Ghana is a wonderful country blessed with a historic and diverse culture that is displayed in the people, the food, the music and the art in every city around the country. But what are some of the standout features of the Ghanaian culture? What interesting things about Ghana should you know about?
In this blog, we’ll explore some of the most interesting facts about Ghana so that you can learn a bit more about the country and what makes it so special.
All the way back in 1957, Ghana re-established themselves as one of the most powerful countries on the continent when they gained independence from the British Empire.
In that year, a new president called Kwame Nkrumah got power and a new flag, displaying the Pan-African colours of red, yellow, green and black, was adopted.
Celebrations commenced on the dawn of Ghana’s independence. Before colonisation, Ghana consisted of a number of independent kingdoms, including the Gonja, Dagomba, Ashanti and Fanti states. All these kingdoms are now unified under the Ghanaian flag.
Colourful ‘Fantasy Coffins’
If you have ever visited Ghana you may have seen colourful painted boxes shaped into various interesting figures. These are called fantasy or figurative coffins. They are functional coffins that are made as part of a custom of the Ghanaian people. They can be found across the country, from small towns to the larger Ghanian cities.
The elaborate decorations on the coffins are linked to the religious beliefs held within the country and are about the journey to the afterlife. They are a fascinating example of Ghana’s spiritual and artistic traditions.
Ghana loves football
Ghana has a fantastic footballing history. The men’s Ghana national football team has represented the country since the 1950s. It has won the prestigious Africa Cup of Nations four times - in 1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982. And whenever the Ghana national team qualifies for the World Cup, they receive ecstatic support across the world.
Their most recent success at the World Cup was in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where they became the third African team to reach the quarter-final stage.
There are about 50 spoken indigenous languages
The incredible diversity of culture in Ghana is most clearly seen in all the languages spoken across the country. There are around 50 indigenous languages with the major ones being Ga, Ewe, Dagaare, Akan, Dagbani. There are over eighty languages spoken throughout Ghana with English being the official language.
If you travel in the Northern Region you are likely to hear Dagbani and Mampelle. In the Upper West Region you may hear the Frafra and Waali languages. The country is also surrounded by Francophone countries like Togo, the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. So as well as the many indigenous languages and English, French is also spoken widely throughout the country.
Largest producer of Gold in Africa
Ghana has a long history of gold production. Today, the gold mining industry is one of the country’s most important sectors. Gold contributes to over 90% of the total mineral exports of the country, making it the largest product of gold in the whole continent. The economy of the country continues to benefit greatly from the gold deposits and the very active gold mining industry.
Ghana has a space program
In 2017 Ghana launched a nano-satellite into space. The GhanaSat -1 was the first object Ghana had ever put into space. The satellite was part of a bigger space related project called the Kyushu Institute of Technology Birds-1 program which is about helping countries build their first satellite.
For two years, the satellite was used to monitor environmental activities along Ghana’s coastline. And in 2019 the satellite de-orbited and returned to earth. The satellite is the first step for Ghana’s space program.
Ghana means ‘Warrior King’
You can’t get a much more noble name for a country than Warrior King. ‘Ghana’ was the title given to kings of the medieval West African Ghana Empire. It is a title that reaches back to ancient eras and flourishing African empires and it also speaks to the commanding and vibrant modern Ghana nation.
Ghana is home to the biggest man-made lake in the world
Lake Volta in the southeast of Ghana is the largest artificial reservoir in the world. The lake has an enormous storage capacity of 24,000,000 acre-feet (153,000,000,000 cubic m) of water. The construction of the Akosombo Dam over the River Volta in the 1960s created the lake and since then it has served the people of Ghana in a number of ways. Lake Volta has proved to be a fantastic way for Ghana to generate electricity, provide transportation and irrigation.
Ghana is also home to the fastest man in the world to run backwards
Born in 1964, Ferdie Ato Adoboe, a Ghanaian national, set a World Record in 1983 for running backwards. While you’re unlikely to see him at the next Olympic Games, Ferdie Ato Adoboe is an athlete who got into the Guinness Book of World Record by running 100 metres backwards in 12.7.
He is a graduate from the University of Massachusetts and is the holder of at least four speed-related world records. This fact is as bizarre as it is interesting and truly serves as a testament to the wonderful exuberant and intriguing nature of the Ghanaian people.
There is a sacred Crocodile Pond
In the Upper East Region of Ghana, in a place called Paga there is a sacred and ancient crocodile pong. The pond is home to a host of old and surprisingly docile crocodiles. They are armed with an impressive set of gnashers but apparently for many years they have been reluctant to use them against visitors.
Don’t be too scared. In fact the Paga Crocodile Pond is one of the premier tourist spots in the whole country because the crocs are so docile enough that visitors can get close and touch them. The crocodiles have a special relationship with the locals who treat them like pets and take care of them throughout the year. It is a fascinating place and definitely worth a visit!
P.S. If you want to know about other tourist attractions in Ghana don't hesitate to check out our other blog post!
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If you want to learn more about Ghana check out our blog about The Ghanaian cedi.
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