In this African lifestyle narrative, Ghana is our focus – a country located along the Gulf of Guinea, in West Africa. Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east, and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Welcome to the land of the “warrior king”!
Ghana is one of the leading countries of Africa, partly because of its considerable natural wealth – cocoa, oil, lush forests, diverse animal life, and miles of sandy beaches along a picturesque coast. Although relatively small in area and population, Ghana became the first black African country south of the Sahara to achieve independence from colonial rule. It gained its independence from Britain on March 6, 1957.
Ghana and its Neighbours
The population of Ghana is approximately 30 million, with a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. According to the 2010 census, 71.2% of the population was Christian, 17.6% was Muslim, and 5.2% practiced traditional faiths. Its diverse geography and ecology ranges from coastal savannahs to tropical rain forests, as reported by Wikipedia.
Ghana is relatively rich in animal life. Large mammals include lions, leopards, hyenas, antelope, elephants, buffalo, wild hogs, chimpanzees, and many kinds of monkeys. Among the snakes are pythons, cobras, horned and puff adders, and green mambas.
In the rivers, crocodiles, hippopotamuses, manatees, and otters can be found. There are many species of lizards, tortoises, and giant snails. Among the numerous birds are parrots, hornbills, kingfishers, eagles, kites, herons, cuckoos, nightjars, sunbirds, egrets, vultures, snakebirds, and plantain eaters.
Lifestyle and Culture
The Ghanaian society is based on hierarchy. People are respected because of their age, experience, wealth and or position. Older people are viewed as wise and granted respect. In a group, one can always see a preferential treatment for the eldest member present. With respect comes responsibility and people expect the most senior person to make decisions that are in the best interest of the group. The foreigners’ most common way of greeting is a handshake with a smile.
Although many facets of Ghanaian culture vary between ethnic groups, the overall unification of the culture is perhaps one of the reasons why Ghana has enjoyed a stable and peaceful climate in the post-colonial era. Ethnically, the population of Ghana is diverse with three major ethnic and numerous minority groups.
In the Ghanaian culture, it has been observed over the years by foreigners that community is everything. People adore dancing, greetings are imperative, the way you dress matters a lot and then bargaining being a form of art. From the food eaten to the dress worn during festivals and others occasions, it’s by no doubt that Ghana has a rich culture.
Traditional Ghanaian Attire
Ghana is the world’s second largest cocoa producer behind Ivory Coast, and Africa’s biggest gold miner after South Africa. It is one of the continent’s fastest growing economies and has made major progress in the attainment and consolidation of growth. Significant progress has been made in poverty reduction. In fact, Ghana is the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to achieve the Millenium Development Goal 1, which is the target of halving extreme poverty. From this African lifestyle narrative Ghana is a worthy leader!
The official language of Ghana is English, just one of the lasting remnants of the colonial era on local culture. The English spoken in Ghana, however is with a distinct West African dialect. The use of English given that Ghana is surrounded by Francophone countries, has helped establish the Ghanaian identity as distinct from its neighbours.
More than a hundred languages and dialects are spoken in Ghana. These languages are spoken basically based on where the speaker is located. The people of the Central, Ashanti, Eastern and Western Regions speak different languages. In the northern region, more than 10 languages spoken there, and the Upper East Region has more than 5 languages spoken there. The Greater Accra Region is noted for languages like Ga and Adangbe, while in the Upper West Region, different languages are spoken there. In the Volta Region, up to 7 different languages spoken in that region.
Some Festivals in Ghana
The Bakatue Festival 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. The splendid ceremonies include a durbar of chiefs, a colourful regatta of canoes on the Benya Lagoon and processions.
Fire Festival is celebrated by all the traditional areas of the Northern Region. During the festival, the traditionalists pacify their gods whilst the Muslims prepare a black concoction for writing Quranic verses on slates for fortification and purification. Torches are lighted amidst drumming, dancing and a procession on the principal streets of the region. It takes place on the 9th day of Bugum (July)
The Aboakyer festival is celebrated on the 1st Saturday in May by the Effutu’s of Winneba Traditional Area in the Central Region of Ghana. It is an ancient rite of animal sacrifice to the god Otu to celebrate their safe migration from the ancient western Sudan Empire to their present home, Winneba and also to remove evil and predict a good harvest.
Some Tourist Attractions in Ghana
The Akosombo Dam
Kakum National Park
Cape Coast Castle
Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park
From this African lifestyle narrative Ghana is truly the land of the “Warrior King”! Why not plan a visit there to behold its beauty?