Ghana is a sub equatorial, English speaking country located in Western Africa. It is bordered by the Gulf of Guinea, the French speaking countries of Togo and Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso. Ghana’s economy is based almost exclusively on gold mining, and the growth and export of cocoa and timber. It was the first African country to gain independence in 1960. English is the official language of the country, but it is typically the second language used by Ghanaians, who speak 9 other major languages and multiple dialects depending on their ethnic background and tribal affiliations. Approximately 70% of the 26 million Ghanaians are Christian, and two thirds of the population live of agriculture in the countryside.
Akan, Moshi, Ga-Adangme, and Ewe are among the principal ethnic groups. These groups are usually well known to the traveler because to their beautiful craftworks such as fertility dolls, hand carved stools, and especially the precious “Kente” cotton cloth woven with intricate patterns of brilliant colored silk.
Ghanaian Culture Is First Collective
Family affiliation is a very strong cultural and social bond in Ghana. Social standing and recognition is an extended family concern, and the honor, dignity, and reputation of each member reflects directly on the group as a whole. No one should cause embarrassment to the family and losing face is to be avoided at all costs. What other culture may see as “showing off” is a need to maintain harmony and gain respect from others.
Understanding the Gift Offers And Dinner Etiquette
Never refuse an invitation to dinner. It happens often as you are considered a friend, and you will be expected to dress well and bring gifts – but not expensive gifts, as the thought is more important than the value. The gifts should be wrapped and offered only from the right hand. When you arrive you should greet the elders first. At the table, you’ll wash your hands in the bowl they’ll pass around., and always wait for the elder to begin eating first. You’ll pick the food directly in front of you in the common dish, do not search on the other side for a smaller piece. Never use your left hand. Try to use your right hand, thumb and 2 fingers to keep the food in your hand and push it in your mouth with your thumb. Observe the technique and try it yourself, and if it is too much it is OK to ask for utensils… but only after you have given it a good try!