Seated in the fertile area of West Africa, Ghana prides itself in diversity- not only ecologically, but ethnically as well. With beautiful coastlines and savannas to the south, and lush forests to the north, this country is bursting with plains, hills, rivers, and waterfalls. Translated as "Warrior King", Ghana has a deep love for both its traditional roots and its modern advances, which is clearly seen in the impressive capital, Accra. While English is the official language, there are many other recognized languages, including Asante Twi, Guan, and Ewe, and it's not uncommon to hear French as your walking down the street.
After a long history of colonization, Ghana became an independent nation on March 6, 1957, at the stroke of midnight. Previously known as the separate groups of the Ashanti, British Togoland, Gold Coast and Northern Nations, Ghana became the name under which many people groups united as a symbol of hope and future across Africa. The flag, the colors of which still stand out in modern Ghanaian fashion and art, highlight shades of red, gold and green, representing the blood price that was paid for their independence, the natural mineral wealth of Ghana, the bountiful grasslands, and finally a black star, the chosen symbol of the Ghanaian people and the long-awaited freedom of African as a whole.
Ghana, despite its irreplaceable global contributions to literature, art, music, and film, has received little recognition. If you're looking to broaden the scope of the content you consume, here are a few suggestions to get you started!
Voices of Ghana was a literary anthology of collected poetry, stories and other valuable literary works of Ghana, broadcasted on the radio
Ethiopia Unbound by J.E. Casely Hayford, published in 1911
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah, published in 196
Tail of the Blue Bird by Nii Ayikwei Parkes, published in 2009
The Marriage of Anansewa by Efua Sutherland, a play published in 1975
Adinkra printing is a tradition form of art unique to Ghanaian culture. Full of motifs, proverbs, and geometric patterns, there are hidden meanings in the art, only translatable through deep knowledge of the traditional symbolism. You can find this art in clothing, wall decorations, and even tattoos.
Below are just a few genres and artists we recommend you check out:
- African jazz, created by Ghanaian artist Kofi Ghanaba
- Ayigbe Edem, a reggae musician
- Afro-reggae, Rocky Dawuni
- Reggie Rockstone, the creator of the hip-life music genre
- Sarkodie, a famous hip-hop or hip-life artist
Dance is also incredibly important to Ghanaian culture- recently a group of pallbearers from coastal Ghana became famous for the entrance dance while they carried a casket to be buried.
If movies are more your style, we have a few suggestions!
I Told You So, 1970
The African Deal, 1973
Kukurantumi: the Road to Accra, 1983
Cobra Verde, 1987
Heritage Africa, 1988
Ghanaian cuisine is just as diverse as the rest of the country. Soups, stews, and seafood are most common, and fish is a staple for most dishes. If you enjoy learning new dishes, here are a few centerpieces of Ghanaian food (starring a few Youtubers who really know what they're doing):
1) Banku, a boiled dumpling made of fermented corn
2) Shito, a staple sauce
3) Puff Puff, a delicious sweet snack
4) Fufu, Ghana's national dish
Ghanaian fashion goes far beyond the desire to wear bright colors and interesting patterns. The traditional fashion depends on the ethnic group, though Adinkra makes appearances in most fabrics, but the most well-known is Kente. Kente is a ceremonial cloth that is hand-woven using a horizontal treadle loom, and has deep, historical values. Considered a form of written language, woven Kente comes in a variety of vibrant colors. Modern Ghanaian fashion embraces the traditional, ceremonial patterns, and is easily recognized today.
If you're looking to represent Ghana, and celebrate its independence and history through fashion, check out our Ghana-inspired clothing at Lex Pyerse! Our mission is to celebrate and bring awareness to African diversity, one country at a time.
Wow it’s fascinating to hear about the meaning of the colors behind the Ghanan flag! Ghana seems to have such a rich history and culture. I’m definitely going to go check out some of those songs you recommended.
That was very interesting – Ghana is definitely a country I don’t know much about. I see some great vegetarian options in the recipes so I will have to give them a try. These last few years with working from home, I’ve been cooking at home a lot more than I used to and it’s fun to experiment with new dishes!