The republic of Ghana, derives its name from the ancient Ghana Empire in the Western Sudan which fell in the 11th century. Ghana is the first black African colony to gain independence and until independence from the British colonial rule on March 6, 1957, Ghana was known as the Gold Coast. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive and others came later. The capital of Ghana was moved from Cape Coast to Accra by the British in 1876. See independence square at Accra Ghana.
Ghana coat of arms
The first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, graduated from Lincoln University and returned to Ghana to make it the first African country to gain independence. On 1st July,1960 Ghana became a republic with Kwame Nkrumah as its first President.
Jerry John Rawlings, Pres. of Ghana, and Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, the First Lady, have been conferred honorary doctorate degrees by Lincoln University, Pennsylvania. Nana Konadu Rawlings is the Pres. of a non-governmental organization working for women and development.
For several years now Ghana has been playing host to an ever-increasing number of visitors, especially tourists from all over the world. Ghanaians are a hospitable, respectable and peace-loving people. One could tell from their greeting forms and general behavior. Ghanaians have white and generous smiles when you greet them. Traditionally, children are taught in their homes to respect their elders. A child who fails to observe social values is considered as untrained and uncultured. Visitors from all over the world are sure to be well received in any Ghanaian community that they happen to visit. In all Ghanaian communities, a visitor is first given a seat, and then water to drink before he is greeted and asked the purpose of his visit.
The smile on their face seems to be permanently in place and the world have observed that Ghanaians
are very patient as people, kind not only to visitors but to themselves too.
Women are highly respected. A woman is given a seat first before a man. However, if water is being offered, it is the man who drinks first. Hardly ever touching or kissing in public, for instance, Ghanaians may not be particularly demonstrative in love, but their feelings for their partners must not be mistaken. Their love is pure.
Ghanaians are well known for their wisdom which is expressed in their use of proverbs, especially at the courts of chiefs, and in bedtime stories and anecdotes.
In traditional communities in Ghana, every child is a treasured element of the society irrespective of how it was conceived. Once it had been born, it is an accepted commodity, and the Ghanaian in his right senses with his feet firmly fixed in his traditions will do all it takes to see that the child grows in happiness.
Being young or old, the Ghanaian belongs to a large family. Family in Ghana, goes beyond spouse
and children. There are parents, siblings, uncles, cousins, aunts, grand-parents and great grand-relations.
Behind every Ghanaian, there is the extended family which is a source of strenght and assuarance. In times
of difficulty, they all share the cost of relief and also share the times of joy together.United we stand.
Ghanaian notions of goodness or virtue
Ghana is located in west Africa with the Atlantic Ocean to the south, Togo to the east, Cote dIvoire to the west and Burkina Faso to the North.
Ghana lies within the tropics and on the Greenwich Meridien. There are two main seasons, the Rainy season and the Dry season. The dry season starts around late August and ends in February. Minerals such as gold, diamond, bauxite and manganese are also found in Ghana.
Ghana's population was estimated to be 17,080,000 in 1994.
See the map of Ghana.
NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE DAY: March, 6th (1957)
REPUBLIC DAY: 1 July
CURRENCY:Cedi = 100 pesewas. View .
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: English
Regional divisions and their capitals
Ghana and Humanism
Ghana is one of the first African countries to have an incipient humanist movement. Like most African nations, Ghana was formerly under European colonial rule, but it was
not widely settled by Europeans because of its inhospitable climate.
The northern part of the country has long been Muslim, but Christians, who arrived in the
18th century, now outnumber Muslims two to one. Fortunately, Ghana is free of the tribal
conflicts which afflict many other African countries.
It is one of the most economically progressive African countries and could be the starting
point for the humanist movement in Africa.
The country still practice English common law and customary law. Ghana has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
Ghana is a member of:
OAU, UN, IMF, ECA, ECOWAS, FAO, G-24, G-77, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, UNESCO,
IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, CCC, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IOC, ISO,
ITU, LORCS, MINURSO, NAM, ACP, CCC, UNCTAD, ICAO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM,
UNPROFOR, UNTAC, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
There are about six languages that are used on the national radio and television. These are: English, Akan, Dagbani, Ewe, Ga, and Hausa. Even though English is the official language, it is only used in government and business circles in the cities and urban areas. Akan in its various dialects enjoys a wide usage throughout the country. It is a trade language for most Ghanaians.
Most Ghanaians speak one other Ghanaian language or more languages in addition to their own. There are about 60 language groups in Ghana.
Most festivals in Ghana are for purification, thanksgiving, dedication and reunion. They are also considered symbolically as maintaining the link between the living and the dead. It is dedicated to the honor of the spirits of the ancestors believed to be a guiding force in all human activities.
Some of the most popular festivals are:
Adaekese: Celebrated by the people of Ashanti.
Akwambo: Celebrated by the Fantes of Agona and Gomoa.
Odwira: An Akan festival celebrated by the Ashantis and Akuapim.
Homowo: Celebrated by the Ga people of Accra.
Hogbetsotso: Celebrated by the Ewe people of Anlo.
Damba: Celebrated by the poeple of the Northern and Upper Regions of Ghana.
Bugum: Celebrated by the Dagombas of the Northern Region.
Kwafie: Celebrated by the Dormaa in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Aboakyere: Effutu people of Winneba.
Oguaa Fetu Afahye: Celebrated by the people of Cape Coast.
Dressing in Ghana traditionally reflects the geo-political division of the country into north and south. Kente is the most popular cloth for festive occasions. Cloth is commonly worn by men from the south and the smock which is becoming a gown for all occasions is common among men from the north. Ghana's kente cloth has spread in popularity around the world. The kente identifies where a person is from, and sometimes, their station in life. The first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah used both the smock and the kente cloth widely to portray Ghana's culture in the area of clothing. The kente cloth and the smock can be purchased at any commercial market in the urban areas where they are sold by numerous merchants.
The Asanteman Association in New York City
The Asanteman Association in New York City is one of the major Ghanaian associations in the New York City area, with the goal of promoting the welfare of the Ghanaian immigrants.
Founded in 1982, the Association aims to bring back the glory of the Asante Kingdom, its culture and traditions. The Association's activities are aimed at helping immigrant Ghanaians, especially the newcomers, to adjust to new surroundings. The installation practices and other sociocultural activities are designed to promote ethnic unity among the Ghanaians.
Check out these cool links to learn more about GHANA:
Ghana home page
The land of gold
Republic of Ghana home
Ashanti home page
Africa Home Page
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Sources: Black Issues in Higher Education, Journal of Black Studies, D. Kondor.
All Contents Copyright ©1996-97, FRANK BOATENG
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