The Akan people

Twi Speaking People

The history of Ghana is, in fact, the history of the Twi speaking people who now call themselves the Akan. The Akan people are among the most prominent and traditionally well-cultured indigenous inhabitants of Africa. There are many groups that constitute the Akan people. They can be divided and subdivided into the Twi, the Fante, Akim, Ashanti, Juaben, and Agona people who respect and believe in tradition. As reflected in their life style, all-important events in life involve various rituals and rites. From the Adae to the Odiwira to the Homowo to the Damba to the Yam festival, Ghana is a land of rituals, shrines and festivals.

Symbolic Representation of Stool & Kente Fabric

Of significance in the Akan culture is the symbolic representation of the “Stool.” In general, the stool symbolizes the “soul of the nation.” It is believed that the stool is a representative (repository) of the Ancestors. Thus, the stool itself inspires and is accorded great honor and respect. Another important culture symbol of the Akan people is the Kente fabric. The precious Kente is the cultural identity and landmark symbol of the Akan people. Historically, this precious Kente assisted in serving as a goal of healing and unifying the fragmented elements of the Akan People into a whole, a Nation. The precious Kente is now the National Symbol of Ghana, West Africa. The production of this precious Kente is over 10,000 years old.

Invasion & Domination

The Akan people have lived and ruled their land for thousands of years before they experienced the consecutive disruptions by Arab, Portuguese, Dutch, and British invasion and domination. When the Portuguese invaded the West Coast of Africa in 1471, they found a people rich in history, culture, and tradition and gold. As a result of not appreciating the spiritual significance of the culture and history, the Portuguese focused on the material abundance of the gold and named the region the “Gold Coast.”

Wealth of the “Gold Coast”

With the increasing discovery of the great wealth of the “Gold Coast,” European countries fought over and vied for control of its natural resources. Of significance, with the advent of the age of European Slaveocracy, Europe quickly realized the greater wealth was to be found in selling of Africans as slaves than in the mining and bartering for gold. Thus, for over four hundred years (1470 to 1900) “Black Gold” (African people) became the compelling interest of Europe. As a result of the slave trade, many of the Africans throughout the Diaspora are direct descendents of the Akan people of Ghana, West African.