The Ga people are a small ethnic group comprising a population of nearly 700,000 people in the south of the modern country of Ghana. There are six states of the Ga people: Accra, Nugua, La, Osu, Teshi, and Tema. The original Ga kingdom of Nkran gives the city of Accra its name. In the early part of the 16th century, the Ga Mantse, the title of the kings, extended the kingdom around the present site of the city of Accra.
Hooting at hunger
Homowo refers to “hooting at hunger.” This means that hunger cannot rule the people; in other words, hunger has no victims among the Ga because they laugh and hoot at hunger. This festival remembers a massive famine that nearly wiped out the people in the 17th century. Since that time, the Ga have come to realize how fortunate they were to survive as a coherent and intact social group. They celebrate Homowo each year to commemorate their survival and their victory over hunger.
Duty Of The Ga Mantse
The Ga Mantse oversees the Homowo Festival, but all the while he never speaks directly to any- one in public. Much like the Akan, the Ga people have a linguist who speaks for the Ga Mantse. This spokesperson, the Otsame, carries a deco- rated staff that identifies him as the person who speaks for the king. Indeed, the staff has a coat of arms that shows a deer standing on the back of an elephant that symbolizes the fact that the small can exercise power over the large.
Ways Of Expressions
expresses the same general characteristics found in other African societies. They refer to other humans as brothers and sisters and are taught to welcome strangers into their homes. Among the Ga, respect for the elderly is at the heart of the cultural customs. This is why the use of proverbs that originated with the ancestors is a major part of the Ga tradition. They love poetry, oral performance, and oratory. The Ga say that one day there was a massive exodus of people from the sea to the land and they looked like ants, thus the name gaga, and the Ga believe that they represent these people.
System Of Beliefs
The Ga believe that all things have spirits. They say that the Almighty Deity, Nyomo, cre- ated all spirits and placed them in humans, trees, mountains, and rivers. When the spirits want to communicate with humans, they enlist the ser- vices of priests, priestesses, and oracles that are referred to as Dzema Wagin. The high priests of the religion are called wulomo, and they are chosen to demonstrate care and service to the ancestors and the people. The wulomo practice herbal medicine, ritual ceremonies to maintain balance in the society, and serve as consultants to the Ga Mantse.
Craftsmanship of Ga
The Ga are famous for funerals. They are skilled craft persons who make coffins according to the desires and needs of the families. Their belief is that when a person dies, he or she moves to another realm and should take his or her favorite objects with him or her to the new realm. Thus, if one is a pilot, he might want to have a coffin that is an airplane. A taxi driver may want to be buried in a taxi. A person could have a personality trait highlighted, such as wearing white shoes or loving red dresses. In that case, the Ga coffin maker would create a coffin that looked like a white shoe or one that looked like a red dress.
The Ga accept the idea that there is life after death and the spirit (i.e., Susuma) lives on when the person dies.
The rituals performed by the family and the priests throughout the year are done to ensure that the ancestors are revered in the afterlife.