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People, Language & Religion
 
 
 

People

It is fairly certain that Ghana has been occupied by Negroid peoples since prehistoric times. Members of the Akan family, who make up some 44% of the population, include the Twi, or Ashanti, inhabiting the Ashanti Region and central Ghana, and the Fanti, inhabiting the coastal areas. In the southwest, the Nzima, Ahanta, Evalue, and other tribes speak languages related to Twi and Fanti.

The Moshi-Dagomba constitute 16% of the population, the Ewe 13%, and the Ga 8%. The Accra plains are inhabited by tribes speaking variants of Ga, while east of the Volta River are the Ewe living in what used to be British-mandated Togoland. All these tribes are fairly recent arrivals in Ghana, the Akan having come between the 12th and 15th centuries, the Ga-Adangbe in the 16th century, and the Ewe in the 17th century.

Most of the inhabitants of the Northern Region belong to the Mole-Dagbani group of Voltaic peoples or to the Gonja, who appear to bear some relation to the Akan. European and other groups account for only 0.2% of the population.

Language

Of the 56 indigenous languages and dialects spoken in Ghana, 31 are used mainly in the northern part of the country. The languages follow the tribal divisions, with the related Akan languages of Twi and Fanti being most prominent. Also widely spoken are Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe and Ga. English is the official language and is the universal medium of instruction in schools. It is officially supplemented by five local languages.

Religion

An estimated 69% of the population belonged to various Christian denominations, 16% were Muslims (though Muslim leaders claim the number is closer to 30%), and about 9% of the population practices other religions, including the Baha'i Faith, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Ninchiren Shoshu Soka Gakkai, Sri Sathya Sai Baba Sera, Sat Sang, Eckanker, the Divine Light Mission, Hare Krishna, Rastafarianism and indigenous religions.

Christian denominations include Catholics, three branches of Methodists, Anglicans, Mennonites, two branches of Presbyterians, Lutherans, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Seventh-Day Adventists, Pentecostals, Baptists and Society of Friends. Some Christians also include elements of indigenous religions in their own practices. There are three primary branches of Islam within the country: Ahlussuna, Tijanis and Ahmadis. A small number of Muslims are Shi'a. Zetahil, a religion that is unique to Ghana, combines elements of both Islam and Christianity.

The indigenous religions generally involve a belief in a supreme being along with lesser gods. Veneration of ancestors is also common. The Afrikan Renaissance Mission, also known as Afrikania, is an organisation which actively supports recognition and practice of these traditional religions.

In many areas of the country, there is still a strong belief in witchcraft. Those suspected of being witches (usually older women) have been beaten or lynched and occasionally banished to "witch camps", which are small villages in the north primarily populated by suspected witches. The law does provide protection for alleged witches and incidents of banishment and violence against supposed offenders seems to be decreasing.

Although there is no state religion, attendance at assemblies or devotional services is required in public schools, with a service that is generally Christian in nature. However, this requirement is not always enforced.

 

 
 

 



 


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