September 20, 2010

Ghana Bloggers Mature

The blogosphere in Ghana has been growing steadily. You can read a lot of the regular bloggers at

I was checking out some of my favourites and found some fun and thought-provoking stuff going on.

Accra Conscious Forever posted a brilliant poster of Adinkra symbols. If you visit Ghana, especially along the coast from Accra to the Ivory Coast and inland to Kumasi, and everywhere in between, you'll see Adinkra symbols on pretty much everything that's not moving, and much that is moving too--especially vehicles. You will certainly see a lot of batiked cloth printed with the more popular symbols. If you want to know what they mean, check out Adinkra Cloth Symbols.

Interestingly, here in the far north of Ghana most people have no idea what Adinkra is. It's simply not part of the culture as it's unique to the Akan culture, those areas described above.

Accra Conscious Forever also did an awesome post on music called Blending Visuals into Music - M3NSA

"No.1 Mango Street – the international debut album by MC, singer and producer M3NSA. The single is a cocktail of eclectic Afro sounds infused with Nu-jazz and High-Life delicately underscored with sweet harmonies of rhythm and blues."

Holli at Holli's Ramblings wrote a thought-proviking post about the issue of witches in Ghana. Both the post and the comments are worth reading. This is one of the things you're unlikely to notice while traveling through Ghana for a short time, but if you happen to pick up a newspaper on most days you'll find a story about witches. I live in the far north and hear about these problems often. It's hard to listen to and accept.

I was teaching a young girl how to use a computer and using a Harry Potter excerpt that was nicely formatted to show how the Indexing works in Word and "document map" button and she happened to flash across the mention of witches. I had to explain the history of witches in western culture and the Harry Potter phenomenon. She couldn't believe people wanted to "be" witches. One word, totally different connotations.

Here is a small excerpt from Holli's story:

"Northern Ghana is home to over 10 massive witch camps – each housing up to 1000 people – the majority of these are young children. Soak that in. THERE ARE STILL WITCHES CAMPS IN GHANA IN 2010. All of these people have been banished from their villages for all sorts of crimes, including allegedly killing people who died from ‘mysterious illnesses’."

And Betumi wrote about culinary entrepreneurship in Ghana. Betumi, by the way, is the BEST place to read about food in Ghana online. I was intrigued by this post detailing Fran's recent trip around Ghana collecting more data and researching food prep in Ghana in all its forms. I'm interested to see if she finds the 17th Century translation!

"Over lunch I challenged a couple of the English faculty to begin looking at the portrayal and symbolism of food in African literature, a shockingly neglected area, and especially to examine any gender differences between men and women writers. My sense is that women are more intimately connected to food preparation and socializing around the cooking pot and hence their memories (especially when exiled from their homelands) may be different. I'm curious to see if Helen and Kari take up the challenge. I also have the exciting promise of receiving a 17th century translation (from German) of a document describing the preparation of kenkey. I'm still trying to track down dokono's origins and history. Suggestions made at the luncheon were that, unlike "dokono," "kenkey" is a Malay word, that Northerners have always fermented millet, so they just used the same technique on corn when it arrived in Ghana. I welcome anyone's comments on his subject."

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