Rough Cuts: Anansi and Ancestral Wisdom

This will be the first installment in a series of very rough audio clips from interviews I’ve done with people here in Ghana. I’ve been privileged to have a number of fascinating conversations with wonderful people here, and I’m working on cleaning them up just a bit to share with you.

Rough Cut Number 1: Anansi and Ancestral Wisdom

Most have you have probably heard of Anansi the Spider, the trickster character in children’s tales.

Anansi actually comes from the Akan people, the name for several related ethnic groups in Ghana, including the Ashantis. He is an important part of the Akan people’s heritage of folktales. These stories were passed on from generation to generation, often dramatized in traditional oral storytelling practices.

Oral storytelling at Auntie Esi's house

In August, one of my professors – Auntie Esi – invited us to her house to see some traditional storytellers interacting with Ghanaian children.

Later, I spoke with one of the girls who attended the event, Richlove, and her father, Clement.

Richlove and Clement

Clement and Richlove were a wonderful pair. He is a pastor in a Pentecostal Church near Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, and had some amazing insights. He told me about the long walk to the fields in his rural village as a child, his grandmother telling stories along the way.

Now his life is more focused on the Bible, prayer and his congregation. But Richlove’s participation in Auntie Esi’s events has made him think deeply about the importance of their ancestral roots, and he’s even begun incorporating traditional stories in his sermons.

The events have also changed Richlove’s sense of life and connectedness with her family. Plus, she says, they’re fun.

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