Facts About Akan People, Language, Religion and Culture


Do you know about the Akan speaking group of West Africa? This is a unique group of people who have dominated the Ivory Coast and the Ghana regions of West Africa. It is the largest and most wide-spread groups both in Ghana and Cote D Voire. It is highly argued and believed that the roots of the community are from the Sahel region and the Savannah.

The Akan community consists of different groups all of which have traced a common origin. The community is believed to be as old as the Congo forest. Some of the prominent personalities who are members of the group include the great Kwame Nkurumah, Kofi Annan, Mario Baloteli, John Atta moils, Idris Elba and Jerome Boateng among many others. If you would like to know a few more things about the Akan people then the following is a brief history about their language, religion and political organization.

The Language of the Akan People

Most Akan people speak the Twi Fante. Others speak The Bia language. The majority of the Twi speaking languages include people from the Akuapem, Asante and the Akyem. The Bia language is spoken by groups that include Agon, Kwahu, Wassa and the Fante. An average Akan person speaks English. The average population of Akan people is estimated to be about 20 million. It is one of the west African tribes or group of people that have maintained their indigenous languages which has not been so much influenced by the West.

Religion and Social Organisation

The Akan’s are very religious people. Most of the contemporary ones are Christians. Even though they are surrounded by other religions like Islam, majority still maintain their Christian faith. Initially, the Akans were organized into a small kingdom called Bonoman. They also engaged in various trading activities like slavery and Gold mining to keep their livelihoods. This brought them a lot of wealth. Most Akans still live in extended system of family.

See Also: Ashanti Tribe, People, Culture and Religion

Political Organization of the Akan People of West Africa.

Politically, the Akans are organised into a group of several extended families headed by council of elders. The council of elders is elected by the members of the extended family. All the property and power is bound within the matrilineal system. This means that all the important decisions are done within the political unit. The land is managed by the lineage and all the land disputes are settled within the matrilineal system. Marriage within the system is forbidden hence the marital restrictions are highly observed and respected.

There are also certain benefits which Akans derive from their respective matrilineal line. For instance, the surname can be inherited depending on the Ntoro. Ntoro is simply what is reserved by the matrilineal line for an Akan. They however, do not totally disregard the patriarchal system. Inheritance rights are basically vested on male, but when there are no more male heirs, it is then extended to the female. They have a centralised political system that is unique even among its neighbouring communities.

 Economic activities of the Akan People.

Initially, the Akan people mostly engaged in slave trade and thus were a major key player in the transatlantic trade which was highly based on slavery. However, they later engaged in Gold mining which became a lucrative business and a major economic activity among them. In present modern time, the Akan people now engage in farming activities for their day-to-day activities. Some have even diverged into the international business world. Others have moved into the urban areas to engage in different activities and work in the industries. Those who remained in the village areas are also engaged in activities like Gold mining and Cocoa farming.

Akan people have a very distinct culture which has remained despite modernization, globalization, and urbanization. Their culture is unique with varied symbols and meanings.