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 Tallensi people live in the northern part of the modern country of Ghana. They are descended from an agricultural people who inhabited the savanna region of Ghana. It is believed that the Tallensi govern their land with an elaborate clan system based on kinship. All government must be under the control and guidance of the high priests of the Earth, as well as the kings of the people. These two groups represent two independent clans, and therefore the functions of the priests and the kings are always separate, a sort of separation of the church and state. The current population of Tallensi is no more than 300,000. Speaking the Talni language, the Tallensi have been closely identified with the Gur language group. Almost all of the Tallensi customs, traditions, and values are related to rituals dealing with the first-born son. As a polygamous people who trace their lineage through ...