Helen Geraghty   03 November 2019

Ghanaian family sitting around a table in the living room

Ghana has a diverse wildlife and stunning, golden beaches - so it’s no wonder that Ghanaians are typically a warm, vibrant and welcoming bunch.

As well as being charming, the people of Ghana are hardworking and skilled craftspeople whose innovative inventions and achievements are recognised worldwide.

From mouth-watering culinary delights to internationally renowned artists, here are our favourite things that Ghana has given the world.

A Ghanaian woman in a kente cloth of stripes looking down

Kente cloth. Credit: 4CamRes MultiMedia [Flickr] - Photo modified

Kente

Ghana’s kente cloth is no ordinary cloth. It features striking, bold patterns in vibrant colours. Each pattern and colour is symbolic, representing cultural, historical and philosophical concepts. It’s hand-woven from cotton and silk using a technique called strip weaving.

First made in Ghana’s Ahanti region, it goes all the way back to the 11th century. Kente fabric first became trendy outside of Ghana in the 80s and 90s and can now be found adorning clothing and home décor worldwide.

Ghanaian jollof rice

Ghanaians can be very passionate about a bowl of jollof! The mouth-watering Ghanaian version of this popular West-African dish has become a firm favourite in Ghana, and indeed around the world.

Ghanaian jollof uses Thai or Jasmine rice, cooked with tomatoes, tomato paste and spices.

Kofi Anan

Ghana’s inspiring diplomat Kofi Anan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for his work campaigning for worldwide peace and human rights during his two terms as UN Secretary-General.

One of our favourite Kofi Anan quotes is:

“We may have different religions, different languages, different coloured skin, but we all belong to one human race. We all share the same basic values. More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together.”

WorldRemit had a chance to speak to Garve Mohammed, who is a fourth-generation bead merchant with a stall at the famous Koforidua beads market.

Beads

Beads are a fundamental part of Ghanaian heritage. Ghana’s skilled craftspeople create a variety of stunning decorative beads using completely unique processes.

Ghana’s most widely recognised beads are Krobo beads, which are made in moulds using powdered glass, often from old recycled glass bottles. Beads from Ghana are used to make jewellery and clothing locally as well as being exported worldwide.

Read our story about Ghanaian bead merchant Garbe Mohammed, who showed us his precious bead collection.

El Anatsui (artist)

Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui creates huge, eye-catching installations from recycled, everyday materials like bottle tops, milk tins and iron nails.

His work is admired and recognised all around the world. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale.

Asanka bowls

The asanka is Ghana’s answer to the mortar and pestle. Made from beautiful natural clay, these wide, ridged bowls have become popular worldwide for grinding spices and crushing natural ingredients for cooking.

a traditional ghanaian bolga basket on a white background

A bolga basket. Credit: Wicker Paradise [Flickr] - Image modified

Bolga baskets

Bolga baskets originate from Bolgatanga in Northern Ghana. It’s a dry area of the country where farming is difficult and basket weaving is supplementing an income. Baskets are hand-woven from tough and durable dried wild grass. Grass may be dyed before weaving and baskets are traditionally finished with a goat’s leather handle.

Stunning bolga baskets are now highly sought-after interior design pieces. You can find these at homes all around the world.

Michael Essian (footballer)

Ghana’s professional football player Michael Essian began his career by playing for Liberty Professionals in Ghana before moving to France to play for Bastia and Lyon.  

In 2005 he was signed by Chelsea football club for £24.4 million! At the time of signing, he was the most valued and expensive African footballer in history.

Praised for his physical strength, good technique and leadership qualities, he’s earned the nickname "The Bison".

Chocolate

When you look at the aisle of chocolate in a supermarket, it’s highly likely that you’ll come across chocolate exported from Ghana. Supplying cocoa beans to brands like Cadburys or Nestle, Ghana is the second largest exporter of beans in the world!

Ghanaian most valuable export revenue, most of its cocoa is grown by small independent farmers.

However, a vast majority of chocolate is processed outside of Africa. The efforts to produce chocolate locally are on the rise as Ghanaians want to make the more out of their valuable natural resource.

a tiger shaped fantasy coffin in Ghana

A fantasy coffin. Credit: David Stanley [Flickr] - Photo modified

Fantasy coffins

Ghana’s elaborate, decorative and decadent fantasy coffins captured the attention of people worldwide.

These truly unique coffins come in all different shapes and sizes, from lions and fish, to chilli peppers and shoes! The design is meant to represent the life of the deceased – for example their profession. So, when they reach the afterlife, they remember where they came from.

Ayi Kwei Armah (author)

Ghanaian novelist and essayist Ayi Kwei Armah gained international critical acclaim for his novels The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (1968) and Two Thousand Seasons (1973).

Vocal against Western legacy in Africa, he’s addressing themes of corruption, materialism and African identity.

“Alone, I am nothing. I have nothing. We have power. But we will never know it, we will never see it work. Unless we come together to make it work.” ― Ayi Kwei Armah, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

Azonto

Both dance and a music genre, azonto became a worldwide craze in 2011. Originally from Ghana, it’s been popularised on social media by Fuse ODG, Sarkodie and others.

With knee swivels and laid-back full-body rocking, the dance is encouraging competitiveness with just the right amount of sassiness. Dance moves involve miming the actions of day-to-day activities like washing, talking on the phone, cooking, ironing and driving.

Ghanaian rapper sarkodie rapping on a black background“A

Sarkodie (rapper)

Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie is most known for tracks like ‘Party (We Do This)’, ‘Adonai’ (feat. Castro) and ‘You Go Kill Me’ (Feat. EL). Active since 2005, he’s believed to be one of the major promoters of the Azonto genre and dance.

Often rapping in his native language Twi, he is also the most decorated musician in Ghana’s history. His music contributions brought him over 81 awards - including the Vodafone Ghana Music Award for Artist of the Decade and, most recently, the Best International Flow award at the 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards.

Azumah Nelson (boxer)

Widely considered to be Africa’s greatest boxer of all time, Azumah Nelson grew up in Accra, Ghana. For many, he’s a national treasure – powerful in the ring and humble outside of it.

During the peak of his boxing career in the 80s and 90s, Azumah, was nicknamed “The Professor” – both for his intelligence and strength.

He won the WBC featherweight title once and the WBC super featherweight title twice, making him a three-time world champion.

Gold

Ghana is Africa’s largest gold producer, producing a whopping 130,000kg of gold in 2018! It has beaten the former number one, South Africa, thanks to friendlier policies, lower-cost mines, and new development projects.

banku dumplings on a blue table with black and white hands reaching to it “A

Banku dumplings

Banku is Ghana’s answer to hearty comfort food. This traditional Ghanaian dumpling is made from fermented corn and cassava dough and served alongside a sauce, soup or stew.

It’s simply delicious!

Peter Mensah

Did you know that Peter Mensah, one of Hollywood’s most successful actors of black descent was born in Chirrah, Ghana?

Mensah’s huge filmography includes blockbusters like 300, Avatar, The Incredible Hulk and numerous popular television shows.

Abedi Pele (footballer)

Former Ghanaian footballer Abedi Pele found success in the European clubs – especially in the French league.

Believed to be one of the greatest Ghanaian footballers of all times, he won numerous awards for his outstanding career in football. Some of them include BBC African Sports Star of the Year in 1992, the Confederation of African football award twice, and the France Football African Player of the Year award three times.

Black soap

Black soap is made throughout West Africa but is particularly popular in Ghana. It is said to detoxify and brighten skin and help to combat both eczema and acne.

Natural ingredients such as plantain leaves, cocoa pods, and palm tree leaves are left out in the sun to dry out and then burnt to make ash. This ash is then mixed with other ingredients to produce black soap, which is used locally and exported around the world.

family of ghanaian diaspora sitting on a coach laughing together “A

Ghanaian diaspora

Today, Ghanaian people are living in diaspora all around the world. Known for their vibrancy, friendliness and hospitality, much of the Ghanaian diaspora go on to contribute great successes to the local communities that they join worldwide.

It is estimated that 3 to 4 million Ghanaians are living abroad, many of whom regularly send money to their families back home.

WorldRemit’s money transfer service makes sending money internationally, either for business or to family back home, simple and affordable for the Ghanaian diaspora.

We also offer a variety of different pay-out options, allowing you to choose the method that is most convenient for the recipient.

Here are some of our services:

Our online money transfer service is fast, cheap, secure and convenient. Transfers can be made using either a smartphone, tablet or computer in just a few simple steps and will arrive with the recipient very quickly, sometimes even instantly.

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