Ghana food is widely eaten across West Africa and the world at large. In this article in celebration of Ghana month, we will be talking about major ethnic groups in Ghana and the Ghana food that they definitely call their cultural dish.
History of Ghana
Ghana which is officially the Republic of Ghana is a country in West Africa. It is bordered on the south by the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west, it shares borders with Ivory Coast, Togo in the east, and Burkina Faso in the north.
Ghana has a land mass area of about 238,535 km and about thirty-one million inhabitants according to the 2021 Census. Ghana is the second most populated country in West Africa after Nigeria.
The capital and largest city in Ghana is Accra; there are other major cities such as Kumasi, Tamale e.t.c
Ghana gained Independence from colonial masters on March 6th, 1957 after 83 years of British colonial rule becoming the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve independence from Britain., and became a republic in the year 1960 on July 1st. Before becoming a republic, Ghana was ruled by Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah, who became Ghana’s first president in 1960.
Ethnic Groups in Ghana
Ghana is a country with multiple languages with about 80 languages spoken. English is the official language of the Ghanaian people and it is the lingua franca. Ghana also has an indigenous language spoken by the majority which is Akan.
Ghana has over seventy ethnic groups each with its own definite language. Languages that belong to the same ethnic group are usually mutually understandable.
Eleven languages are government-sponsored: four Akan ethnic languages (Akuapem Twi, Asante Twi, Fante, and Nzema) and two Mole-Dagbani ethnic languages (Dagaare and Dagbanli). The rest are Ewe, Dangme, Ga, Gonja, and Kasem, Hausa.
The major ethnic groups in Ghana include the Akan at 47.5% of the population, the Mole-Dagbon at 16.6%, the Ewe at 13.9%, the Ga-Dangme at 7.4%, the Gurma at 5.7%, the Guan at 3.7%, the Grusi at 2.5%, the Kussasi at 1.2%, and the Bikpakpaam a.k.a Konkomba people at 3.5%.
According to Victor Mochere, about 0.064% of the Ghanaian population is white, while another 0.03% is Indian, 0.01% of the population is Arab, 0.011% is African American and about 2.4% of the population is Chinese.
Popular Ghana Food
There are several unique Ghana foods that are quite popular across the African continent and the world in general.
Staple foods of Ghana are usually root vegetables such as yam, cassava, plantains e.t.c and these provide a majority of the Ghanaian diet. Corn and rice are also an integral part of Ghana’s Food alongside warm-water fruits such as Watermelon, papaya, and mango. Tomatoes, onions, and pepper are popular and readily available vegetables.
The popular protein of choice used in preparing Ghana Food is Fish. As Ghana is situated on the West African coast, fishing is a popular tradecraft.
Popular Ghana foods that are usually eaten by Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians include
- Fufu and soup
- Jollof Rice
- Tuo Zafi
- Kenkey and dried fish
- Red Red
Ethnic Groups and their Favourite Ghana Food
As mentioned before, Ghana has a lot of Ethnic groups, but we will be talking about the majority groups and the Ghana Food that they are known for.
It is a known fact that every group of people has a way of life i.e culture which includes the foods they eat.
Different tribes have diverse Ghana foods that are said to be their main cultural dish, which they are known for. It could also be that the Ghana food peculiar to a particular tribe might be hinged on geographical locations and what is readily available in the area and easily accessible. Regardless of the reason why a particular tribe or ethnic group indulges in a particular Ghana food as its cultural dish. Here are a few Ethnic groups and their preferred Ghana food.
Akan Ethnic Group
The Akan Ethnic Group is the most popular tribe/ethnic group in Ghana with about 47.5% of Ghana’s population belonging to the Akan tribe.
The Akan people are a kwa group that lives primarily in modern-day Ghana, although some of them are found in some parts of Togo and the Ivory Coast. The Akan language is also known as Twi/Fante. the Akan ethnic group has subgroups which include the Agona, Akuapem, Akwamu, Akyem, Ashanti, Bono, Fante, Kwahu, Wassa, and Ahanta.
The Akan culture is one of the traditional matrilineal cultures of Africa. They are well own for their art as it is wide-ranging and renowned.
Favourite Ghana Food of the Akan Ethnic Group
The Ghana Food that the Akan people are most known for and can be eaten at any time of the day is Fufu. Fufu is a combination of cassava and plantain pounded together and can be eaten locally with a locally-made soup like Palm nut soup.
Ewe Ethnic Group
The Ewe people are a Gbe-speaking ethnic group. The Ewe ethnic tribe makes up about 13% of the Ghana population as over 6 million of Ghanaians are of the Ewe ethnic group.
The Ewe people were formerly known as the Dogbo. The ancient history of the Ewe people is not recorded, they might have migrated from a place called Ketu or Amedzofe in Benin, east of the Niger River, or they are from the region that is now the border between Benin and Nigeria and then, because of invasions and wars in the 17th century, migrated into their current location.
They are patrilineal people that live in towns, cities, and villages that contain lineages. A male elder heads every lineage. In the Ewe ethnic group, the male ancestors are revered.
Favourite Ghana Food of the Ewe People
The Ewe people can be found in Ghana’s Volta and Oti regions. The Ghana Food popularly eaten by the Ewe ethnic group is Akple. This meal is not common to other ethnic groups which makes the dish special.
It is prepared from corn flour boiled with hot water and stirred to make it solid, it is eaten with okra and agbavi.
Ga Ethnic Group
The Ga people are on the southeast coast of Ghana. They speak the Ga language and they make up about six percent of Ghana’s population.
Ga’s are mostly found in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Typical Ga’s are found in Osu, Labadi, Chorkor, Teshie, Nungua, and Mamprobi. Each of these Ga towns has a stool that serves as the central object of Ga ritual and war magic. Accra became the most prominent Ga town and is now the capital of Ghana.
Favourite Ghana Food of Ga Ethnic Group
Their most enjoyed Ghana food is Ga Kenkey. This food is widely eaten by other ethnic groups because it is heavy and affordable. The Ga man will always have his fill of Kenkey, hot pepper, and fried fish.
Kenkey is made by steeping maize grains in water for about two days before milling and kneading them into a dough. After allowing the dough to ferment for a few days, a portion of it is baked and mixed with uncooked dough. This meal, a traditional representation of Ghanaian cuisine, is served all year.
Fante Ethnic Group
The Fante people are Akan people also known as the Mfantsefo people. They are mainly located in the Central and Western regions of Ghana. Over the past half-century, because of fishing expeditions, Fante communities can be found as far as Gambia, Liberia, and even as far as Angola.
Major Fante cities in modern Ghana include Kasoa, Winneba, Agona Swedru, Tarkwa, Oguaa (Cape Coast), Edina (Elmina), Mankessim, Sekondi, and Takoradi.
Favorite Ghana Food of The Fante Ethnic Group
The Fante people are known for their love of staple food and the Ghana food that is an all-time favorite is Etsew. This meal is quite similar to Banku, unlike Banku no cassava dough is added when preparing this meal. It is made from maize and it is usually eaten with vegetables, pepper, and fish. Etsew is prepared by boiling water and pouring corn flour into it and mixing it till it is solid. This Ghana food is eaten by a lot of non-Ghanians.
Dagomba Ethnic Group
The Dagombas are a Gur ethnic group of northern Ghana, they have a population of about 3.1 million people. The term Dagbamba is also used to refer to other descendants of Naa Gbewaa. They are located in the Northern region of Ghana in the Guinea savanna region. They speak the Dagbani language.
The Dagomba people are predominantly Muslim as Islam is their major religion. Let us take a look at their favorite Ghana Food of all time.
Favorite Ghana Food of the Dagomba Ethnic Group
The Dagombas have a unique Ghana Food called Wasawas. This special dish is made from dried Yam leaves that are ground into flour and then steamed.
The Wasawasa dish is a very spicy dish and can be eaten with some vegetables. It is made by mixing the flour in water and steaming it, then adding pepper, oil, and other spices and boiling it together. This Ghana food is very special to not just the Dagomba people but also to people from the northern parts of Ghana.
These are some of the ethnic groups in Ghana and the Ghana food that they are popularly known to eat. These Ghana foods are a must-try and if you do try any of them be sure to tag us on our social media handles.