Religion and a Higher Power in Ghana

I’ve seen in some rankings and lists that Ghana is often among the most religious countries in the world. Living here, it’s not that difficult to believe. Many shop names mention God or Allah or reference a Bible passage. One of the first questions I get asked when I meet new people is often, “What religion are you?” And on Sunday mornings, life slows down considerably and the air is filled with the singing and preaching from the dozens of churches. Religious beliefs are very much a part of life here, and there’s an interesting break-down.

more “Religion and a Higher Power in Ghana”

Welcoming and Naming New Babies in Ghana

A few weeks ago, my friend and co-worker gave birth to her first child – a baby girl. This was pretty exciting, as it is culturally a good sign for her to have a baby so soon after her wedding, and I was excited because it meant I had a chance to take part in some of the cultural practices around welcoming a new baby. These traditions are commonly called naming ceremonies.

more “Welcoming and Naming New Babies in Ghana”

Chale Wote: Accra’s Street Art Extravaganza

High Street is filled with rivers of people, shoulder to shoulder, flowing in competing directions. From Usher Fort at one end to the Jamestown Lighthouse at the other, the road has been blocked off and foot traffic has taken over, supplemented by street performers, muralists, artists, vendors and the ubiquitous women and children selling water from atop their heads. It’s Chale Wote, Accra’s annual street art festival breaking down the conceptions of West African art.

more “Chale Wote: Accra’s Street Art Extravaganza”

How Economically Equal is Ghana, Anyway?

If your only exposure to Africa is through the main news media, you probably imagine the continent as being populated with lots of charismatic megafauna (think elephants, giraffes and rhinos) and a few inspirational individuals who managed to climb out of the poverty and war that is rampant across the continent. But what if I told you that income inequality in Ghana was similar to that in the United States?

more “How Economically Equal is Ghana, Anyway?”

The Big 6: Ghana’s Founding Fathers

You’re in Ghana and you’re at the market. You’ve got all of your produce selected and the maame tells you, “15 cedi.” You open your wallet and pull out a 20 cedi note and see six faces looking back at you. In fact, all of the paper money in your wallet has these same six faces staring out at you. These men are collectively known as Ghana’s Big Six. But who were they and why are they important enough to be on all of the money?

more “The Big 6: Ghana’s Founding Fathers”

6 Ghanaian Proverbs and Idioms

One of the things that I really like about living in another country and culture is learning about the various tools each culture uses for communication. In Ghana, being direct with your words can interfere with the social harmony, as so communicating indirectly via proverbs is very common. Not only that, but there are a number of idioms that can be strategically used as well. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve heard*.

more “6 Ghanaian Proverbs and Idioms”