29 Popular Tribes in Ghana You May Not Know
Ghana like other African countries is inhabited by several ethnic and tribes. Some of these tribes and ethnic groups are mentioned in our daily lives but there are some which are quite popular but you might not have heard about them. In this article, we take you through some of the most popular tribes in Ghana and ethnic groups you did not know.
1. Bono/ Brong /Abron
The Bono is an Akan tribe from West Africa that is also known as the Brong and the Abron. To maintain their Bono Ancestral worship and spirituality, they migrated from the old Ghana empire and fled to the tropical forest of central Ghana and the southern Black Volta River. They are a matrilineal people and one of the biggest Akan ethnic groups. They converse in the Bono Twi of Akan, a dialect of the Bono King Nana Twi.
They are bordered to the north by the Afadjato region, to the south by the Adaklu District, to the west by the South Dayi District, to the east by Ho Municipal, and to the south by the Republic of Togo. Bono/Bron/Abrong is one of the most popular tribes or ethnic groups in Ghana.
The Agave (also Crophy) are a Ghanaian tribal subset of the Ewe people. They reside in the southern portion of Ghana’s Volta area, have fifteen tribes, and are customarily ruled by a paramount chief. They excel in riverine and wetland activities and share a civilization with the Togo and Dahomey Ewes. They are renowned for their courage and have a shrine where warriors such as Gati from the Tsiela clan once lived. This ethnic group is one of the most popular tribes or ethnic groups in Ghana.
In Ghana’s Eastern Region, OKYEMAN is a native community. Due to its wealth in natural resources, it is also known as Kwaebibirim or the “Birim Forest.” The well-known river Birim is where Ghana’s diamonds come from.
Akyems give thanks to the god for blessing their country with such a beautiful waterway during the Ohum Festival. The Akyem states, also referred to as the “AKYEM MANSA,” are made up of three major independent states that share a similar language, culture, way of life, and historical background.
4. Anlo Ewe
One of the most popular tribes or ethnic groups in Ghana is the Anlo ewe.
After making a daring escape from Notsie, the Anlo-Ewe people moved to their current location in the latter half of the 15th century (1474). A yearly festival called Hogbetsotso Za honors the departure and later resettlement.
Anlo-Ewes are patrilineal in nature and that each member is part of a tribe that they think came from a male ancestor.
The construction of canoes for fishers and hunters was among the first small-scale maritime commercial operations to emerge for subsistence. To grow harvests, farmers traveled by canoe between the islets and the fertile interior.
An essential component of this community’s existence is dance-drumming, which is also necessary for achieving the community’s ideals. The absence of involvement entails serious repercussions and is equivalent to personal ex-communication from society.
The Asante, often referred to as the Ashanti, are an ethnic group belonging to the Akan and are originally from the Ashanti Region of present-day Ghana. Almost nine million Asante people speak them as a first or second language, and the Asante Kingdom’s historic capital, Kumasi metropolis, is currently the capital of Asante (Kingdom of Asante). Asantehene Osei Kofi Tutu I established the Asante kingdom in the 1670s and consolidated the local Akan groups’ centralization.
Asante interactions with European powers go back a long way, and the British cataloged their religious, family, and judicial institutions in works like Rattray’s Asante Constitution and Law.
In 1901, the British established the Ashanti Empire as a protectorate, and in 1926. Check out the beautiful cultural dance by Ashati’s.
The Asante were given self-rule dominion as the Kingdom of Asante by the British in 1935.
Asante culture is a matrilineal civilization in which the line of ancestry is tracked via the female and celebrates the Adae, Adae Kese, Akwasidae, Awukudae, and Asante Yam festivals. Ashanti is one of the most popular ethnic groups in Ghana.
The Assin are an ethnic group of the Akan people that reside in Ghana and are also referred to as Asin and Asen. Ghana’s Central Region is home to the majority of the Assin population and is one of the most popular ethnic groups in Ghana. Assin Foso serves as the district’s administrative center.
The Assin people may be broken down into two groups. The Apimenem, also known as the Assin Apemanim, are people who live east of the Cape Coast-Kumasi Highway, with Manso functioning as their capital. The Assin Attendansu (or Atandanso), who call Nyankumasi their capital city, reside to the west of the Highway.
One of Ghana’s smallest ethnic groupings, the Bimoba Tribe makes up approximately 0.6% of the country’s population. With the fall of the Kingdom of Fada-Gurma in 1420, they moved south from present-day Burkina Faso.
The patriarchal Bimoba culture is organized on clan and family leaders, with powerful clan-based kings or chiefs holding the numerous clans together.
The clans include the Labsiak, Kunduek, Buok, Baakpang, Turinwe, and Kanyakib as well as Luok, Gnadaung, Dikperu, Puri, Tanmung, and Gbong.
To avoid competing with the existing kingdoms, they chose to settle in the least inhabited and rural areas of East Ghana and West Togo.
8. Bissa (Busanga)
One of the first ethnic groups in the former Ghana Empire is the Bissa (Busanga). The Bissa was referred to in the past as the “Sonike ethnic group.” I am told they like groundnut a lot. Anyway, I will ask to know the reason they are addicted to the nuts and even why they use it as symbols.
They have a popular festival (Bissa Oh Bissa) that happens every year and it has helped them in creating Bissa Development Fund in support of their ideas. It is worth emulating by others.
With the fall of the Ghana kingdom, the Busanga tribe of Ghana relocated to Senegal, where they were categorized as the Bambara, Mandinke, Marka, Wangara, Samo, the Dogon, etc. A portion of the Mandinka ethnic group left Senegal and relocated to Mande, which is now Mali, to establish the Mali empire.
The Bissas tribe moved about for a long time in search of rich land to cultivate, eventually settling in cities and villages in the country’s southern region and Upper East Region. The term “Busanga” is a corrupted form of the Lebbri or leri Bissa dialect expression “Bissa gwaa” (meaning Bissa man). This is one of the most popular tribes or ethnic groups in Ghana.
The Chumburu are a subgroup of the Guan ethnic group in Ghana, and they live in the Northern, Volta, and Brong-Ahafo regions. They are locals of Ghana’s three following regions:
They are found in Northern Ghana’s Kpandai District. They are most common in Oti’s Krachi East, West, and Krachi-Chumburung Districts. They also dominate the Yeji, Pru, and Atebobu Districts in Brong-Ahafo.
Chumburung is the language spoken by Chumburu.
The Dagaaba people, also known as the Dagarti or Dagara, or just Dagao, are a friendly, diligent, and highly educated ethnic group in Ghana’s Northern Region.
They are renowned for playing the gyil, a traditional musical instrument, and for being the last individuals in the modern era to trade and do trade with priceless cowries.
They use the Dagaare language, which is a member of the Oti-Volta branch of the Gur language family of the Niger-Congo.
In Ghana’s Upper West Region, some Dagaaba communities are Lawra, Nadowli, Jirapa, Nandom, Lambussie, Kaleo, Bole, Birifu, Tugu, Daffiama, Wechiau, and Hamile. Large populations can also be found in Wa, Bogda, Babile, Tuna, Han, and Nyoli. This ethnic group is among one of Ghana’s most popular tribes or ethnic groups.
In Ghana, the Dagomba is a significant ethnic group. They are mostly farmers, but they are also expert fishers and breeders. They have a sophisticated system of oral traditions and speak the Dagbani language, which is a subgroup of the Gur language.
Over 50% of people identify as Muslim. Marriage, death, puberty, and other traditional ceremonies are still performed, and the Bugun festival is a wonderful occasion to remember the ancestors.
The “talking drums” are used by the Dagomba ethnic group’s storytellers to preserve both the interpersonal ties and the history of the entire society.
The Ya Naa, also known as the King of Absolute Power, is the title of the Dagbon people’s traditional king. His cow-skin throne is on show at Ya Naa’s court, also called Yendi. Dagomba people celebrate a festival called Bugun, which signifies “fire” or “hell,” in remembrance. This is one of the most popular tribes or ethnic groups in Ghana.
The Efutu are an Akanized people that settled along Ghana’s coast about 1390 C.E. They are patrilineal, descended from one of the first paternal lineages. They have sixteen rural settlements, and the inhabitants of Winneba in Ghana’s Central Region celebrate the Aboakyer festival. Effutu Municipal has a total land area of 95 square kilometers and is bounded on the west, north, and east by Gomoa East District Assembly. Crop production is a significant economic activity in the Municipality, particularly in the minor towns.
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Maize, cassava, pepper, okra, tomatoes, and groundnuts are among the major food and cash crops cultivated. For both internal and international markets, exotic vegetables such ravaya, sweet pepper, onions, carrot tinda, and cabbage are also cultivated.
The Ewe is a Gbe-speaking ethnic group from West Africa. They may be found in southwest Benin, southern Togo, and the Volta Region in southeast Ghana.
They are related to other Gbe language speakers including the Fon, Gen, Phla Phera, Gun, Maxi, and Aja because they speak the Ewe language, a member of the Gbe family of languages.
Christianity was introduced to the Ewe people by colonial traders and missionaries, and the majority of the community has now converted to Christianity. They are notable for their staunch independence and have advocated for power decentralization within a hamlet or across a massive state.
The chiefs and people of ewe in the Volta region celebrate the Hogbetsotso festival.
Anloga (capital), Keta, Kedzi, Vodza, Whuti, Srogboe, Tegbi, Dzita, Abor, Afiadenyigba, Anyako, Konu, Alakple, Atsito, Atiavi, Deegodo, Atorkor, Tsiame, and many smaller villages are among the prominent Anlo cities.
The festival is celebrated every year on the first Saturday of November in Anloga, the Anlo state’s traditional and ritual capital. The event’s name is taken from the Ewe language and translates as “festival of emigration.”
The Fante are an Akan people that live in Ghana’s central and western coastal areas and they are one of the most popular tribes or ethnic groups in Ghana.
Their ancestors lived in the ancient Desert of the Old Ghana Empire and moved south to modern-day Ghana.
The Fante Confederacy and the British forged a bond in 1844, allowing the Gold Coast to obtain absolute independence without conflict one hundred years later. The Ashanti-Fante Wars ensued, with the British siding with the Fante and the Dutch republic siding with the Ashanti.
The Fante is one of the major Akan groups, and they come together for mutual defense during times of conflict.
They have produced many notable and prominent persons, including Kofi Annan, former President John Atta Mills, former Vice Presidents Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, and Peter Turkson.
The Frafra are a subgroup of Gurunsi peoples that live in Northern Ghana. Fare-Fare is the preferred name, a corruption of the colonial greeting “Ya fara-fara?” which means “How is your suffering [work]?”
Bolgatanga is the Frafra region’s commercial center. Bongo, Zuarungu, Zoko, and Pwalugu are also prominent villages and towns. Tongo is the main town of the Talensi people, who are ethnically diverse from the Frafra yet are mostly multilingual in Frafra.
They predominantly farm millet, sorghum, and yams, as well as maize, rice, peanuts, and beans. During the lengthy dry season, men go hunting, and fishing is done in nearby wetlands.
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Ga-Adangbe people account for around 2 million people, or 8% of Ghana’s population and they are one of the most popular tribes or ethnic groups in Ghana.
They primarily reside on the southeast coast of the Greater Accra area in Accra, Tema, La, Ningo, Kpone, Prampram, and Ada. Traditionalists, Christians, and Muslims make up the majority of the Ga people.
The Ga-Adangbe people celebrate the huge Homowo celebration, which loosely translates as “mocking hunger.” This occasion marks the end of a devastating famine that occurred hundreds of years ago. Asafotu, an annual celebration commemorating soldiers held by the Ada people, is another well-known Ga event.
The Ga-Adangbe people are noted for their elaborate burial rites, which involve the creation of unique coffins that represent a person’s vocation or social position.
With the fall of the Songhai Empire, the Mande Ngbanya clan migrated south and established the city of Yagbum. The Ngbanya dynasty of Gonja was created, and a supreme chief known as the Yagbongwura was appointed to rule the country.
There was a governing class, a Muslim trading class, an animist commoner class, and a slave class in precolonial Gonja society. The economy was heavily reliant on commerce in Central African slaves and kola nuts.
The Gonja language, also known as Ngbanya or Ngbanyito, which belongs to the Kwa language family.
The Guan tribe’s people are said to have spread over Ghana over a thousand years ago. Many Guan subtribes are known to be descended from them, most notably the Gonja, who are largely situated in northern Ghana and account for almost a quarter of the total Guan population.
The Guang tribe, which currently includes roughly 26 ethnic groups, is thought to be Ghana’s initial inhabitants. Several indigenous communities converse in Fante and Guan languages. The Anum tribe is well-known for its craftsmen.
The Gurunsi, also known as the Grusi, are a tribe of Gur-speaking people from Northern Ghana. They are members of the Niger-Congo language family and are well-known for their mural paintings, dwellings, and architectural styles. The word Gurunsi originated from the Niger Djerma language and is used by the Kasena, Nuna, and Sisala to commemorate their shared cultural and linguistic heritage.
The Kassena and neighboring Frafra tribes live in Ghana’s upper northern regions. The Kasena, Nuna, and Sisala all identify themselves as Gurunsi, however, the Nuna believe they are the foremost custodians of Gurunsi traditions, where traditional rituals and practices still exist.
The Grusi and Gurunsi languages are spoken in northern Ghana, as well as neighboring Burkina Faso and Togo.
The Hausa are the most populous ethnic group in Sub-Saharan Africa, living mostly in Northern Nigeria and the surrounding south-eastern regions of Niger.
The Hausa language is written in Arabic letters, making it simple for them to speak in Arabic. They are long-distance traders and vendors, miners, entrepreneurs, and blacksmiths, and their gorgeous architecture is well-known.
Originally, children participated in songs and dances at a young age, while seniors served as storytellers.
Islam has played an important part in the community’s stringent clothing code, with women wearing a large gown and hat and males wearing caps or fula.
The Kassena are an ethnic group in northern Ghana, near the border with Burkina Faso and they are one of the most popular tribes or ethnic groups in Ghana.
They speak Kasem and are related to the Nankanni people, and they together formed the Kassena-Nankana administrative area in 1936.
The Gurunsi are not interrelated, and their designation as Gurunsi stems from a word used by a Djerma jihadist commander named Baba Ato Zato to define a group of soldiers recruited from numerous ethnic groups within the same territory. Since then, the name has been used to refer to these people, yet they are culturally and linguistically distinct ethnic groupings.
In Ghana’s Northern Region, the Konkomba are an acephalous community. They identify as indigenous to north-east Ghana and north-west Togo and can trace their ancestors back to a hole in the earth.
They are historically seasonal farmers who structured their social roles around lineages and owned territory that contained cultivable land, hunting areas, and water sources.
They followed their own indigenous religion, which was based on their belief in divination, major ceremonies, and various forms of sorcery.
The Konkomba’s are a Northern Ghanaian minority tribe with minimal political influence and land rights. They have a long history of conflict with other northern chieftaincy tribes, particularly the Dagomba.
The Krobos are a small group of people from Ghana’s Eastern Region, separated between the Manya and Yilo traditional territories.
They came to Ghana in the early 17th century and are the most populous of the Ga-Adangme-speaking peoples, living in the mountains immediately inland from the coast. Because of their leading position in the commercial production of export crops and beads, they were one of the most influential groups in the nineteenth century.
The name “Krobo” derives from the Akan phrase “Kro-obo-so-Fo,” which means “Town of rock/mountain residents.” They acquired large quantities of land in the surrounding areas of what Field described as the Krobo Mountain through the Krobo Huza land acquisition system.
Northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso are home to the Kusasi, Kusaasi, or Kusaal ethnic groups. Farmers speak Kusaal, a dialect of the Gur language, and this ethnic group is among the most popular tribes or ethnic groups in Ghana.
To give thanks to God for a bountiful harvest throughout the farming season, they commemorate the Samanpiid Festival. The majority of the population in the area are Christians.
The Kusasi moved to the area where they now live in quest of more productive farmland, and the Paramount Chief of Mamprugu established new trade routes between the Nalerigu and Tenkudougu as well as acting as an escort for northern traders.
Most of them made their homes in Baku’s outskirts, where they engaged in agricultural cultivation and livestock raising.
The Mamprusis are people that live in northern Ghana and Togo. They mostly inhabit Nalerigu, Gambaga, Walewale, and their adjacent towns and villages in the North East Region, where they speak Mampruli, one of the Gur dialects.
The Great Naa Gbanwah/Gbewah founded the Mamprugu Kingdom, which is the oldest in Ghana, in Pusiga, a town 14 kilometers from Bawku, around the end of the 13th century. The Kingdom encompasses the majority of Ghana’s North East, Northern, Upper East, and Upper West Regions, as well as parts of Northern Togo and Burkina Faso.
The Mamprusi kingdom may be traced back to a legendary warrior named Tohazie, who was known as the Red Hunter by his people due to his light skin.
Only male direct descendants of the king are eligible for succession to a skin.
The Nafana are a Senufo people that populate central Ghana’s northwestern region and the north-eastern region of Côte d’Ivoire.
Sampa, Kokoa, Duadaso No. 1, Duadaso No. 2, Jamera, and Kabile, all of which are located in the Jaman North District, are some of the major towns inhabited by the Nafana people. The Tain District is where Brodi and Debibi are located. in the Banda District, Banda Ahenkro.
The Songhei Festival, which is their main holiday, is observed every year in Jamala or Jamera. The Nafana people are the true descendants of the Songhai kingdom, and Jamera is the place where their history and customs are founded.
The Nanumba are a culturally and linguistically homogeneous community that shares a border with the Dagomba to the north and east and the Mamprusi to the north.
The capital of the Nanumba is Bimbilla, a small town in north Ghana’s Northern Region that also acts as the office for the Nanumba North region.
The last court of appeal for all conflicts at lower levels is the “Paramount Chief,” who represents the highest level in the conventional hierarchy. Islam is the most prevalent and distinctive religion. Gmantambo Palace is the name of the Bimbilla Naa’s seat. The nation-state level in Ghana now provides a forum for traditional concerns.
In addition to the two Islamic holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the Nanumba people also celebrate the festivals of Bugum Chugu, Damba, and Naa Jigli.
A member of the Gur branch language family, the Tallensi are a people of northern Ghana.
In addition to small-scale farming of cattle, sheep, and goats, they also produce sorghum and millet as main crops. Their patrilineal system of descent and kinship places a strong focus on inheritance and the conflicts that arise between parents and their offspring.
Killing a sacred crocodile is equivalent to killing a human since it is said to be an important clan ancestor that comes to life. These taboos and rituals aim to transform intergenerational ambivalence and anger into culturally defined and socially acceptable forms of expression.
The Upper West Region of Ghana is home to the Wala or Waala, a mostly Muslim group that established the kingdom of Wala and the city of Wa.
Their beautiful mosques and palaces are built in Sudano-Sahelian architecture, and they are noted for speaking the Wali language.
They are governed by the Wa-Na, whose traditional dwelling is a palace made of mud bricks in Wa. With those who supported Wa-Na becoming the Wala and those who revolted being regarded as Dagarti, the distinction between Dagarti and Wa is which side of the 1894 rebellion they supported.
They are a group of great people from the Upper West Region of Ghana. Most of them are dominating Tumu and its environs. They are great warriors and farm to help develop the Republic of Ghana.