Editorial: Culture describes the many ways in which human beings express themselves for the purposes of defining an identity. Every culture has its unique characteristics, making it easier to distinguish one from the other, and Ghana is no different. Certain practices in Ghana, like games, food, and language will never change. As Ghana celebrates her 59th Independence Day, yen.com.gh takes a look at some of the things that has not changed over the years regardless of the dynamic and global our society has become.
Ghanaian society is masked in a cultural structure that is sometimes impossible to separate. Every home, every turn, every corner is motivated by influence from the past or a lifestyle that is so dominant it eats into the very fabric of the Ghanaian life. Culture is married to the Ghanaian. The way we think, the way we talk, the way we eat are all steeped in our culture.
Here is a journey through some of these aspects of our Ghanaian culture.
United in fun and games
The advent of computer games which warmed its way into our traditional games, pushing the latter aside, but a game like Ampe has stood the test of time. The game which is played by two or more girls appears to be an all-time favourite of young women and is present at every social gathering of young girls. Growing up was never fan without a game of Ampe. This game took place of snacks during break time in every school.
Food prepared and eaten with soul
Food also plays an integral part of the Ghanaian identity and lifestyle. Starting with a delicacy from the northern part of Ghana, waakye and its traditional means of enjoying it cannot be overlooked.
The food which is a combination of rice and beans is best enjoyed with tomato sauce, some hot pepper (locally known as shito), meat (especially cow skin popularly known as wele), vegetables, spaghetti , some gari, eggs, fried plantain and sometimes avocado.
Several modern ways of serving Waakye have been introduced with time including even disposal take-away boxes, but the traditional means to do justice to the food will forever remain the preferred choice. Eating waakye in the leaf with the fingers is the best way fans of the delicacy enjoy it. For many Ghanaians, one’s Saturday morning is not complete without a bowl of waakye.
Not too far from waakye is the special food of the Akans, Fufu. Although modernity has provided us with the powdered version of the meal, it can never replace the original fufu prepared with cassava and plantain or cocoyam. The cooked ingredients are pounded together in the mortar with a wooden pestle.
The preparation of fufu requires a special skill. The art of a pounder and a moderator doing their separate jobs at the same calls for great balance and rhythm.In the absence of a helper to pound the Fufu, some people go through the pain of doing the work of two all by themselves just to have the real deal.
Fufu is best enjoyed best with hot soup when served in an earthenware bowl known in akan as ‘ayowa’. It can be served with a variety of soups, ‘Abenkwan’ (palm nut soup), ‘nkrakra’ (light soup), ‘nkatekwan’ (ground nut soup) or ‘abunuabunu’ prepared from the nutritious ‘kontomire' (cocoyam leaves).
Before a bowl of Fufu, one may decide enjoy one of Ghana’s favourite local beverages, palm wine. The drink which is produced from the palm tree is best enjoyed when served traditionally in a calabash. Just picture palm wine, otherwise known as “nsafufuo” in a wine glass, surely an abuse of the drink.
Who can forget the kaba and slit? Ghanaian women look dashing in traditional fabric sewn by choice tailors and seamstresses. Everywhere you turn, the kaba and slit reigns supreme. From festivals, to weddings, to funerals, the traditional cloth is the choice for many. No wonder it is worn at many traditional marriages or “engagement”. It is authentic, Ghanaian and it is African.
Some things are just for Ghanaians only!
Why do we all say ‘I am coming’ when in real sense we are going? And this cuts across all tribes in Ghana, making us unique as a people with one voice. The akan will say, “mereba”, the hausa, “nnaazua”, the ga, “mimba”, the ewes, “me gbona ” just to mention a few.
So there you have it, a few of the things that make us proudly Ghanaian. So enjoy allow the kids to have some Ghanaian fun and games this independence Day holiday, share a meal of fufu and chicken soup with family and friends and wear that Kaba and slit to that gathering to show off your Ghanaian swag. These are the things that make us Ghanaians. Happy Independence Day!