Bibini4gh Blog

Are we losing our grip on our customs and traditions?

A vox pop conducted by Adom TV’s “Amammere Dwumadie” on Adinkra symbol ‘Akoko nan’ became a farce when the public displayed their sheer ignorance giving hilarious interpretations to this Adinkra symbol.

Akoko nan

“Oh this symbol represents an anchor for securing a ship in place at the Ghana Ports and Harbour” one said. Another maintained that “it is definitely the hook attached to the fishing line for catching fish” and yet another said “ Hmmm… it looks like a sickle, a tool used to pluck cocoa and other fruits in my village and from the look of the sharp double pointed edges, it best represents a warrior’s weapon …”

This episode clearly displayed how oblivious Ghanaians have become about their own cultural tenets which once used to be highly cherished; a situation that must be address as a people to safe guard our rich traditions.

Well, the “AKOKO NAN” symbol literally means, “the leg of a hen”. This symbol is expressed in full as “Akokonan tia ba, na enkum ba” to wit, “The hen treads on her chicks, but she does not kill the child”.

Eric Martey acting director of the Kumasi Centre of National Culture who was approached on the interpretation on this wise saying explained that it is a proverb that zeros in on the concept of discipline in traditional Ghanaian society. “This refers to discipline expressed the Ghanaian African way. The kind of discipline as opposed to the brutalities that are rife in news headlines as in the cutting off child’s ear over stubbornness or plucking out the eyes of a child for simply watching Television as perpetrated by some cruel mothers out of frustration”.

Though it is important to punish a wayward child to deter him and others from repeating similar vice, this should be done with love, not with the intention of hurting the child.

Mr. Martey also raised concerns about how little this generation know about their cultural heritage. He lamented how the true people of the land have neglected their own customs handing it on a silver platter to the foreign world instead. He specifically cited an instance where he met a white tourist who had compiled a concise dictionary on Adinkra symbols and other cultural elements.

It is premised on this that he strongly advised Ghanaians to learn their culture to stamp our identity as proud Africans and imbibe it in our younger generation to ensure that we do not lose it in the future.




As this Adinkra symbol goes ‘Odo nnyera (nnyew) fie kwan’ meaning “Love never loses its way home”… If we love our culture and the roots to our origin we will find our way back to it.

Let’s apply the graciousness of ‘Sankofa’ to reunite with our past through our customs and hoist the culture of Ghana high for the world to see.


2 comments on “Are we losing our grip on our customs and traditions?

  1. Indeed it is true that the rich culture and heritage that our forefathers left for us is gradually being discarded.I believe that this attitude of Ghanaians has also contributed to the current economic plight in the country.I think that most Ghanaians will lack the alacrity to go back to our roots.Even most schools no longer recite the national anthem and pledge anymore.This is so pathetic.Especially the students in preparatory and international schools can not even say about 5 proverbs in their native languages.Songs like “yen ara yen asaase ni” and “dwene oman yi ho” which instilled so much Ghanaian spirit in us are no longer heard of.Our elders say that “sankofa yenkyi”,on that note I think we have to go back to our roots to bring back that moral and disciplined lives that our ancestors left for us-”you and I”.
    Long live Mother GHANA!!!!

  2. Well I am not surprised at all after all we were taught that Kwasiada is the twi word for Sunday and we are still ignorantly doing it today.