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GHANAIAN PROVERBS AND SYMBOLS FOR COMMUNICATION
Okwasia na y3bu no b3 a y3kyer3 no mu- "When the fool is told a proverb, its meaning has to be explained to him" (Akan Proverb)



Ghanaian Proverbs like all African Proverbs offer wisdom and poetry in just one sentence. Proverbs play an important part in African cultures all across the continent. The beauty of proverbs is the universality of their meanings. Every culturally educated person from Africa can relate to them in some way, at some level. Yet they are also uniquely African and help students of African Studies and enthusiasts gain an insight into African culture. Ghanaian proverbs can convey (Nyansa)-Wisdom, ( Nokware) Truth,( Nyansapo) discovery of ideas, ( Abakosem) -Recount History as well as life lessons. 

Ghana has 10 main regions and over 50 ethnic communities with many distinctive languages. It is from the languages that the proverbs are created to reflect the communities' history, environment, life style, religious beliefs and cultural norms.  

Akan language is the most widely spoken language in Ghana. We are therefore writing all our quoted proverbs in the above language with literary translations: 

"Beebi Dehye3 akodan beebi akowaa" -A king's child when he is not known, becomes a slave/an ordinary person in a foreign land. 

Okoto nnwo anoma-The Crap Does not Begat a Bird

Nya Asem Hwe- You Only Get to Know Your Real Friends and Enemies In Times of Distress

Obrapa Gye Owura kwan- Good Name Precedes the Owner

Dzin Pa y3 sen ahoya-Good Name is Better than Riches

Oba Nyansafo) Y3bu No b3-A Word to the Wise is Enough

Wonsoum Wonye Nyimpa- It takes a Village

Efow Dua Pa a, Na Wo Pia Wo - When you climb a good tree, the community supports you ( Help Goes to the Prepared Person or the One Who is Ready)

Mmoko Nyinaa Nnbom Mber- All Farm Peppers do not Ripe at the same time ( Time for everything)

Ajumako Ampesi Wob) Kaw Dzi-It cost a lot to Prepare Ajumako Ampesi ( Nothing Comes Cheap)

Brosow a oy3 dew no na Abaa D3 ase- The most edible pawpaw tree has a plucking stick under it all the time

Ndwom a oy3 d3w no , na wogyegye ho- Only our Favorite Music, do we Sing Along

Kokobo Na Akok) Wosaa Wonda- Enemies Do Not Sleep on the Same Bed

Agor y3 Wo dew a esoa twene- It is the enthusiastic lover of music that stays late to help carry drums.

Ama d3 oba saw ara ma adze akye, ana woabisa akyerema a?- Ama says she would dance till day break but did she ask when the drummers will stop?

Ndwom pa dze Asa Pa Nam- Good Music attracts Good Dance



SYMBOLS OF COMMUNICATION 
( ADINKRA)

The Origin and Meaning of Adinkra Symbols

Adinkra which means bidding farewell, is the name of a beautifully designed cotton cloth produced in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire that has traditional Akan symbols stamped upon it. The adinkra symbols represent popular community proverbs and maxims, important community historical events, expression of particular attitudes or behaviour related to depicted figures, or concepts uniquely related to abstract shapes.  Other well known traditional cloths of importance are kente and adanudo.

Brief History:

The Akan people (of what is now Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire) had developed significant skills in weaving by the sixteenth century, with Nsoko (present day Begho) an important weaving centre. Adinkra, originally produced by the Gyaaman clans of the Bono ( Brong) region, was the exclusive right of royalty and spiritual leaders, and only used for important ceremonies such as funerals.

During a military conflict at the beginning of the nineteenth century, caused by the Gyaaman trying to copy the neighbouring Asante's 'golden stool' (the symbol of the Asante nation), the Gyaaman king was killed. His adinkra robe was taken by Nana Osei Bonsu-Panyin, the Asante Hene (Asante King), as a trophy. With the robe came the knowledge of adinkra aduru (the special ink used in the printing process) and the process of stamping the designs onto cotton cloth.

Nyansapo OheneTuo Osram Osram Ne Nsoroma Sankofa(Variant #1) Sankofa (Variant #3) Tabono Wawa Aba

Over time the Asante further developed adinkra symbology, incorporating their own philosophies, folk-tales and culture. Adinkra symbols were also used on pottery, metal work (especially abosodee), and are now incorporated into modern commercial designs (where their related meanings give added significance to the product), architecture and sculpture.

Dono Ntoaso Gye Ntame Kode Emower Ewa Musuyide Nkyin Kyin Akuma Nyame Nyame Nti Nyame Nwu Na Mawu

Adinkra cloth is more widely available today, although the traditional methods of production are very much in use. The traditional ink (adinkra aduru) used for stamping is obtained by boiling the bark of the Badie tree with iron slag. (Because the ink is not fixed, the material should not be washed!) Adinkra cloth is used in Ghana for special occasions such as weddings and initiation rites.

Ako Ben Akoko Nan Akoma Ntoaso Ananse Ntontan Bese Saka Bin Nka Bi Denkyem Dono

REFERENCES: http://www.adinkra.org/htmls/graphics.htm

                                        http://africanhistory.about.com/library/weekly/aaAdinkra.htm

                                       http://www.scribd.com/doc/30877874/Adinkra-Symbology

                                      


                                     




FOLLOW THIS LINK FOR DRUMMING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE GALLERY

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