wird verwaltet von J. Schramm (Kommunikation)
Der Freundeskreis Afrika e.V. ist ein gemeinnütziger Verein mit Sitz in Schwäbisch Hall. Er bildet einen Zusammenschluss von Menschen aus unterschiedlichen Ländern, die sich für Völkerverständigung, Gerechtigkeit und die Umsetzung der Ziele nachhaltiger Entwicklung einsetzten. In der Region Schwäbisch Hall werden durch den Verein entwicklungspolitische und kulturelle Veranstaltungen sowie Vorträge organisiert. Er bietet Bildungsveranstaltungen zu globalem Lernen und fördert Maßnahmen, die eine wirksame Hilfe für die Menschen in Afrika bedeuten.
Der Verein organisiert und begleitet Freiwilligendienste, für die er seit mehreren Jahren mit dem Qualitätssiegel Freiwilligendienste von der Agentur für Qualität in Freiwilligendiensten (Quifd) ausgezeichnet ist.
What I really appreciate are the many cultural events we have experienced so far ranging from local food to cultural performances up to lessons in dancing, drumming and Ga, the local language. It is actually astonishing that I have not talked about food earlier on, it is usually the first thing I am interested in when entering a foreign country. As I have recognised, the Ghanaians enjoy rather simple but spicy flavoured meals. Usually, they consists of staples combined with stews or soups. Staple foods such as cassava, yam (often advertised as Ghanaian thing) or plantain are boiled, pounded and rolled into dough-like balls known as fufu. Banku is pounded out of boiled corn. “Another staple is kenkey, a fermented cornmeal dumpling which is boiled or steamed in plantain leaves and served with a sauce“.
There are variable types of stew available, most common stews are okra, but also fish and bean leaf. Palava is a spinach stew that can be served with either fish or chicken. Popular soups are groundnut (peanut) and palmnut soups and are often combined with fufu or banku. Ghanaians love their spices which can be a variety of cayenne, curry, ginger, garlic, onions, and chili peppers. As I assisted the cook in school, I observed that pepper was grinded together with tomatoes and ginger and added to fried onions. Rice can be cooked along with tomatoes to create jollof, which can be combined with vegetables or beef. I enjoy waakye, it is cooked rice along with beans.
An online article, I came across with, stated that “many of Ghana’s most popular foods are traditional dishes which reflect the country’s long history and agriculture“. Considering the national diet, it differs according to the region of the country. “In the north, millet (a type of grain), yams, and corn are eaten most frequently, while the south and west enjoy plantains (similar to bananas), cassava, and cocoyams (a root vegetable). The people of the dry south-eastern region eat mostly corn and cassava”.
What I really admire is a drink called burkina. It is a mixture of milk and formed small balls of certain types of ground millet. Since it is tasty and nutritional, it can you satisfy for a long time. Once started to be produced in Accra – Burkina, its popularity has been spread throughout the country. Thus the sale of burkina has been expanded and sellers can be encountered quite frequently in Ghanaian streets and cities. Koose is also a nice snack. It is a “spicy fried bean cake [which is] often combined with [a] spicy millet porridge called hausa koko”4. Luckily, Madame Millicent, a teacher at Anagkazo Mission Academy bought it for her son and let me try it.
I was once invited by Issah and his sister Lizzy to help them pound fufu. Pieces of pre-cooked plaintain were boiled in the mortar and added successively. During this process the added pieces were pounded with a larger pestle by Issah while Lizzy rolled it into a ball with her bare hands. Of course, this can be dangerous: Bones may be broken in the worst case of an accident if the timing of both preparer is not well correlated. However, Issah and Lizzy seem to be well experienced. Since fufu as a traditional food is prepared frequently, hence the Ghanaians are familiar with pounding fufu and thus accidents may happen rarely.
An important Ghanaian contemporary culture is the Kpanlogo – composed of a dance, rhythm and drum. Our first encounter with Kpanlogo was in cultural dancing classes offered at Presbytarian Mission School in Kokrobite, where Feli, another volunteer, assists. Accompanied by drummers, a dancing teacher and an instructor, the other volunteers and I were invited to join the pupils dance. The Ghanaian pupils dance with both gracefulness and rhythmic body movements so that I am stunned how easily it looks. However, when I try to imitate them, my movements either feel too stiff, out of rhythm or I mess up the choreography. But still, I have not lost the hope of learning it. Despite my self-pity, it is always a lot of fun and the Ghanaian pupils seem not to be tired of explaining parts of the choreography to me and they encourage us in keeping up with the dancing, which makes me feel integrated. Among the Ga people, the Kpanlogo dance was created in the late 1950’s by Otoo Lincoln, who “said he invented the dance to accompany a story his grandfather had told him:
“…there were three girl triplets called Kpanlogo, Mma Mma and Alogodzan. Their father, who was the chief of the town, said that the man who would guess the three girls’ names could take all three and marry them.
So one man went to the house dressed as a madman and met Mma Mma in the yard and she shouted to her two sisters to come and see someone dancing. As they called each other, the man learned the three names. To remember them he kept on singing to himself, “Kpanlogo, Alogodzan, Kpanlogo Mma Mma”…when the man came the chief gave him his daughters” –5
The second encounter of the Kpanlogo happened in drumming lessons. Issah has taught us not only the basic drum movements: tune, base and slap but also the rhythm of the Kpanlogo. It consists of a male and a female part, which are joined together. “The rhythm is adapted from traditional rhythms such as Gome, Oge and Kolomashie, which are frequently performed by musicians of the Ga tribe of Ghana, despite originating in other regions of Ghana”.Not only is this rhythm one of the most common in Ghana, but also forms the basis of many diverted pop songs. Of course, we partly played the rhythm on Kpanlogo drums; meaning the drums represent our third encounter with the Kpanlogo. “The Kpanlogo drum is similar to a lot of other Ghanaian drums such as the Sogo, in that a wooden shell covered by an animal skin is held taut with wooden pegs, driven into the shell. The Kpanlogo shape is similar to the Conga, and is typically played with a much lighter attack than the Djembe”.
Dancing, drumming and singing is combined in live performances that are called cultural nights. Every Friday, the performance of a (mostly local) musician group can be attended, while Reggae – night takes place every Saturday. During my first cultural night, I attended the performance of Issah’s drumming group. The rhythmic drumming was accompanied partly by energetic dancers. The dancing teacher and instructor who give lessons at Presbytarian Mission School are also part of that group. I extremely enjoyed the performance of a percussion group recently which was accompanied by a cheerful dancing performance and kept me thrilled throughout.
Food in Every Country Forum, http://www.foodbycountry.com/Germany-to-Japan/Ghana.html, last accessed: 01.01.2018
Our Africa, Food and daily life: http://www.our-africa.org/ghana/food-daily-life, last accessed: 01.01.2018
Salomey Appiah, Modern Ghana, Burkina: Latest millet smoothie in town, https://www.modernghana.com/news/472131/1/burkina-latest-millet-smoothie-in-town.html; 29th June 2013.
The Spruce: Koose Spicy Bean Cakes from Ghana, attainable at: https://www.thespruce.com/koose-spicy-bean-cakes-recipe-ghana-39443.
Roving sounds, The Kpanlogo – A Dance, Rhythm and Drum, attainable at: http://www.rovingsounds.org/blog/the-kpanlogo-a-dance-rhythm-and-drum/; last accessed: 11th Jan, 2018.