At Buffer, we recurrently share cultural spotlights from colleagues to attach our international crew, and assist us perceive each other at a deeper stage.
Right here’s a barely edited model of a cultural highlight we lately highlighted from Cheryl, a Buyer Advocate at Buffer.
I’ve lived in Ghana my entire life and I’m pleased to share extra about this lovely nation with you! I grew up within the capital metropolis, Accra, was in highschool in Cape Coast for 3 years, school in Kumasi for 4 years and moved to Tema after I received married about 6 years in the past. All of those locations I’ve skilled are cities in order that’s about as a lot private perspective I’ve of Ghana.
I spent nearly all of my early years in Accra. I used to be privileged to have attended non-public Catholic Faculty, for my primary/elementary college schooling from kindergarten until JSS 3 (aka grade 9). Attending a personal college is the will of most households in Ghana, as public primary colleges are usually not in the most effective of states.
I lived with primarily my nuclear household – dad and mom and two siblings all through this time, with relations coming in every so often to stick with us for some time. That is fairly regular in Ghana – households have sturdy ties with each other to the extent that in most of our native languages, the identical phrase is used to check with your siblings and cousins.
In Ghana, adults are extremely revered and as a toddler, you can’t give a counter opinion to what an grownup says. There’s even a proverb that claims, “Kids should be seen, not heard”. I’ll say my household didn’t maintain onto this so strongly, however there have been positively moments the place we wished let’s imagine extra as children.
Happening holidays just isn’t quite common in Ghana, nevertheless, my mum labored with an airline across the time we have been rising up so we received the prospect to take a number of journeys abroad, largely to the UK, as soon as to the US after which as soon as to South Africa. Exterior of that, college holidays have been spent taking part in open air with buddies or visiting our hometown, Aflao to see our relations there.
After primary/elementary college, I attended a public boarding highschool, in Cape Coast. That is additionally the norm in Ghana, that’s, attending boarding college throughout your highschool years. Most kids stay up for this chance to go away dwelling for the primary time and the most effective colleges usually battle with admissions as they at all times have far too many purposes coming in.
I can relate this to the will to attend Ivy League colleges within the US. Cape Coast has the most effective of the most effective colleges so as soon as once more I can say I used to be privileged. Though I used to be in highschool for 3 years, I do know subsequent to nothing about Cape Coast as a result of we weren’t allowed to discover town – there have been plenty of strict guidelines to reside by!
After highschool, I took a spot yr throughout which I had a instructing job at my primary/elementary college. Taking a spot yr after highschool was additionally the norm on the time, nevertheless issues have modified with some schooling reforms so this isn’t as fashionable anymore. You do get some people nonetheless opting to take a spot yr although. That is largely for monetary causes – to lift cash to attend college/school as attending school on a pupil mortgage just isn’t quite common in Ghana.
I attended one of many 13 public universities in Ghana, KNUST which is in Kumasi. Public universities are the extra reasonably priced and trusted choices for college schooling in Ghana. In latest instances, non-public universities like.Ashesi College, Central College and Educational Metropolis Faculty have grown as trusted universities however they don’t come low-cost and have very restricted consumption so it’s laborious to get a spot in them. Because of this, I’ll say as soon as once more that I used to be privileged to have attended KNUST. Fortunately, there may be rather more freedom within the college so I received the prospect to discover Kumasi albeit not an excessive amount of as a result of I wasn’t too adventurous, I assume.
I’ve intentionally highlighted the truth that I used to be privileged all through my years of education as a result of in my view, that creates a world of distinction within the alternatives which might be open to the common Ghanaian. Components that contributed to this privilege are the monetary power my dad and mom had, my grades, and possibly a little bit of likelihood.
Keep in mind what I discussed about how households have an in depth knit relationship in Ghana? Nicely, in each household, there are certain to be a number of who’re as privileged as I used to be and our accountability is to “take care” of our relations who aren’t as privileged. It is vitally regular in Ghana for relations to really feel entitled to a share of your month-to-month revenue merely since you are supposed to grasp they aren’t as privileged as you might be.
Most vacationers who’re requested say Ghanaians are very heat and hospitable individuals. Err…I may agree partly; I’d say we’re typically nicer to guests/foreigners. This even applies throughout the dwelling the place company normally have preferential remedy.
Life in Ghana can also be very chill, no rush, no urgency, no want to fret. I form of like this to some extent as a result of it means individuals are typically much less stressed about points and are capable of simply snort issues off. What I don’t like about this although is that getting issues finished in Ghana takes eternally.
If this entails an essential doc that you simply want for one thing, it might get fairly annoying. Nonetheless, issues have modified quite a bit in the previous couple of years and proceed to vary as some authorities companies have put measures in place to make the acquisition of paperwork quite a bit sooner and easier.
This “Hakuna. Matata life-style in Ghana additionally implies that it’s typically okay to accept something. Actually, it’s nearly alien to be eager on following your ardour. To most individuals, a job is a job, no want to fret about if you’re lower out for it or not. Oh, and yet another factor, if an occasion is scheduled to begin at 8:00, don’t be stunned to have a Ghanaian ask you if it’s 8 o’clock gmt or GMT. The “gmt” in small letters stands for Ghana Man Time and it means – though you say 8 – the occasion can begin at 9 or 10 or 11 with no apologies.
In any case, no worries in life proper? As a facet be aware, once I was a child, I really thought this was the true which means of GMT. 😄 Even when the occasion is being organised by a gaggle that’s eager on altering this mindset and as such, they imply 8:00 GMT, it might be laborious for them to begin on time as a result of that may imply beginning the occasion with an nearly empty room! However issues are altering, punctuality has gotten higher through the years.
Ghana has over 100 languages however the preferred one is Akan – you might be positive to get individuals in every of the 16 areas in Ghana who communicate some variant of Akan. Don’t inform anybody I instructed you this although, different tribes don’t wish to agree that Akan is the preferred language. 🤣 English is nevertheless the official language in Ghana so programs/topics in colleges are taught predominantly in English and enterprise is usually transacted in English as properly.
There’s not a single meal that may be described as the most typical in Ghana. Because of urbanization, most cultures take pleasure in native meals from different cultures. Some notable ones are fufu and soup from the Ashanti Area, banku and okro from the Volta Area, kenkey, fried fish and chilli sauce aka shitor from the Better Accra Area.
One widespread undeniable fact that our native meals share is that they take a very long time to be ready. Because of this, they don’t seem to be normally on a regular basis meals and largely reserved for the weekends, particularly Sundays and holidays. On a regular basis meals embrace rice dishes equivalent to jollof and waakye, beans and fried plantain, yam and palava sauce (constructed from kontonmire which is kind of just like spinach).
Grocery purchasing for recent meals is normally finished in open markets just like the Makola market. Malls and supermarkets have gotten actually fashionable in the previous couple of years however they’re most popular for packaged meals, garments, bedding and so forth. Eating places are the place to go to for dates and hangouts.
For celebratory dinners and particular events, Chinese language eating places and buffets at resorts are the favored locations of alternative.
The climate in Ghana is sunny for essentially the most a part of the yr, with a median temperature between 27 and 30 levels Celsius. For a number of weeks in December and January, we expertise harmattan which is characterised by dry, dusty winds. Throughout this time, temperatures can fall to about 20 levels Celsius within the evenings and early mornings, which is absolutely chilly in Ghana.
There’s additionally the wet season between Might and June. It may rain for a number of hours about 2-3 instances per week and it’s sunny the remainder of the time 🤣
Christianity and Islam are the 2 dominant religions in Ghana. Nonetheless, most cultures nonetheless have some type of reverence/acknowledgement of African Conventional Faith.
Associated to faith and spirituality, individuals in Ghana might be superstitious about a complete lot of issues. This creates a state of affairs the place it’s fairly an abomination to share your success tales like graduating from college, getting a brand new job, being pregnant, shopping for a brand new automotive, and so forth.
The upcoming era doesn’t appear to understand this tradition of maintaining issues underwraps a lot so we’re regularly preventing it. Social media has helped quite a bit in making us change into extra open, however the older era nonetheless don’t absolutely assist what we share publicly.
Festivals, Holidays, Occasions
Ethnic teams in Ghana every have at the least one competition they have a good time. These festivals largely have a significance associated to the historical past of the group. For instance, the ethnic group I’m from, Ewe, have a good time the Hogbetsotso competition as a approach to keep in mind their migration from current day Togo to Ghana once they fled from a depraved king.
Immediately, these festivals are events that ship metropolis dwellers dwelling to attach with their roots. They’re additionally a type of vacationer attraction.
We love public holidays in Ghana! Aside from holidays like Christmas, Easter and Eid Fitr/Adha that are celebrated by spiritual teams, each different public vacation is handled the identical means by most Ghanaians.
Formally, there might be some type of public occasion. Nonetheless, for most individuals, it’s simply one other day to spend a while on the seaside, organise a funfair, get together, go to a resort, and so forth.
Weddings are large occasions in Ghana and funerals are even greater. It’s commonplace to funds for as many as 500 company when planning your wedding ceremony in Ghana. Actually inviting fewer company makes you appear stuck-up and planning an invitation-only occasion will certainly get you some enemies for all times. For a funeral, you received’t even plan for a hard and fast quantity, simply plan to cater for everybody who reveals up and they’re positive to be greater than 500!
Weddings are largely in 3 elements. The normal wedding ceremony, which is the primary, is meant to be primarily between each the bride and groom’s households. Nonetheless, as a result of household ties are sturdy, anticipate to see members of the family that you simply by no means knew existed. That is adopted by a church or courtroom wedding ceremony after which lastly a reception. For people who find themselves nonetheless eager on having a extra intimate set of company, there might be a 4th occasion, which is usually a lunch or feast.
Funerals start with a wake-keeping normally beginning on a Friday night into the early hours of Saturday. On Saturday morning, there’s a church or household pre-burial occasion, adopted by the precise burial. A reception then follows which might final until the night. On Sunday, there may be one other occasion referred to as the “ultimate funeral rites” which is just about just like the reception that occurred on Saturday afternoon.
Throughout each receptions, there may be plenty of consuming, ingesting, dancing and fund-raising. Sounds extra like partying than mourning? You might be proper to assume that means. Keep in mind, Ghanaians don’t have a necessity to fret so even mourning for too lengthy is unsuitable. As soon as the burial is over, it’s time to have a good time the lifetime of the individual. Sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, it’s one of many issues I don’t fairly like both as a result of I really feel individuals are not likely allowed to mourn as a lot as they need/should.
Value of Residing
It’s laborious to offer a normal reply to what the price of residing is like in Ghana. Google’s reply will in all probability be that the price of residing is low, which might be true if you’re referring to residing primarily based on a sure form of commonplace. Nonetheless, for a extra snug life in Ghana, the price of residing is extraordinarily excessive. Folks barely ever make sufficient to have that form of life right here.
A great instance to elucidate that is housing. When younger adults get married, they’d normally hire a 2-bedroom home and keep on this home for a very long time to return as they increase children and attempt to construct their dream home on the similar time. Taking a mortgage to purchase a home is such a uncommon choice and is so costly. By the point the dream home is constructed, the youngsters are now not children to take pleasure in it, and the cycle continues.
I keep in mind once I first joined Buffer, one factor I discovered inside my onboarding doc that struck me was a video of “Ask vs Guess” tradition. I realised how a lot in Ghana now we have a really sturdy “guess” tradition and I had at all times been seen as completely different as a result of I like to ask questions quite a bit.
Over time, I’ve come to watch that I nonetheless have plenty of the attributes of somebody from a “guess” tradition ingrained in me. That is simply one of many methods I realise that I’m very completely different from the common Ghanaian in my mindset, beliefs, values and so forth and but when in comparison with individuals from different cultures, I’m nonetheless very completely different. A whole lot of what is appropriate in Ghana is just about part of me.
Hope this has given you somewhat glimpse into life in Ghana.