Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

A few weeks ago, our program took a trip to Kumasi which is located in the central region of Ghana. We left on a Friday afternoon and returned back to Accra on Sunday evening. During our trip, we visited a traditional Asante home, Manhyia Palace (a historical museum about the Asante Kingdom and the official residence of the Asante King, I’ll explain later), and Kejetia Market. I describe more about the trip and each location in the pictures below.

Our first stop was a visit at one of the traditional Asante homes that is also a museum. The place that we visited was one of ten existing traditional Asante homes. When the British came to colonize the land, many battles broke out which resulted in most homes being destroyed. The home that we visited was en extension of the main portion of the palace that was destroyed. This picture shows drums that are known as ‘talking drums’ in English. They were used to communicate and there was a specific system to them. The Asante people discovered that the drums could be heard within a 6 mile (or kilometer, I can’t remember exactly) radius. Therefore, at every 6 mile (or kilometer) there were drums so that the message could spread from town to town. Messages could be sent as a far as modern-day Ivory Coast which is amazing.
This was a special area where the Queen Mother would sit and give orders, make announcements, etc. The black door leads to a shrine room that is open to the public on very rare occasions.
Caption on the photograph reads: 19th-century Royal building.
Caption on photograph reads: Drawing by M. Swithenbank varying designs on the front wall of the shrine room at Kansas.
We also stopped at a Kente cloth making village called Bonwire. Here, we learned about how the Kente cloth came about, were able to watch the Kente weaving process, and buy traditional Kente cloth.
Thread used for Kente cloth weaving.
We also learned about Adinkra symbols. They each have different meanings and are printed on different kinds of cloths. This picture shows some of the Adinkra symbols on strips of cloth.
More fabric with Adinkra symbols.

Our next stop was the Manhyia Palace. Guests are not allowed to take pictures inside so I have no pictures to present. What I can say is that we took a tour of the palace and learned about the history of the Asante kingdom. The palace also had life-sized replicas of past kings and queens which was cool to see. Something interesting that I learned about the Asante Kingdom is that they follow a matriarchal system. This means that your position in society is based upon your mother’s status. It’s very different from many other cultures around the world which use the patriarchal system. I thought that was amazing since I am a woman and I don’t know of many cultures that use a matriarchal system.

Our last destination was Kejetia market which is the largest market in West Africa. It was PACKED. So many people and so many stores and stalls. We all split up into groups to look around the market to make it easier since it’s such a busy place. I didn’t take pictures because it was so busy but I can tell you that it’s an experience. I purchased a large amount of shea butter for 20 cedis which is the equivalent of around $5. At one point, we lost someone but we were able to find her just as we were getting ready to reenter the market! I would recommend visiting this place with someone else or in a small group.

Overall, I really enjoyed the trip to Kumasi. The weather was cooler, I learned more about the Asante people and culture, and I made a great market purchase!