)

Indepence Square

Geographically, the old Ghana is 500 miles north of the present Ghana, and occupied the area between Rivers Senegal and Niger.

Some inhabitants of present Ghana had ancestors linked with the medieval Ghana. This can be traced down to the Mande and Voltaic peoeple of Northern Ghana–Mamprussi, Dagomba and the Gonja.

Anecdotal evidence connected the Akans to this great Empire. The evidence lies in names like Danso shared by the Akans of present Ghana and Mandikas of Senegal/Gambia who have strong links with the Empire.

Gold Coast & European Exploration: Before March 1957 Ghana was called the Gold Coast. The Portuguese who came to Ghana in the 15th Century found so much gold between the rivers Ankobra and the Volta that they named the place Mina – meaning Mine. The Gold Coast was later adopted to by the English colonisers. Similarily, the French, equally impressed by the trinkets worn by the coastal people, named The Ivory Coast, Cote d’Ivoire.

In 1482, the Portuguese built a castle in Elmina. Their aim was to trade in gold, ivory and slaves. In 1481 King John II of Portugal sent Diego d’Azambuja to build this castle.

In 1598 the Dutch joined them, and built forts at Komenda and Kormantsil. In 1637 they captured the castle from the Portuguese and that of Axim in 1642 (Fort St Anthony). Other European traders joined in by the mid 18th century. These were the English, Danes and Swedes. The coastline were dotted by forts built by the Dutch, British and the Dane merchants. By the latter part of 19th century the Dutch and the British were the only traders left. And when the Dutch withdrew in 1874, Britain made the Gold Coast a crown colony.
By 1901 the Ashanti and the North were made a protectorate.

Britain and the Gold Coast. The first Britons arrived in the early 19th century as traders in Ghana. But with their close relationship with the coastal people especially the Fantes, the Ashantis became their enemies.

Economic and Social Development (Before 1957)
1874–Gold Mine in Wassa and Asante. Between 1946-1950 gold export rose from 6 million pounds to 9 million pounds.

Political Movements and Nationalism in Ghana (1945 – 1957)
The educated Ghanaians had always been in the fore-front of constructive movements. Names that come into mind are –Dr Aggrey, George Ferguson, John Mensah Sarbah. Others like king Ghartey IV of Winneba, Otumfuo Osei Agyeman Prempeh I raised the political consciousness of their subjects. However, movements towards political freedom started soon after WWII.

This happened because suddenly people realised the colonisation was a form of oppression, similar to the oppression they have just fought against. The war veterans had become radical. The myth surrounding the whiteman has been broken. The rulers were considered economic cheats, their arogance had become very offensive. They had the ruling class attitude, and some of the young District Commissioner (DC) treated the old chiefs as if they were their subjects. Local pay was bad. No good rural health or education policy. Up to 1950 the Govt Secondary schools in the country were 2, the rest were built by the missionaries.

There was also the rejection of African culture to some extent. Some external forces also contributed to this feeling. African- Americans such as Marcus Garvey and WE Du Bois raised strong Pan-African conscience.

In 1945 a conference was held in Manchester to promote Pan African ideas. This was attended by Nkrumah of Ghana, Azikwe of Nigeria and Wallace Johnson of Sierra Leone. The India and Pakistani independence catalysed this desire.

Sir Alan Burns constitution of 1946 provided new legislative council that was made of the Governor as the President, 6 government officials, 6 nominated members and 18 elected members.

The executive council was not responsible to the legislative council. They were only in advisory capacity, and the governor did not have to take notice.

These forces made Dr J.B. Danquah to form the United Gold Coast Conversion (UGCC) in 1947. Nkrumah was invited to be the General Secretary to this party. Other officers were George Grant (Paa Grant), Akuffo Addo, William Ofori Atta, Obetsebi Lamptey, Ako Agyei, and J Tsiboe. Their aim was Independence for Ghana. They rejected the Burns constitution.

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Festivals In Ghana

March 26, 2019
Posted by View: 828

Ghanaian festivals are a colourful and vibrant part of the culture. Each year festivals and durbars are held in various parts of the country to celebrate the heritage of the people.

Throughout the year festivals and durbars are held in various parts of the country for reunion, development purposes and to strengthen beliefs of society.

Most people believe that festivals help them forge close bondage with their ancestors and ask for their protection. Festivals are also held in order to purify the whole state so that people can enter the New Year with confidence and hope.

Importance of Festivals

Festivals are very important in several ways: historically, religiously, socially, economically, culturally, morally and politically in the lives of Ghanaians. See our timetable of festivals below.

Historically
It makes the people know more about their history. For instance, the Nyidwoo festival of the people of Esumegya makes the people and for that matter Asantes it know more about their origin.

Also, the Homowo Festival reminds the people of Ga-Adangme to know much about how they have come out of hunger by settling at their present day area. It makes the people recollect the noble past of their ancestors, and to express their gratitude to them.

Religiously
The people believe in the existence of the ancestral spirit, hence they ask for forgiveness of offence committed, petition the supernatural powers for material prosperity, peace and long life. There is continuity between the dead and the living.

Socially
It serves as reunion of family members, relatives and love ones. At this time, quarrels and misunderstandings are settled.
It provides a forum where marriages among people within a particular geographical area can be transacted.

The youth at this stage get the chance of arranging marriages, (to court). Besides, the period is characterised by merrymaking and entertainments.

Economically
It brings most of the citizens together. This helps them to initiate development projects and to contribute financially towards these projects. Visitors who also come to witness the festival contribute economically to the locality.

Politically
It gives the people chance to asses the efficiency of their chiefs. Most citizens who left the town for so long a time return to see whether the traditional ruler (the chief) had implemented development projects agreed upon.

Homage is paid to the chiefs. Sub-chiefs also renew their allegiance to their immediate boss. For example, local chiefs to paramount chief (Omanhene) and in Asante Omanhene to the Asantehene.

Government ministers even take advantage of the festival which has brought a lot of people (Citizens) together to announce development projects, government policies to the people and to educate them on important issues affecting the locality, town or an area.

Culturally
The rich cultural heritage of the people are usually being manifested during festivals.

With the people of Asante chiefs, they may be decorated in the traditional Kente cloth gold ornaments and carried in a palanquin especially the Asantehene or the paramount chief (omanhene).

Ghanaian hospitality can also be seen in this regard. The ways the people speak and relate to others portray their culture of friendliness.

Morally
It strengthens all to play their roles as good citizens. It provides a forum where the chief must be more effective, morally upright, and
Accountable to the people. For instance, the Apoo festival celebrated by the chiefs and people of Techiman traditional area gives the people chance to talk about the inefficiencies of the chief as well as his ill doings.

It again reminds the youth to lead morally acceptable life so that, they may grow to become good people, whose lives are worthy of emulation by the future generation.

Bugum Festival
Although the Bugum Festival was also linked with Islam, it has become a major event on the traditional calendar too. It commemorates the flight of Naiyul-Lah Mohammed from Mecca into exile in Medina in AD658. The festival is celebrated in Dagbon, Gonja, Mamprusi and Nanumba. The events begin with processions from neighbouring villages. By nightfall, all the villagers converge at the Chief’s palace with lighted torches. Following special invocations by the Chief, the ceremony illuminate the streets. Festive drumming and dancing continue until the early hours of the morning.

Edina Buronya Festival
This is the native version of Christmas which is exclusively celebrated by the people of Elmina (Edina) on the first Thursday of the New Year. The festival was influenced by the Portuguese settlers who celebrated a similar event every January. For the people of Edina, it is a period of purification, sacrifices to the gods, remembrance of the dead, and the welcoming of a new year. Families pour libations and invite friends to participate in dining, and merry-making, throughout the town.

Rice Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Akpafu, in the Volta Region.

Kpini-Kyiu & Tenghana Festivals
Is celebrated by the people of Wa & Tongu, in the Upper East Region.

Danso Abaim & Ntoa Fukokuese Festivals
Is celebrated by the people of Techimentia & Nkoranza, in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Apafram Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Akwamu, in the Eastern Region.

February

Papa Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Kumawu, in the Ashanti Region

Dzawuwu Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Dabala, in the Volta Region. It is an Annual traditional and thanksgiving festival of the Agave people.

March

Damba Festival
Originally linked with Islam to mark the birth of Mohammed, the festival has gradually taken on a traditional rather than Islamic tone. The two-day festival is full of pageantry and showmanship and is celebrated in the towns of Dagbon, Gonjaland, Mamprusiland and Nanumbaland.

Ngmayem Festival
This is the annual traditional harvest and thanksgiving festival of the Krobo people. It is celebrated in March-April by the people of Manya and Yilo Krobo in the towns of Krobo Odumase and Somanya, in the Eastern Region.

Asikloe Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Anfoega, in the Volta Region.

Volo Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Akuse, In the Volta Region to commemorate the end of the exodus of the Volo people from Togo, forced to flee the tyranny of an impious ruler.

Lekoyi Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Likpe, in the Volta Region.

Kotokyikyi & Ogyapa Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Senya Beraku, in the Central Region.

Kurubie Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Namase, in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Lalue Kpledo Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Prampram, in the Greater Accra Region.

Gologo Festival
This festival is celebrated in March by the Talensis of Tong-Zug just before the planting of grain. During the three-day festival, sacrifices are offered to the gods for plentiful rain and good harvest.

April

Bugum, Serpeemi & Wodomi Festivals
Occasions for the people of Krobo, in the Eastern Region to assemble.

Dipo
A puberty festival by the people of Krobo (Somanya & Odumase), in the Eastern Region when girls at adolescent age are initiated into womanhood with a parade. The attire of the girls is close to nudity.

May

Aboakyir (Deer Hunt) Festival
“Aboakyir” literally, means “game hunting”. This popular festival is celebrated on the first Saturday of May by the chiefs and people of Winneba. The festival begins with a competitive hunt between 2 traditional warrior groups in a nearby game reserve, where each tries to catch an antelope live. It is an adventurous event to test the strength, bravery, determination and intuition of the 2 rival groups. The winner presents the catch to the Paramount Chief who sits in state with the sub-chiefs and subjects. The antelope is sacrificed as an invocation for good harvest and a bountiful fishing season. A durbar and procession of the chiefs and warrior groups in their colouful regalia is the highlight of the celebrations. Brass bands, dancing, performances of folklore and parties make this an unforgettable event.

Formerly involved capturing a leopard barehanded, the toll on human life eventually became so prohibitive that the divinity to whom the leopard was sacrificed was beseeched to accept a less dangerous substitute, and the leopard was replaced by an antelope.

Beng Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Sonyo Kipo, in the Northern Region to honour the great fetish of the Gonja people.

Osudoku Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Asutsuare, in the Eastern Region to mark the beginning of the year.

Donkyi Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Namase, in the Brong Ahafo Region.

Don Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region.

June

Asafua Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Sekondi, in the Central Region in purification of the divinity of Asafua.

Ahumkan Festival
A celebration in which the local population of Akim-Kibi, in the Eastern Region to reaffirm their loyalty to their chieftains.

Gyenprem Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Fafo, in the Volta Region and marked by a durbar of thanksgiving for an abundant harvest and a year of peace.

Ahobaa Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Enyan-Kakraba-Saltpond, in the Central Region for obtaining the benediction of the ancestors.

Kete Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Sekondi, in the Central Region in honour of the Kete-Kyen fetish.

Ebisa Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Sekondi, in the Central Region in honour of the fetish of the same name.

Kli-Adzim Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Agbozume, in the Eastern Region in honour of the local divinity.

Ahoba Kuma Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Abura, in the Central Region.

Apiba Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Senya Beraku, in the Central Region.

Nkyidwo (Monday Night)
A very important festival celebrated annually by the people of Essumeja, in the Ashanti Region to commemorate their birth or how their ancestors emerged one Monday night from a hole in the ground followed by a dog and lion amid drumming, dancing and other activities. The gods are invoked for blessing, protection and prosperity of the people.

July

Bakatue Festival
Literally translated to mean “opening up of the Benya Lagoon into the sea”, Bakatue symbolizes the
beginning of a fishing season, which is the main livelihood of the people of Elmina. It is celebrated annually in Elmina on the first Tuesday in July and originated centuries ago, long before the arrival of the Europeans. The splendid ceremonies include a durbar of chiefs, a colouful regatta of canoes on the Benya Lagoon and processions. A solemn “net casting” ceremony symbolizes the beginning of a new fishing season, and the catch is offered to the deities of the traditional area. You are invited to take part in the regatta and merry-making.

Bombei Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Sekondi, in the Western Region.

Ekyen Kofie Festival (Yam Festival)
Is celebrated by the people of Sekondi, in the Western Region.

Kuntum Festival (Yam Festival)
Is celebrated by the people of Enyam-Maim, in the Central Region.

Wodomi Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Manya Krobo, in the Eastern Region.

August

Asafotu-Fiam Festival
“Asafotufiam” is an annual warrior’s festival celebrated by the people of Ada, in the Greater Accra Region from the last Thursday of July to the first weekend of August. It commemorates the victories of the warriors in battle and those who fell on the battlefield. To re-enact these historic events, the “warrior” dresses in traditional battle dress and stage a mock battle. This is also a time when the young men are introduced to warfare. The festival also ushers in the harvest cycle, for this special customs and ceremonies are performed. These include purification ceremonies. The celebration reaches its climax in a durbar of chiefs, a colouful procession of the Chiefs in palanquins with their retinue. They are accompanied by traditional military groups called “Asafo Companies” amidst drumming, singing and dancing through the streets and on to the durbar grounds. At the durbar, greetings are exchanged between the chiefs, libations are poured and declarations of allegiance made.

Odambea Festival
“Odambea” is celebrated on the last Saturday of August by the “Nkusukum” chiefs and people of the Saltpond Traditional Area. This event commemorates the migration of the “Nkusukum” people centuries ago from Techiman (500km away) to their present settlement. “Odambea” means “fortified link”, a name resulting from the role played by the “Nkusukum” people in keeping the migrant groups in touch with each other following their exodus from Techiman. A special feature of the festival is the re-enactment of the ancient life styles of the people, which will provide you with a unique opportunity to learn more about how they migrated.

Ahoba Kese Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Abura, in the Central Region.

Edim Kese Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Sekondi, in the Western Region.

Equadoto Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Ayeldu-Cape-Coast, in the Central Region in honour of their ancestors.

Homowo Festival
This is a harvest festival celebrated by the people of the Ga Traditional Area, in the Greater Accra Region. It originated from a period of great famine which was eventually followed by a bumper harvest in grain and fish. Thus, the word “Homowo”, literally means “hooting at hunger”. The main highlight of this month-long festival is the special dish prepared from ground corn, steamed and mixed with palm oil and eaten with palmnut soup. Prayers for a peaceful and prosperous year are offered. Each Ga chief is followed by a retinue with drumming, dancing and singing through his area where he sprinkles some of the special dish called “kpokpoi” and pours libation. It is merry-making for Gas, and visitors in particular are invited home to join in the feasting.

Apatwa Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Dixcove, in the Western Region (Lasts almost a month).

Awubia Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Awutu, in the Central Region in memory of their dead.

Kundum Festival
Kundum is celebrated from August to November by the Western Region’s coastal tribes, the Ahantas and Nzemas. Beginning in August, the festival moves west from Takoradi to town after town at weekly intervals. Rituals include purification of the stools and prayers to the ancestors for a good harvest. Traditional drumming and dancing feature prominently.

Afenorto (Staying At Home)
This festival is celebrated annually by the people of Mepe, in the Volta Region to take stock of their lives, strengthen family and friendship bonds and pay homage to their ancestors through pouring of libation and funeral obsequies. It is also the period during which the people take stock of their lives and plan for the future; when young men meet their future spouses and pay homage to their ancestors through libations and undertake development projects.

September

Fetu Afahye Festival
It is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of September by communities in the Cape Coast Traditional Area (Fetu). It is characterized by a durbar of chiefs and processions of “Asafo Companies” (traditional warrior groups) and numerous social organisations. Every member of the group is adorned in rich and colourful clothes, thus creating the grandeur of this festival which literally means “adorning of new clothes”. A procession of the “7 Asafo Companies” in their unique costumes depicts a fusion of the “Fante” and European cultures, (typically, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish and British), which have been sustained over many centuries. Customary rites include the slaughter of a cow to the 77 Deities in the area to obtain their blessings.

Nkronu Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Shama/Beposo, in the Western Region. A very colourful festival and it involves purification of stools, prayer to ancestors for good harvest and long life.

Sometutuza Festival
Annual colourful festival of the “SOME” people of Agbozume, in the Eastern Region to commemorate the exodus from their original Home (Keta) and subsequent settlement at Agbozume. Activities of the festival include a display (exhibition) of different types of “Ewe Kente” cloth, traditional and woven textile.

Akwambo Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Enyam-Maim-Cape Coast, in the Central Region.

Ayerye Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Enyam-Maim-Cape Coast, in the Central Region.

Akyempem Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Agona, in the Ashanti Region.
Odwira Festival This festival is celebrated in most Akwapim towns during the months of September and October, with the most colourful festivities taking place at Akropong, Amanokrom and Aburi, in the Eastern Region. During “Odwira”, the Chiefs sit in state and receive homage from the people.

The ceremonies include purification of the stools and performance of traditional rites. Libations are poured to the gods for prosperity and the general well-being of the people during the ensuing year. Drumming and dancing accompany the celebration.

Kobine Festival
This post-harvest festival gives thanks to the gods for a bountiful harvest. It is normally celebrated in the month of September by the Dagaaba people in the Upper West Region. The 3-day festival culminates in feasting and dancing.

October

Ohumkyire Festival
Is celebrated by the people of Kibi, in the Eastern Region.

November

Fao Festival
a harvest festival by the inhabitants in honour of their gods ? Paga, Upper East Region

Agumatsa Waterfalls Festival
This festival is celebrated in November by the people of the Wli Traditional Area, in the Volta Region. They give thanks to God for giving them the Wli Waterfalls, since its waters are used for practically all domestic purposes. There is dancing during the durbar, which usually starts at mid-day and officially ends around 5:00pm.

Hogbetsotso Festival
The “Anlo Ewes”, an ethnic group on the eastern cost (Volta Region) of Ghana, are believed to have settled in Notsie in Togo when they first migrated from Southern Sudan. Legend has it that they escaped from the tyrannical ruler of Notsie, Ago-Koli, by walking backwards. In order to commemorate the exodus and the bravery of their traditional rulers who led them on the journey, the people created this annual “Festival of the Exodus”. There are many ceremonies associated with the festival, including a peace-making period where all outstanding problems are supposed to be resolved. This is a purification ceremony of the traditional stool and a period of general cleaning when the villages are swept and rubbish burnt. This cleaning ceremony begins at the Volta Estuary and goes on for days until it finally reaches the Mono River in the Republic of Benin. An essential aspect of the festival is a durbar of chiefs and the people. Chiefs dress in very colouful regalia and sit in state to receive homage from their subjects. Dancing, singing and general merry-making go on throughout the festival. The main durbar always take place on the first Saturday of November in Anloga, in the Volta Region.

Kwafie Festival
The people of Dormaa Ahenkro, Berekum and Nsuatre, in the Brong Ahafo Region celebrate the “Kwafie Festival” between November and December. This events is celebrated in remembrance of the ancestors and it is also meant as purification. Among the many activities, the most interesting is the burning of a large bonfire in the courtyard. The Dormaas are reputed to have brought fire to Ghana and this legend is symbolically remembered through this bonfire. A durbar is also held during which homage is paid to the Paramount Chief by his sub-chiefs and subjects. It is a period when all descendants of the original Dormaas (who broke away from the Akwamus and migrated here) come home to a grand reunion. Like Apoo, this festival fosters a spirit of unity among the people. Highlights of the activities include a pageant of the royal courts with drumming, dancing and a display of the paraphernalia of the Chiefs.

Apoo Festival
“Apoo” is celebrated in Techiman and Wenchi, in the Brong Ahafo Region in November. It is a festival for the purification of the people to rid them of social evil. The festival lasts one week and includes a variety of recreational cultural activity. It ends on the sixth day with the “Apoo” procession, when insinuations are cast about the evil doings of some of the citizens. Even the Chief is not spared. This period is a time for family reunions and unity among the people. You are welcome to join the festivities.

Sasabobirim Festival
A week long annual festival of the people of Awuah Domase, in the Brong Ahafo Region. It is celebrated in remembrance of their brave chief who joined Yaa Asantewaa to fight the Europeans in the early part of the 20th century.

December

Eiok Festival
The annual “Fiok Festival” is celebrated by the Builsas of Sandema in December. This is a war festival which re-enacts the ancient heroic exploits of the Builsas. Amid drumming and dancing, the gods are invoked for protection and for a bountiful harvest.

Adae and Akwasidae Festivals
The pomp and pageantry of the Ashanti kingdom is most vividly brought to life during beautiful Adae festivals which are held at the palace once every 6 weeks. These are occasions when the King, riding in a palanquin and adorned with all his gold ornaments, comes out to receive the homage of his sub-chiefs and people. It is a spectacular sight to watch the colouful canopies and umbrellas, the skillful drummers, dancers, horn-blowers and praise-singers at these regular festivals, held in honour of their ancestral spirits. Time your visit to coincide with an Akwasidae festival, (Sunday Adae). You can determine the Akwasidae date by counting 6 weeks down the calendar from one Adae.

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Ghana Culture and Heritage

March 26, 2019
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Ghana pulsates with life. From the bustle of downtown Accra to the atmospheric adobe villages of the north, from the ancient Kingdom of Asante to the mediaeval mosques of Larabnga and Bole, it is a country whose immense cultural diversity both thrills and fascinates visitors, drawing them into a daily rhythm that is uniquely and unmistakenly African. A common feature of all Ghanaian cultures is a love of festivals. Barely a week goes without one or other town or village holding its major annual celebration, while everyday personal events such as funerals, name-giving ceremonies and weddings tend also to be imbued with something of a carnival atmosphere.

The normal starting point for exploring Ghana is the historical capital Accra, one of the safest and most navigable of African cities, and brimming with interest. Accra’s atmospheric older quarters Usshertown and Jamestown are characterized by an architectural cocktail spanning several centuries, spiced with striking landmarks such as the 17th century Osu Castle and Jamestown Lighthouse, the more modern Independence Arch and Nkrumah Mausoleum, and the lively fishing market. Modem Accra is epitomized by Cantonments Road, more widely known as Oxford District, Accra’s hip downtown with bustling shops, handicrafts, fabrics, hotels, restaurants, etc..

Ghana’s second city Kumasi, is the traditional capital for the Asante people, heirs to a centuries-old kingdom that once sprawled from its core in central Ghana into what are nor Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso. Better known to outsiders as Ashanti, Asante was the last and most enduring of a succession of centralized states that controlled the goldmines of Obuasi, though its wealth and influence was also linked to the ample supply of captives it provided to coastal slave traders. Traditional Ashanti landmarks include a beautiful 300-year old fetish shrine at Besease, the royal kente weaving village of Bonwire, and Manhyia Palace, where the Asante King sits in session every sixth Sunday, heralded by a procession of dignitaries and a fanfare of exuberant drumming and horn blowing that capture the pageantry of Asante’s past.

There is also the coastal Fante Kingdom, Asante’s southern counterpart and traditional rival, centered on Mankerssim and incorporating the ports of Cape Coast, Elmina, Anomabu Saltpond and Winneba, where local fishermen still ply their trade in colourful pirogues, and life is ruled by the whimsical winds and tides of the ancient Atlantic. The north of Ghana, by contrast, has strong cultural links to the sandy Sahel, clearly visible in the local style of dress, a strong Islamic influence dating back to mediaeval times, and the captivating mud architecture of villages such as Paga, Sirigu and Larabanga.

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How to Weave Kente

March 6, 2018
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Warping is the process whereby many long yarns are put together to form the yarn that run lengthwise in a woven fabric. This is done on a warping mill or warping board. But the most frequent and traditionally used one is the warping mill. The next process will be to build up the warp after securing the figures for the number of warp ends and total number of hanks needed for the warp. According to SOURCES, initially primitive weavers drove pegs into the ground and moved with their warp yarns to and from these pegs till they obtained the total length and number of ends required.

The procedures for general kente weaving are based on the following; designing, yarn preparation.

Preparation of the yarn for warping

Yarns for kente weaving are warping, raddling, beaming, heddling, reeding, tie-up, and weaving. purchased on hanks and these are wound onto ‘‘duaduwa’’ literally known as bobbins to the required yarn length by the help of the ‘‘ɛntene nnua’’ also known as warping mill. Warping of Yarns

Warping is the process whereby many long yarns are put together to form the yarn that run lengthwise in a woven fabric. This is done on a warping mill or warping board. But the most frequent and traditionally used one is the warping mill. The next process will be to build up the warp after securing the figures for the number of warp ends and total number of hanks needed for the warp. According to SOURCES, initially primitive weavers drove pegs into the ground and moved with their warp yarns to and from these pegs till they obtained the total length and number of ends required.

Presently, the traditional weavers of Adanwomase still practice this system of warping which has been identified as one of the most difficult and cumbersome task. To avoid this hectic task, different methods were introduced. These new methods involve the use of the warping board, warping frame, and the warping mill which assist in three different ways. They assist to align the warp yarn in parallel formation and support them
with the characteristics

crosses that every warp needs to avoid the problems of entanglement in the warp during weaving. For longer warps the warping mill will be very necessary. When warping, the warp yarns are guided by one of the weaver’s hand while the other hand turns the warping mill in both clockwise and anticlockwise directions with the weaver remaining stationary.

Raddling
With the crosses still maintained, the warp threads are spread into the dents of the raddle according to the width desired. The raddle helps the weaver to know and obtain an approximate width of the warp to be woven. The top of the raddle, unlike the reed is removable and when the warp ends are placed in the dents, the top is capped on the teeth to prevent the threads from falling off.

In traditional looms at Adanwomase, after raddling there is a heddling through the ‘‘asanan’’ and later through the ‘‘asatia’’ before reeding; the ends of the warp yarn are then secured with the ‘‘ayaasedua.’’ After securing the ends of the warp with the ‘‘ayaasedua,’’ the other ends of the warp are stretched over the warp carrier or the warp roller and then stretched further away from the loom and then secured with the ‘‘ntwesuo.’’ The ‘‘ntwesuo’’ is made up of wooden board with stones as loads on the board.

Beaming

In the case of conventional looms or the improved version of the traditional loom, the beaming proceeds raddling. Beaming is the process whereby the long warp is stretched taut and rolled or wound onto the warp beam on the loom. In beaming the raddle together with the warp threads are tied into the slay board of the loom. The warp ends are then stretched taut by two to three persons from the front of the loom where the weaver sits and one or two persons use their fingers to comb or dress the threads to remove any entanglements. The warp threads are then rolled unto the roller making sure that an even tension from those pulling is maintained to avoid any slackness during weaving from either the selvedge or any other part of the warp.

The warp is rolled evenly unto the warp roller and at the same time tension is maintained. When the entire warps are almost rolled up to the warp roller, the few inches remaining at the raddle is cut off and loosely knotted front of the raddle. The top part of the raddle is removed and two flat shed sticks are pushed to the back roller to maintain the process. After all these, the warp threads are ready for heddling.

Reeding
After heddling all the yarns are then ready to pass through the dents of the reed. The reed is fixed in the sley and tied to make it firm for the reeding process. With a reed hook, each heddled yarn is threaded through each dent. In reeding, it was observed that the selvedge of the fabric is reinforced with more warp yarns than those in the main fabric. This is done by doubling the selvedge yarns in the dents. When all reeding is done, the loose knots are untied and a section of the warp is drawn.
This is divided into two halves, one in each hand, then passed under the fly rod of the cloth beam, then over it and under the two warp section. After reading, equal tension is applied to the warp for easy shedding.

Tie-up
This is the tying of the treadles and lams to the heddle frames to facilitate correct opening of the shed for weaving. A strong cord and a switch knot or a non-slip knot should be used for the tying. The lams and treadles have series of holes along their length and the tie-up is done according to the design to be woven. The tie-up cords should be of equal length to provide proper opening of the shed.

The treadles are made to hang evenly and parallel at the same height from the ground within the easy reach of the foot to create a very good shed.

KENTE LOOM

The framework of an Ashanti loom contains thirteen pieces, named as follows:

The four posts, 1,2,3,4, called Kofi Nsa nnua ie Kofi hand sticks, Kofi being a personal name generally implying that the person so named was born on a Friday. The lower longitudinal support 5 and 6 are called ntoho, and the upper supports 7 and 8, which are generally notched, are known as nsantwerewa (i.e. Small hand steps). The cross front bar(9), over which lie the warp threads, is called oponko dua, i.e. The horse stick; the rear cross rod (10) the ayase dua, i.e. The belly stick (our breast beam) ; around this rod the cloth is wound. At the end of this rod, and on the right hand of the weaver, two holes are bored, into one of which a wooden rod (13) is inserted leading from the cross bar (9). This enables the weaver to take a turn on the breast beam or ‘belly stick’ (10), and slip the rod into one of the holes and so prevent the pull of the web from causing this bar to revolve and thus slacken the warp.
Test weave
After all the processes above, various weft colours are used on the warp to identify the appropriate colours to be used either for the plane weave or design weaves before the actual weaving starts.

Weaving

The main weaving of the kente cloth starts after passing through the above processes. According to Opanin Kwasi Boateng, old kente weaver of Adanwomase, there are two types of weave. These are plane weave which makes use of a pair of ‘‘asatia’’ heddles and the design or the double weave which uses a pair of ‘‘asanan’’ heddles. According to him, every apprentice or beginner must undergo the weaving of the plain weave before the design weave.

There may be other new techniques involved in addition to the above processes which were not provided in this study but at the moment these are the processes that were observed by researchers.

Securing the crosses and creating chains
After the total number of warp ends has been obtained the crosses should be properly secured before removing the warp from the warping board.
To preserve the crosses, care should be taken in the course of removing the warp from the warp mill. They are preserved by passing a string through the openings created by the various pegs of the warping mill. To remove the warp, first remove the first peg, and then pass your right hand through the opening created. Grasp a length of warp and next is to draw your hand through the opening made by one’s wrist.

Continue to grasp short pieces and pass your hand through the loop till the whole warp is exhausted. At the end of the process the long warp mill look short and handy in a form of a chain stitch. It can also be done by trying along the length of the warp in short pieces to prevent entanglements. After warping, it would be observed that the weavers secure the crosses and bundles at interval along the warp length. They continue to roll the warp length to form a ball with the crosses forming at the end of the boa

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