Ghana’s Cultural Heritage and its Management-By Prof. J.K. Anquandah

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Culture means Life-Style manifested by particular people/society
Culture is a general term used to describe human behaviour pattern
expressed at different levels of society – Individual person, Family, Clan, Ethnic Group, Nation.

An individual can initiate or invent a peculiar manner of speech, dressing, hairstyle, work technique, music-making, food menu processing which may be adopted by a group and diffused through a nation. Thus, we can speak of the Language of an ethnic group, the dialect of a sub-ethnic group and the idiolect that characterizes an individuals manner of speech.  For instance, the Asantehene bears the title Dwom ne akyerewura Patron/Lord of music and the arts. He is expected in his reign to commission individual artisans to create works of art kente design, sandals, music/dance, stool, royal sword that can been adopted and handed down the generations.

The Ghana National Commission on Culture has provided as formal definition of culture as follows:
Our culture is the totality of the way of life evolved by our people through experience and reflection in their attempts to fashion a harmonious co-existence between them and their environment material and non-material. This continuing process gives order and meaning to social, political, economic, aesthetic and religious norms and modes of organization which distinguish us from other people.

Manifestations
Culture is expressed in Material aspects

  • ¬†Food: Akan fufu, Ewe Akple, Ga banku/Kpokpoi, N. Ghana fitri
  • Building: Tsotsu, Zu-tsu, Atakpame
  • Crafts: Pottery, basketry
  • Clothing, hairstyle, body-decoration

Culture is also expressed in Non-material aspects-philosophical thought, cosmology, morals and ethics, music, and dance, beliefs and values, manner of communication such as proverbs, folklore, festivals, political ideas, social customs related to birth, puberty, marriage, work, death.

Origins
To what extent does a peculiar environment determine the lifestyle which is adopted by a particular people? Why do Ghanaians in a tropical country use clothing different from those of their colonizers from cold countries.

Why do builders and potters from Ghanaian forestlands have styles different from those in Ghanaian savanna lands in the North?

Is there a relationship between the lifestyle and behaviour patterns of an ethnic group whose environment is richly resourced and that which is poorly endowed?
An ethnic group living in hinterland Akuapem mountains as opposed to that living close to the ocean and whose economy is derived from fishing and sea-faring.

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