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
Yaba Amgborale Blay
The Akan are one of the best-known cultural groups in Africa. Currently 4 million strong, they are the largest cultural grouping of Ghana, representing approximately half of the country's population. The Akan Abusua (family), or clans, includes the Akuapem, Akyem (Abuakwa, Bosome, Kotoku), Asante, Brong-Ahafo, Fante, Kwahu, and Nzema. The Asante and Fante are the two largest of these subgroups. Although the political, social, religious, and customary practices of the Akan are similar, each clan shares a common cultural heritage and language, which, added to their historical tradition of group identity and political autonomy, contributed to the formation of individual nation-states during the precolonial period. This entry briefly describes their culture and then examines their ideas of spirituality in more detail. Lingusitically, the collective term Akan refers to a group of languages belonging to the Kwa subfamily of the Niger-Kordofanian language family spoken in both Ghana (south of the Making ...