Culture of Akan People in West Africa


The Akan Group

 The Akan people occupy practically the whole of Ghana south and west of the Black Volta.
Historical accounts suggest that Akan groups migrated from the north to occupy the forest and coastal areas of the south as early as the thirteenth century. Some of the Akan ended up in the eastern section of Côte d'Ivoire,
where they created the Baule community. Akan culture is one of the purest West African cultures

that still exist today. Akan art  is wide-ranging and
renowned, especially for the tradition of crafting bronze gold weights, which were made using the  lost wax
casting method. The Akan culture is the most dominant and apparent in present-day Ghana.
Some of their most important mythological stories are called  anansesem.  Anansesem  literally means 'the
spider story', but can in a figurative sense also mean
"traveler's tales". These "spider stories" are sometimes also referred to as nyankomsem; 'words of a sky god'.
The stories generally, but not always, revolve around Kwaku Ananse, a  trickster spirit, often depicted as a
spider, human, or a combination thereof.
Elements of Akan Culture also include but are not
limited to:
 • Kente
• Adinkra
• Sankofa
• Akan goldweights
• Akan names
• Akan Chieftaincy
• Akan Calendar
• Akan religion
• Akan art
• Oware
• Adamorobe Sign Language
Akan philosophy and inheritance including:
• Abusua (Modja) - What an Akan inherits from his mother
• Ntoro - What an Akan gets from their father but, one does not belong to their Ntoro instead, they belong to their
Abusua
• Sunsum - What an Akan develops from their interaction with the world
• Kra - What an Akan gets from Onyame (God)
Matrilineality
The Akan rural and political organization was based on matrilineal lineages, which were the basis of inheritance and
succession. A lineage was defined as all those related by matrilineal descent from a particular ancestress. Several
lineages would be grouped into a political unit headed by a chief and a council of elders, each of whom was the
elected head of a lineage. Public offices were thus vested in the lineage, as was land tenure and other lineage
property. In other words, lineage property had to be inherited only by matrilineal kin.

The political units above were likewise grouped into eight larger groups called  abusua, similar to  clans  in other
societies: Aduana, Agona, Asakyiri, Asenie, Asona, Bretuo, Ekuona and Oyoko; or sometimes more than these. The
members of each abusua were united by their belief that they were all descended from the same ancient ancestress,
so marriage between members of the same abusua was forbidden. One inherited or was a lifelong member of theAkan people  lineage, the political unit and the abusua of one's mother, regardless of one's gender and/or marriage.
According to this source
of further information about the Akan, "A man is strongly related to his mother's
brother (wɔfa) but only weakly related to his father's brother. This must be viewed in the context of a polygamous
society in which the mother/child bond is likely to be much stronger than the father/child bond. As a result, in
inheritance, a man's nephew (his sister's son) (wɔfase) will have priority over his own son. Uncle-nephew
relationships therefore assume a dominant position."
"The principles governing inheritance stress sex, generation and age – that is to say, men come before women and
seniors before juniors." When a woman’s brothers were available, a consideration of generational seniority
stipulated that the line of brothers be exhausted before the right to inherit lineage property passed down to the next
senior genealogical generation of sisters' sons. Finally, "it is when all possible male heirs have been exhausted that the females" may inherit.
Thus, simply put a person belongs to his mothers family. A person may inherit their
Ntoro from their father but, they do not belong to their fathers family. Thus, the Culture is matrilineal.

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