Akan are an ethnolinguistic grouping of the Guinea coast people who speak Akan languages (of the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo family). They comprise the speakers of the Akyem, Anyi, Asante (Ashanti), Attié, Baule, Brong, Chakosi, Fante (Fante) and Guang languages; some scholars also consider Twi as a distinct Akan language. Most people of the Akan tribe live in Ghana where they settled in the successive waves of migration that happened between 11th and 18th centuries; others inhabited the eastern part of Cote d’Ivoire and parts of Togo.

In the Akan Community, Yam is the staple food crop but plantain and taro are also dominant.  Mostly, Cocoa and palm oil are the relevant commercial resources. The most distinct aspect of the Akan religious practices is based on beliefs in a supreme deity who created the universe and in lesser deities and spirits. Central to the Akan religious ideas is the strong belief in a community of spirits. These several spirits range from the supreme being or creator God (Nana Nyame or Onyankopon), gods or goddesses (A bosom) and the earth deity (Asaase Yaa) to the ancestral spirits (Nananom Nsamfo). The Akans have special beliefs and taboos. For example, it is a taboo to go to the farm on certain days because it is believed that the spirit needs privacy for themselves on that day.

Furthermore, the average population of the Akan people is estimated to be about 20 million. They engaged in various trading activities like slavery and gold mining (among the Asantes). Politically, the Akans are organized into a group of several extended families, headed by a council of elders.  The council of elders is elected by the members of the extended family.  All properties and power are bound within the matrilineal system. Akans derive their surname which can be inherited depending on the “Ntoro” (simply what is reserved by the matrilineal line for an Akan). They, however, do not totally disregard the patriarchal system. Inheritance rights are basically vested in the male, but when there are no male heirs, it is extended to the female. According to Awuah-Nyamekye (2014:60), the worldview of the Akan people is the “sum of their core ideas about the universe and their role within it”.

In conclusion, there are about 70 celebrated festivals in Ghana of which 10 or more are celebrated among the Akan traditional community. Festivals are celebrated among them either to memorialise harvest season (the most common type, usually after the rainy season), migration or territory expansion history, stool cleansing and more. Others concentrate on family and communal bonds, while extolling the colourful cultures and instilling spirituality of the people.  Some examples of the festivals celebrated among the Akans include Aboakyir, Bakatue, Asafotufiam, Ogua Fetu Afahye,Akwasidae, Nkabom and many more.

The above are explicitly briefed information about one of the most respected tribes in Ghana (Akan Traditional community in Ghana). Akan has an adage that goes like “Nnipa b3y33 bi wan b3y3 nyinaa” (Man came to do his part but not all).

Afrifah Erica Osei

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