THE GOOD ABOUT THE GHANAIAN CULTURE 150 150 National Commision on Culture

Culture is said to be the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations. Ghanaian culture is one which is rich in heritage and has been passed down from generations to generations, it is one which is quick to embrace change when it is good and do away with anything negative.

From a distance the general outlook of a typical Ghanaian society is one which is very conservative but in practice or reality, it is one which is very progressive. Like the famous Akan adage which says “when time changes; you have to change along”. In Ghana every ethnic group has its own traditions which evolve to deal with human situation of the time. Some become so obsolete that, the ethnic group may have no good reason to continue the practice. Some may also be found harmful in the perspective of modern scientific knowledge. Harmful traditional practices are hurt, injure and humiliate people even though the practitioner may not consider them harmful. In Ghana examples of such practices includes female genital mutilation, cruel widowhood rite, tribal marks, trokosi system and imprisonment in witch camps. At this point in our country’s history, the call by well – meaning Ghanaians that these practices be abolished completely, although they are already extinct and happen in isolated area, should be seen as a step in the right direction.

Cocoa is not indigenous to Ghana, it was brought to the “Gold Coast” from an island called “Fernando po” in the year 1876 by Tetteh Quarshie a Ghanaian agriculturalist and a blacksmith. Our farmers adapted and adopted cocoa production since 1893 when the first two bags of cocoa were exported. Ghana was once leading producer of Cocoa, termed a “traditional” export in Ghana, a major foreign exchange earner for the economy and contributes significantly to the gross domestic product of the economy.  Ghana’s Cocoa beans and processed material are still of the highest quality worldwide.

Ghanaian culture is one which is quick to accept change and make it as “Ghanaian” as possible.  Our music is no exception. Traditional Ghanaian music may be divided geographically between the vast savannah northern and the fertile, forested southern coastal areas. The music of Ghana often reflects a Caribbean influence yet it still retains a flavor of its own. During the Gold Coast era Ghana was a hotbed of musical syncretism. Rhythm especially from “gombe” and “ashoko” guitar styles such as mainline and Osibisa, European bass bands and sea shanties were all combined into a melting pot that became highlife. Highlife spread like wildfire via Ghanaian workers to other English speaking West African countries like Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.

Because of how dynamic the Ghanaian culture is, in the late 1990’s a new generation of artistes led by Reggie Rockstone discovered Hip life. Hip life is a fusion of rap in the local dialects over westernized beats or English rap over African beats. Hip life has since proliferated and produced stars like sakordie and Obrafour. Either ways whether hip life, high life or contemporary, High life has a foreign element about it but it is traditionally Ghanaian. This shows how progressive the Ghanaian culture is in this ever changing world.