The Executive Director for the National Commission on culture and the United States of America Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Stephanie S. Sullivan officially launched the 2022 world Junkanoo Festival yesterday in Accra (Ghana).
The Junkanoo festival is celebrated each year in two spectacular parades, on Boxing Day (26th December) and New Year’s Day. The root of Junkanoo is found in the continent of Africa, it often had Slaves hiding their faces under a flour paste during it’s celebration.
The festival is one of the Caribbean’s street parades with music, it is often celebrated with colourful costumes to exuberant dance routines, participants spend months preparing for the pageantry of this street parade accompanied by the steady beat of whistles, cowbells, horns, and drums hours after midnight.
History has it that, the origins was named after John Canoe, the theory surrounding the name is that, John Canoe was an African trader on the West African Coast during the era of slavery and was often portrayed as a rebellious slave, while at other times as a successful Black merchant in West Africa whose story was carried over to the Bahamas through oral tradition (Sands, 2008).
The Festival was originally celebrated in the evenings, after the slave owners had gone to bed. Today, Junkanoo is seen as the celebration t of costumes, music, and dance to reunite Africans lost culture and a step towards conserving our heritage.
An advisory board of the National Commission on Culture has been sworn in to help improve, promote, and preserve the Ghanaian Cultural Heritage in order to make it more attractive to the youth, generation yet unborn and to the outside world.
It is expected of the board to strive in promoting Ghana’s diverse Cultural identity and make Culture the center of National development.
The board, which is chaired by the sector Minister, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, is constituted by the following:
|1.||Madam Janet Edna Nyame
|Executive Director, National Commission on Culture||Member|
|Ministry of Education||Member|
|3.||Hon. Fatimatu Abubakar||Ministry of Information||Member|
|4.||Madam Dzifa Kemevor||Ministry of Gender||Member|
|5.||Osagyefo Kwame Akonu X||National House of Chiefs||Member|
|6.||Dr. Lawyer Christine O.Asare||EPA||Member|
|7.||Nana Ama Serwaa Bonsu||Queen-Mother||Member|
|8.||Mr. Kwaku T.Danso -Misa||President’s Nominee||Member|
|9.||Mad. Shirley Nana Akua Frimpomg-Manso||President’s Nominee||Member|
|10.||Sheikh Zakaria M.Seebaway||President’s Nominee||Member|
|11.||Mr. Alex Lucky Mensah||President’s Nominee||Member|
|12.||Mr. Felix Otis Tsibo-Darko||President’s Nominee||Member|
|13.||Mr. Issiah Kwadwo Ampong||President’s Nominee||Member|
The National Commission on Culture in collaboration with COVID-19 Trust Fund organized a Covid-19 awareness campaign at the Kaneshie market to sensitize the public on the need to keep to the safety protocols of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Executive Director of National Commission on Culture, Madam JANET Edna Nyame in her address indicated that, COVID-19 has really dealt negatively with people all over the world, but recently with the introduction of the vaccines, things seem to be coming back to normal. Miss Nyame pleaded with the market women to always wear their mask, and ensure that their customers also wear theirs before they attend to them. She said, they meet a lot of people within the day, so if they begin advocating for the wearing of mask and use of the sanitizers, they will go a long way to save lives.
She also added that the GPRTU should also make sure people who board their vehicles, wear their mask throughout the journey. Most drivers have nicely embossed “No Mask, No Entry” on their cars but even the drivers do not wear the mask.
The Executive Director also appealed to all Ghanaians to adhere to safety protocols of COVID-19 outlined by the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Services and also take the vaccine when it gets to their community and ignore all the myth around it.
The Executive Director of the Covid-19 National Trust Fund Secretariat and Former Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Sophia Akuffo, used the opportunity to thank all Ghanaians who have in one way or the other contributed to the fund and urged them to do more since covid-19 is still with us. She advised Ghanaians to wear the mask well and also not to get too physically close to friends and family because COVID-19 is real and with a lot of people and organizations facing challenges, very soon the fund will not be able to support people so it’s important we protect ourselves and stay home if we do not have anything to do outside.
National Commission on Culture in collaboration with Ghana-society UK, MEGAAF foundation and AKO, has launched the 2021 kente festival arts and cultural event, which will take place in Luton in the UK. The Festival seeks to promote our Ghanaian indigenous kente fabric and other handmade Ghanaian products. It also seeks to promote patriotism and national pride, in harnessing our kente heritage which is global and weaves the world as a symbolism of African cultural and unity.
The Executive Director for National Commission on Culture, Madam Janet Edna Nyame who launched the festival, said as Ghanaians we must pay attention to our unique products produced in Ghana, from our clothing to food, music and all other forms of Arts as well as our medicine and local technologies. It is a widely known fact that the unique expressions of designers and other creatives who are inspired by authentic Ghanaian traditional sources of arts, are speedily building global presence and also increasing their ability to cause economic value, Miss Nyame added.
She said, it is a fundamental cultural principle that our cloths and other accessories are a source of non-verbal communication which send messages about who we are, where we come from, what we do and what we stand for.
This means what we patronize is what shapes our identity and values as a people. We must therefore be very sensitive to the forces of strange sub-cultures and social factors that may negatively affect our perception and use made in Ghana products. The Executive Director indicated, these are part of the reasons the National Commission On Culture through relevant linkages and partnerships, has decided to go beyond the shores of Ghana to create a much bigger platform for our cultural and creative industry players to not only to showcase market their creative products but also promote and present our culture and arts to the rest of the world.
National Commission on Culture has inaugurated a 51-year-old Miss Georgina Opoku, popularly known as Asor as a Cultural Ambassador to help support the work of the Commission and its centres, she is the second person to be commissioned as a Cultural Ambassador. The Executive Director Madam Janet Edna Nyame in her inaugural speech indicated how Important women empowerment is to the country. She also said the fabric of our existence as Ghanaians can realize perfection if a conscious effort is made to indicate the positive aspect of our culture to the youth to guide them for life. She added that as a country we should constructively nurture the youth to imbibe all the cultural occupations for sustainable livelihood, employment and wealth creation, with the mastery and expertise they can own and control at all times. She also expressed concern for the youth who have been swayed off for far too long by unnecessary and unamusing fantasies from the west and east.
The Executive Director expressed her joy when Asor accepted to be an ambassador for the Commission because over the years she has been undertaking some programmes and projects which seek to promote the Ghanaian culture and values, both in Ghana and abroad.
Miss Georgina Opoku (Asor) in her acceptance speech promised to do more advocacy in schools, churches among other places to ensure the Ghanaian culture is well promoted so that the up and coming youth will learn and appreciate our culture.
Among the dignitaries present at the ceremony were Hon. Isaac Agyapong, Kwahu and Abene Hemaa Nana Adwoa Gyamfua III, kwahu Obomeng hemaa Nana Dawa Asiedua I, Kotoso Hemaa Nana Mirekua II, Hon and Mrs. Ahwoi, The Ag. Eastern Regional Director (Centre for National Culture), Mr. Peter Marfo and staff. Ag. Director PRME at the National Commission on Culture, Mr. Richardson Fio Commey, and the Head of Public Relations Mrs. Ama Amponsah Painstil.
The outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) spreading rapidly across the world since December 2019, following the diagnosis of the initial cases in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Since the beginning of March 2020, the number of cases outside China increased thirteen fold and the number of affected countries tripled. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic as the coronavirus rapidly spreads across the world.
Infectious mounting in Europe, South Korea, Iran, the United States, and amongst other countries with authorities implementing increasingly restrictive measures to contain the virus. At the sectorial level, Culture, Tourism and travel-related industries were among the hardest hit as authorities encourage “social distancing” and consumers stayed indoors. Similarly, shares of major hotel companies plummeted with entertainment recorded a significant blow to revenues. Restaurants, sporting events, cinemas and other services also faced significant disruption.
Ghana’s Health Minister Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who has been leading Ghana’s fight against Covid-19, was not left out as reportedly contracted the disease. This scenario is an indicative of the devastating effect the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the lives and development of a Nation such as ours.
In response to the pandemic, severe efforts have been made by various stakeholders in containment of the spread of the virus such as the Government of Ghana, Ministry of Ghana, Ghana Health Service, Food and Drugs Board, Christian Council of Ghana and the Media. And also some external stakeholders like the World Health Organization (WHO), International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Effort of the National Commission on Culture
In effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, The National Commission on Culture and its Regional Agencies and Districts across Ghana, adopted and promoted the recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) which includes avoidance or limitation of physical contact such as handshake and other forms of usual contact, regular washing of hands under running water, rubbing of hand with alcohol-based sanitizers and reducing or limiting large gatherings among the general public. Coughing into elbow or tissue and disposing of it into a bin, wiping of door handles and spaces with alcohol-based sanitizers were also recommended. Preventive behavioral change messages were also developed and disseminated through various platforms including; Radio, Television, Social Media, Print Media and theater for development nationwide, With the immense support of the Covid-19 Trust Fund. Their activities included educating communities about the condition, and providing psychological support through drama and puppetries (edutainment).
Ghana joins the world in celebrating World Day for Cultural Diversity on June 10, 2021. The day has been celebrated since 2001 when UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity; and in December 2002, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 57/249, declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
To mark the occasion, the National Commission on Culture (NCC), UNESCO-Ghana, and Ghana Commission for UNECO is hosting the programme to celebrate not only the richness of the world’s cultures, but also the essential role of intercultural dialogue for achieving peace and sustainable development.
This year’s edition seeks to promote culture and highlight the significance of its diversity as an agent of inclusion and positive change.
Hon. Awal Mohammed, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, is the Special Guest of honor for the occasion. The programme features dignitaries such as Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo, UNESCO Representative to Ghana, Ms. Janet Edna Nyame, Executive Director of National Commission on Culture and Mr. Akwasi Agyemang, CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority.
Among the keynote speakers will be Dr. Ivor Agyeman-Duah, Director of Ghana Museums and Monuments Board; Prof. Kodzo Gavua, Lecturer at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies (UG); Dr. Madinatu Bello, Lecturer, University of Cape Coast; Mr. George Quaye, CEO of Image Bureau and Media Specialist, as well as Prof. Ernest Kwasi Amponsah, Lecturer at University of Education, Winneba.
More than 50 participants made up of representatives from relevant cultural/creative industries, government agencies, cultural institutions, academics, CSOs and UN entity will share their experiences and perspectives on the values of cultural diversity.
The event, which is celebrated annually on May 21, will take place on Thursday, 10 June, 2021, at exactly 10a.m. The venue is Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in Accra. The programme will also be streamed live on the Facebook page of National Commission on Culture.
Applications are open for National Commission on Culture Logo Competition 2021
The National Commission on Culture (NCC) is pleased to announce its new logo competition. This logo will represent the Organization in all official documents and communication tools. Submission deadline: June 30, 2021.
ABOUT NATIONAL COMMISSION ON CULTURE
The National Commission on Culture was established by the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) Law 238 in 1990 to manage from a holistic perspective, the Cultural Life of Ghana. The Commission is the main Constitutional body under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, charged with the responsibility of ensuring the smooth implementation of the Cultural Policy of Ghana.
In the performance of this role, the Commission is enjoined among other functions
- Initiate programmes for the dissemination and propagation of ideas for the promotion of national cohesion, integration, solidarity, patriotism and consciousness;
- Advise the Sector Minister on the formation of policies on all aspects of culture and make recommendations for the preservation and protection of natural heritage;
- Supervise the implementation of programmes for the development, presentation, promotion and preservation of Ghanaian culture;
- Promote an educational system that motivates and stimulates creativity and draws largely on positive Ghanaian traditions and values;
- Establish a code of behaviour compatible with the Ghanaian tradition of humanism and a disciplined and moral society;
- Promote national self-reliance and self-sufficiency, and reflect Ghanaian heritage and aspiration in the process of industrialization;
- Collaborate with foreign and international agencies as the Commission considers necessary for the purposes of this Act;
- Act in liaison and co-operation with government agencies, metropolitan/municipal/district authorities and other public or private institutions
in the development, presentation and preservation of the peculiar cultural heritage of the communities;
- Co-ordinate, supervise and regulate the activities and programmes of the various artistic guilds and association;
- To institute studies, research, surveys and analyses into cultural dynamics with the view of performing its advisory role;
- Facilitate the evolution of an integrated national culture which portrays a distinct Ghanaian identity to promote a congenial environment for peaceful development.
Vision: To respect, preserve, harness and use cultural heritage and resources to develop a united, vibrant and a prosperous national community with a distinctive African identity and personality and collective confidence and pride of place among the comity of nations.’
DESIGN REQUIREMENTS AND SPECIFICS
We are looking for a logo that captures the essence of the National Commission on Culture.
- Design must be based on unique Ghanaian artistic expressions
- It must emphasize Ghana’s traditional cultural values and expressions
- The logo shall be easily recognisable and, as such, should stand out and be different from other logos.
- The design should be in colour, but should also be usable in black & white.
Entries will be judged for the style, creativity and impact of a design that can be used easily on related materials.
We are looking for conceptual relish and knack, of the submitted logo.
PRESENTATION AND FORMAT CHARACTERISTICS:
Logo should be designed on A4 or A3 white paper/fabric.
The logo should be simple to reproduce
Explanation: The Logo must be expressive and easy to understand and interpret; Jury: A broad-based jury of experts will be constituted to assess the entries and identify a winner
Announcement of Winner: The winner will be announced on July 15th, 2021, through the National Commission on Culture’s website and other social media channels.
Call for entries is open to ALL Ghanaians.
For quality and adaptability reasons, kindly submit your entry in encapsulated post script.
Design entries should include your full name, your age, your nationality (Proof of identity such as a copy of your national ID or passport will be required).
Please include a short description in no more than 250 words of how the design represents the subject.
Compensation: 3rd = 1000; 2nd = 1500; 1st = 3000
All entrants who submit a proposal will receive a certificate
The first five winners shall have their works promoted by the NCC for 3 years.
How to Enter Entries:
Entries must conform to the Submission Guidelines set out above. Entries which fail to do so will be rejected. The email must include the name, age, postal address, phone number/s and email address of the Entrant (use attached submission form).
Prize winner notification The winner will be announced and the logo revealed on July 15th 2021.
Culture is a marker of identity. Every society has its own distinct culture or certain identifiers that makes it different from others.
In this dispensation of globalization, where no country leaves in isolation and there is constant interactions and exposure to other cultures, there will sure be some form of culture integration. In order for a society survive in the fast changing world; it must borrow certain elements from other cultures and shape them to suit their needs. For instance, if society A’s culture employs the use of cutlasses and hoes in farming, but realizes these tools are no longer efficient to feed the increasing population, the society can adapt other people’s farming culture or tools such the use of fertilizers , combine harvesters and so on to increase their agricultural yield. Thus they adapted a foreign technological culture only to solve the problem of low yield and not the kind of crops they produce.
Currently, there is a common practice where people absolutely dump their own culture and wholly embrace other people’s culture. This phenomenon keeps increasing to the extent that you can’t differentiate an African urban lifestyle from that of an American. Societies have sacrificed the characteristics of its own culture in exchange for a foreign. This can be seen in our dress style, accent, food choice, music, religion, clothes, naming and marriage systems, all influence by foreign culture.
The idea of dumping one’s own culture for another is destructive to the society. The society losses its unique identity and core values. This is because of perception and promotion of western culture seen as superior or having more worth than our own cultural values.
To clamp down on loss of identity and core values, the society must integrate other cultures and retain its unique markers of language, food and language, rather than assimilation where it adopts fully the ways of another culture and becoming an entirely different society.
SOURCE; EFIE NK)MM) MAGAZINE. VOL. 4
Culture is a large presence in any society. It influences our ethics and morals, the way that we interact with others and even the way that we think. The power that culture has on our behaviour is undeniable.
Many cultures have historical origins and are based on old traditions. They also usually have a geographical boundary. However, culture is changing. There is a new culture developing and spreading across the world. The technology of the modern world means that the world’s population is connected in ways that it has never been before. More can be shared and had in common.
Popular culture is a modern phenomenon. It can be used to describe popular music, films, book and even popular ways of thinking. Since its beginning, it has been different from other cultures in its lack of historical and geographical foundation. Now, popular culture has a new way of spreading, the internet. Popular culture has more influence today than it has ever had before. While its influence remains most strongly felt in the West, it can also be more easily felt around the world too now.
The internet clearly has a large impact on culture as people share their thoughts and experiences. Songs, videos, articles and images can become viral, thus entering mainstream culture. In this way, a single culture can be shared by a wide range of participants.
People have often been symbols of popular culture; actors, singers and writers have reached extreme heights of fame and have come to represent an era, a feeling and even a way of life. They have huge fan bases and, as a result, a huge amount of power and influence. Nowadays, singers and actors have been replaced by anyone who can use the internet. Without the internet, a celebrity cannot exist. With the internet, anyone can be a celebrity. The current symbols of popular culture depend on their ability to create a social media presence. Rather than any other talent, their personality takes them to fame. Due to this, You Tubers seem to be the new symbols of popular culture.
The influence of You Tubers has not gone unnoticed by the political world. In March 2014, President Obama had a conference with several famous You Tubers. He invited them to the White House to discuss their message for young people. Clearly he is aware of their status as symbols of popular culture and the resulting impact that they can have on the young – the main target of popular culture.
People who become symbols of popular culture are very influential but they alone do not make popular culture. They can spread and endorse ideas and become representatives of it but what comes into mainstream culture is largely in the hands of the public, perhaps more so than ever before. They choose which videos, images and ideas to share.
The culture created by the internet is an extension of fashionable, popular culture in the real world that spreads trendy new words and concepts. The word ‘selfie’, the concept of being a ‘basic’ person, the phrase ‘YOLO’, all have entered mainstream usage and are examples of the way that a shared culture has been created by the internet.
People around the world are sharing the same culture in a way that would not have been possible without social media. A culture has been created through the virtual space that we share and has become an extension of popular culture. The internet has demolished geographical boundaries.
However, this does not mean that a shared global culture has been created. Geographical boundaries have been removed as communication opportunities connect more people than ever before but that does not mean that the popular culture of the internet is embraced by everyone. There are other limits to the spread of culture, such as language barriers and loyalty to another culture. Moreover, there are locations where internet access is limited and so the spread of popular culture is impeded.
In a way, the new internet culture could be considered as an extension of American popular culture. Television, film and music industries have been dominated by the US for decades and perhaps the internet is experiencing the same Americanization process. Popular culture is largely American culture. It could be argued that any appearance of a shared international culture is just the spread of American culture and America’s influence, particularly in the West and the English-speaking world.
The culture of a people is what marks them out distinctively from other human societies in the family of humanity. The full study of culture in all its vastness and dimensions belongs to the discipline known as anthropology, which studies human beings and takes time to examine their characteristics and their relationship to their environments. Culture, as it is usually understood, entails a totality of traits and characters that are peculiar to a people to the extent that it marks them out from other peoples or societies. These peculiar traits go on to include the people’s language, dressing, music, work, arts, religion, dancing and so on. It also goes on to include a people’s social norms, taboos and values. Values here are to be understood as beliefs that are held about what is right and wrong and what is important in life.
The value of a thing, be it an object or a belief, is normally defined as its worth. Just as an object is seen to be of a high value that is treasured, our beliefs about what is right or wrong that are worth being held are equally treasured. A value can be seen as some point of view or conviction which we can live with, live by and can even die for. This is why it seems that values actually permeate every aspect of human life. For instance, we can rightly speak of religious, political, social, aesthetic, moral, cultural and even personal values. We have observed elsewhere that there are many types and classifications of values. As people differ in their conception of reality, then the values of one individual may be different from those of another. Life seems to force people to make choices, or to rate things as better or worse as well as formulate some scale or standard of values. Depending on the way we perceive things we can praise and blame, declare actions right or wrong or even declare the scene or objects before us as either beautiful or ugly. Each person, as we could see, has some sense of values and there is no society without some value system culture is an embodiment of different values with all of them closely related to each other. That is why one can meaningfully talk about social, moral, religious, political, aesthetic and even economic values of a culture. Let us now look at these values piece-meal, as this would give us an understanding how they manifest in an African culture and the importance being attached to them.
To begin with, we have social values which can simply be seen as those beliefs and practices that are practiced by any particular society. The society has a way of dictating the beliefs and practices that are performed either routinely by its members or performed whenever the occasion demands. Hence, we have festivals, games, sports and dances that are peculiar to different societies. These activities are carried out by the society because they are seen to be necessary. Some social values, especially in African society, cannot exactly be separated from religious, moral, political values and so on. This is why we can see that in a traditional African society like in Ibibio land (Nigeria), festivals which were celebrated often had religious undertones – they ended with sacrifices that were offered to certain deities on special days in order to attract their goodwill on the members of the society.
The second to talk about is moral values. African culture is embedded in strong moral considerations. It has a system of various beliefs and customs which every individual ought to keep in order to live long and to avoid bringing curses on them and others. Adultery, stealing and other forms of immoral behaviour are strongly discouraged and whenever a suspected offender denies a charge brought against him, he would be taken to a soothsayer or made to take an oath for proof of innocence. African wisdom and a valuable part of African heritage”. African culture has a moral code that forbids doing harm to a relative, a kinsman, an in-law, a foreigner and a stranger, except when such a person is involved in an immoral act; and if that is the case, it is advisable to stay away from such an individual and even at death, their corpses would not be dignified with a noble burial in a coffin and grave.
In addition, religious values are also very important. Religion in African societies seems to be the fulcrum around which every activity revolves. Hence religious values are not toyed with. African traditional religion, wherever it is practised, has some defining characteristics. For instance, it possesses the concept of a Supreme Being which is invisible and indigenous. It holds a belief in the existence of the human soul and the soul does not die with the body. African traditional religion also has the belief that good and bad spirits do exist and that these spirits are what make communication with the Supreme Being possible. Above all, it holds a moral sense of justice and truth and the knowledge of the existence of good and evil (Umoh 2005: 68). African religious values seem to permeate every facet of the life of the African and the African believes that anything can be imbued with spiritual significance. The worship of different deities on different days goes on to show that the African people hold their religious values in high esteem. Sorcerers and diviners are seen to be mediating between God and man and interpreting God’s wishes to the mortal. The diviners, sorcerers and soothsayers help to streamline human behaviour in the society and people are afraid to commit offences because of the
Another point worth mentioning is the aesthetic values. The African concept of aesthetics is predicated on the fundamental traditional belief system which gave vent to the production of the art. Now art is usually seen as human enterprise concerned with the production of aesthetic objects. Thus, when a people in their leisure time try to produce or create objects that they consider admirable, their sense of aesthetic value is brought to bear. If we see art as being concerned with the production of aesthetic objects, then we can truly say of African aesthetic value that it is immensely rich. Let us have an example: the sense of beauty of the Ibibio people is epitomised in their fattened maidens whom they call mbopo. These fattened maidens are confined to a room where they are fed with traditional cuisines. The idea behind it is to prepare the maiden and make her look as good, healthy and beautiful as possible for her husband. This is usually done before marriage and after child birth. The Western model of beauty is not like this. It is often pictured as slim-looking young ladies who move in staggered steps. This shows that the African aesthetic value and sense of what is beautiful is markedly different. Aesthetic value is what informs a people’s arts and crafts as it affects their sense of what is beautiful as opposed to that which is ugly. The aesthetic value of a society influences the artist in his endeavour to produce aesthetic objects that are acceptable to the society in which he lives.
To conclude, since values are an integral part of culture and culture is what defines a people’s identity, then the values that a people hold are what differentiate them from other people. It does appear that cultures always try to maintain those values that are necessary for the survival of their people. Also having looked at some of the values that characterise the African culture, it is important to state here that these values are inextricably bound together and are to be comprehended in their totality as African cultural values.
Laws are established to protect the citizens of a particular group of people. In other words, laws exist to protect the right of the members of a society and to ensure that they do not have to protect those rights through their own actions. The law has generally two parts, the spirit of the law and the letter. The former deals with the reasoning behind the establishment of the law while the latter deals with wording. Long ago, before the establishment of the constitutions, our ancestors had to find a way to protect their citizenry. Our wise elders and chiefs had a way of doing so and although not documented, they were well communicated, respected and obeyed. They were obeyed widely due to the fact that they had punitive consequences. Taboos as we know them were an effective way to protect citizens. They served as laws for our forefathers and tools for solving problems.
These days, taboos are no longer feared and respected as they used to be as people have come to find out that there is no real supernatural punishment and hence they can go scot-free even when they flaunt them. However, there are reasons for the establishment of these laws. A taboo is defined as a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too sacred or too accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake, under threat of supernatural punishment. Most taboos were respected due to the supernatural punishment one feared would come to them. Some taboos and their reasoning are as follows below.
To begin with, no hunting, fishing and farming on specific were commonly seen in most Akan and Ga communities where some days were considered bad days for these activities. It was believed that the gods will strike one dead if he or she did. Our elders constructed this taboo to preserve the environment and its inhabitants. If one hunts or fishes each day, then one day all the animals in the forest will be extinct and all the fishes in the sea will be gone. If one day was preserved, at least they can be protected. Sometimes even a whole season was reserved so that fingerlings and infants in the forest will grow and also multiply.
The second to mention is the “don’t sweep at night” taboo which was very common among the Akan people. It was believed that one’s mother will die if one was to sweep at night. It was also believed that the gods would be very angry with you. But the simple reasoning was you might sweep and dispose your valuable items if you slept the room at night. Given that our ancestors did not have the privilege of enjoying electricity and proper lighting; it was common for them to sweep important items away at night. Therefore, preventing people from sweeting at night in poor vision would go a long way to prevent such incidents.
Another point worth mentioning is the taboo of night whistling. This which was common among the Akans saw mothers to suffer the wrath of the gods if the child or children of that mother whistles at night. Again, our ancestors did not have electricity and hence their communities were usually quiet during the night. The reason behind the taboo was whistling would travel far at night disturbing the whole community to the extent of waking up people who were already asleep. Whistles are usually loud as well know so in the event of preserving peace, this taboo was put in place.
In addition to the taboos is the abomination to get pregnant before marriage. With the absence of television, radio, social media and other entertainments, sex was a common thing to engage in. to save the situation, there was the establishment of a taboo. Having sex before marriage was a taboo and getting yourself pregnant will lead to your banishment from the community.
To conclude, most taboos are now things of the past. But the question is if they had still been in existence, would the indiscipline level in our society these days be reduced? Taboos had reasons and good reasons as that.