Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molefi Kete Asante
The yam is a large root vegetable that resembles a tube. The vegetable is sometimes called a tuber . It is widespread in West Africa, and because it usually develops after the rainy season, it is the first vegetable to be harvested by the West African people. This gives the yam its special significance among African people. The yam is not to be confused with the sweet potato, which has origins in Asia. The yam is indigenous to Africa. Almost all the people of Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, the Cameroons, Benin, Togo, Guinea, and Sierra Leone know the importance of the yam. Nothing is more sacred as a vegetable than the appearance of the new yam. It portends a good season, productive activities in the villages, and even good childbirths. Yam festivals are common in West African villages. The appearance of ...