Adinkra in Ntonso

It’s impossible to spend any time in Ghana without encountering an Adinkra symbol at least once. These enigmatic patterns are a cultural trademark of the Ashanti people, and can be found worked into textiles, furniture, walls, or anything else that might be improved with symbolic embellishment. We visited the capital of Adinkra production, in Ntonso, near Kumasi.

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Kente Weaving in Bonwire

As soon as we got out of the trotro in Bonwire, we were approached by guides. It seems there's exactly one reason for foreign faces to appear in this town -- and that's "kente". Without even bothering to ask what we were there for, a guy indicated that we follow him. He brought us to the town's main production hall, and gave us a quick tour. It was so efficient and straightforward, it didn't bother us not to have any choice in the matter. And the guy was super-nice.

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The Culture of the Ashanti

Our two weeks in Kumasi provided us with a crash course in Ashanti culture. Even though the people have embraced Christianity to a suffocating degree, ancient traditions and beliefs are still very much alive. We've touched on the history of the Ashanti, but thought we should also highlight some of the coolest idiosyncrasies of their culture.

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The Jubilee Prempeh II Museum

The day after having visited the site where the foundation of the Ashanti Empire has been immortalized by a sword stuck into the ground, our education continued at the nearby Jubilee Prempeh II Museum. Located within the confines of the Center for National Culture, this museum offers up an excellent overview of the ceremonies, history, and lifestyle of the Ashanti people.

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The Okomfo Anokye Sword

Located in the middle of Kumasi's sprawling hospital grounds, a sword buried into the ground marks the birthplace of the Ashanti Kingdom. In this exact spot, many centuries ago, the various Akan tribes from the area banded together for the common cause of war. The historic occasion was marked with this sword, which has been wedged immovably in the earth, ever since.

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