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Culture & People


The literary tradition of northern Ghana has its roots in Islam, while the literature of the south was influenced by Christian missionaries. As a result of European influence, a number of Ghanaian groups have developed writing systems based on Latin script, and several indigenous languages have produced a rich body of literature. The principal written Ghanaian languages are the Twi dialects of Asante, Akwapim and Fante. Other written languages are Nzema, Ewe, Dagbane, Ga and Kasena (a Grusi language). Most publications in the country, however, are written in English.

Arts & Crafts

Kente Cloth

Kente is one of the symbols of the Ghanaian chieftaincy, which remains strong throughout the country, particularly in the areas populated by members of the culturally and politically dominant Ashanti tribe. The Ashanti's chief, known as the Asantehene, is perhaps the most revered individual in the country. Like other Ghanaian chiefs, he wears bright Kente, gold bracelets, rings and amulets, and is always accompanied by numerous ornate umbrellas (which are also a symbol of the chieftaincy itself). Weaving is a highly developed craft, with dozens of standardised and named textile designs. The colours and patterns of the Kente are carefully chosen by the weaver and the wearer.

Kente cloth is worn primarily in the southern part of the country and – in contrast to other forms of traditional weaving – is reserved mainly for joyous occasions. It is also quite appropriate for outsiders to wear it for religious and festive occasions.

Adinkra Symbols

During the 13th Century, the asante people developed their unique art of adinkra printing. Hand printed and embroidered Adinkra clothes were made and used exclusively by the royalty and spiritual leaders for devotional ceremonies and rituals. Each of the motifs that make up the corpus of adinkra symbolism has a name and meaning derived from a proverb, a historical event, human attitude, animal behaviour, plant life, or shapes of inanimate and man-made objects. These are graphically rendered in stylised geometric shapes. Meanings of motifs may be categorised as follows: Aesthetics, Ethics, Human Relations and Religious concepts.

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