There are artifacts, souvenirs, and other stuffs you need to buy when you visit any country. If you come to Ghana, there are certain things to buy to show people back that you really visited Ghana. In this article, we bring to tourists, travelers and also our tenants of Green Views five things they can buy as gifts from Ghana.
The colourful kente cloth, Ghana’s identity
In every country, there is a traditional dress that is worn on special occasions. Some of them are peculiar to certain tribes or group of people alone. The Kente cloth is one of such.
It originates with the Akan tribe of Ghana. Legend has it that the weaving of the Kente cloth was learned from how a spider weaves its web. It is told that two friends observed a spider intently and grasped the skill with which it weaved its web and applied it to raffia fibres to create a strip of fabric.
The chief of the village was very much impressed that it became a royal cloth, worn on only special occasions, and has since remained as such.
To this day, the Kente cloth has become a traditional cloth for most Ghanaians, donned on only special occasions like weddings, festivals, and other major events.
Chiefs wear it during their investiture; presidents wear it during their swearing in ceremonies; parents put them on during marriage ceremonies of their children, and many more occasions.
In fact, to come to Ghana, either for a short or long stay, and not buy a piece of Kente cloth back home is the same as not visiting Ghana at all.
The loveable Smock
Another traditional outfit that comes after the Kente is Smock. It originates from the northern part of Ghana. It is handmade like the Kente, only the Kente is more colourful and the Smock is heavier.
There are various types of traditional smocks peculiar to various areas of Northern Ghana which produces the bulk of the nation’s traditional smocks. There are generally three traditional smock designs identified with the country’s Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
The Upper West Region is known for producing the best ‘cool colour’ smocks. These generally combine different shades of blue and green or both colours with other “quiet colours” such as yellow, white, blue and green. The Upper East Region is noted for ‘warm colour’ smocks in which various shades of red or orange dominate other colours of the fabric; and the Northern Region is noted for its ‘heavy duty’ smocks because of their generally large size and heavy fabric.
Smocks are usually worn on special occasion. No chief is enskinned or enstooled in any of the three regions of the north without wearing a smock. That will be a lost of identity, something that will be vehemently opposed by the subjects.
You don’t travel to the north without buying a smock, as you are assured of its quality and authenticity.
The beautiful African wear
In Ghana, African wear is a dress made from African prints. It has become known as Friday wear in Ghana, an initiative by former President John Kufour to promote the local textile industry. Because of that, if you go to many offices on Fridays, you would see workers in their African prints, most of which are branded with the institution’s identity.
However, quite recently, it has moved from becoming just Friday wear to everyday wear, except for companies that have strict dress codes.
Its origin cannot be traced to a particular tribe in Ghana as people from all parts of the country wear dresses made from African prints. On weekends especially, almost every woman or man going for a religious service, wedding, naming ceremony puts on an African print.
It has become an alternative for Kente and Smock. There are various colours and varieties of the African prints. Don’t visit Ghana without getting a piece of African prints or a dress made from it.
Another important treasure to own from Ghana is an African bead. These are made from a diverse array of materials. Some of the oldest beads were made from natural materials such as stones, clay, plant materials such as doum palm nuts and bamboo stems, animal materials such as ostrich eggshells, bones, among others.
Due to its long history, beads continue to play a role in many traditional rites and ceremonies such as marriage, burial, and local festivals.
It is so treasured that, in some communities, the best beads are specially made for kings, queens, elders and other important personalities.
In some communities also, it is only people from the royal families that are seen wearing a particular type of bead. In other communities too, voodoo priests wear beads as bracelets and anklets and they are readily identified by community members and given special respect in the society.
Quite recently though, beads have become a fashion for all. Any lover of bead can put it on regardless of their status in society. It is a highly appreciated gift that shows how much the giver loves you.
For Green Views tenants who come from outside Ghana, the beads offer you a nice opportunity to take to your families outside, greetings from Ghana and Africa.
Yes, crafts have long been an identity of Africans and Ghana is no exception. How many of us don’t love it when a piece of wooden craft is used as decoration in our offices or homes? In Ghana, crafts are not just for beautification alone, they send message.
Some tell the story of a caring mother; others bravery; and others humility. For example, an artifact that shows a mother carrying her baby at the back sends a message of how caring mothers are. Many adults buy this to remind them of the struggles their mothers went through to bring them up in life.
An artifact of a hen and its chicks also carries a message of the care and protection a mother gives her children till they grow up.
An artifact of a lion may also be a message of bravery or power. So African crafts have more to tell than the purpose of decoration. That is why it makes it a beautiful gift to buy for a dear one.
The next time you go to town, look for any of these gifts mentioned in this article and get them to show family and friends back home that you went to Ghana, the land of rich culture!