Ghana, a medium sized country in West Africa, currently has a population of 24 million people. The country has a diverse and rich culture, comprising of over 60 ethic groups such as the Ashanti, Akyem, Kwahu, Ga, Ewe, Fante, Mamprusi and Dagomba. Though English is the official language of Ghana, there are 52 major languages spoken in the country, as well as hundreds of dialects. Much of Ghana’s culture is enjoyed through its cuisine, clothing, and the arts.
Ghanaian cuisine has many traditional dishes that come from specific ethnic groups. However, most cuisine in Ghana includes a starch portion and sauce or coup. Starchy dishes include cooked plain rice, Jollof rice, cassava, corn dough and tofu. Typical stews and sauces contain tomato as a main component and protein such as fish, snails or meat. Popular soups include groundnut, okra and palmnut. An alternative to a starch and soup meal is “Red Red,” a mashed bean stew served with fried plantain.
Just as the United States celebrates cotton in its basic white t-shirt or True Religion jeans, textiles in Ghana are also significant. Perhaps the most famous cloth is the Kente, an Ashanti ceremoinial textile of different colors, designs and sizes. Culturally, Kente is a visual representation of Ghanaian history and is considered as a written language through weaving.
Art in Ghana is also culturally driven. Music has a diverse sound with each ethnic group developing their own styles. Instruments typically used in Ghanaian music include drums, goje fiddle, koloko lute and log xylophones. Some of Ghana’s popular music genres are Afro-jazz, Highlife, Dancehall and Hiplife. Dance, like music in Ghana, also follows the traditions of each ethnic group. Dances are performed for various occasions like worship, storytelling, funerals and celebrations. Common Ghanaian dances include klama, adowa, agahu and bamaya.