The Ashanti People of Ghana

“If I go forward, I die, If I go backward, I die, better go forward and die” – Cultural Slogan of Ashanti People

Today, we will be taking our cultural stance jet out of Nigeria down to West Africa, to a country that shares similar colonial heritage with Nigeria and is formerly known as Gold Coast. The Republic of Ghana.

Searching through the way of life of the people in this country, we discovered that Ashanti has one of the most interesting, ancient and largest cultural heritage in Ghana.

That is why we will be stopping by in this ethic group native of Ashanti that is also known as Asante, founded in 1670 with the capital Kumase founded in 1680 alongside other four main parts. Their major language is Twi from Kwa Niger-Congo language family and are a subgroup of the Akan people which can also be traced to Nigeria.

Their slogan “If I go forward I die, If I go backward I die, better go forward and die” is one of the peculiarities of the Ashanti people as they are known to be fierce warriors and have fought many wars. They often used drums that are loud enough to penetrate the forest as signal for any upcoming battle.

Another peculiarity of the Ashanti people is their special handshake; in which you hold your left hand out to shake hands. This comes from the Ashanti’s explanation that the left hand holds the shield, and the right hand holds the spears. So, in order to show your trust in someone, you put down your shield and therefore have your left hand free.

The family structure of the Ashanti people comes from a strong belief system that blood and flesh (body) is originated from their mother while the soul is of their father’s spirit. The eldest son in the family becomes the head of the family through election by the elders in the family.

The Ashanti religion is a mixture of spiritual and supernatural powers. They believe that plants, animals, and trees have souls. They also believe in fairies, witches, and forest monsters. There are a variety of religious beliefs involving ancestors, higher gods, or ‘abosom’, and ‘Nyame’, the Supreme Being of Ashanti. The Ashanti also practice many ceremonies for marriage, death, puberty, and birth.

The cultural pride of the Ashanti people is gotten from the traditional sacred golden stool which represents the worship of ancestors, well-being, and the nation of Ashanti. According to Ashanti records, no one has even sat on it and the stool has not touched the ground.

Ashanti people are known for their professionalism in pottery, weaving, wood carving, ceramics, widely known kente cloth and metallurgy. With the exemption of pottery, other craft are restricted to males.

They play an African game called “Kikogo” which means transferring and refers to players moving markers that are usually beads or stones around a wooden board that has cups or depressions similar to that of an egg carton. The game is as popular as draughts (checkers) are in the western countries.

OLUWASEUN AFOLABI

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