Life in West Africa

Topics: History of Ghana, Ghana, Ashanti Pages: 4 (1102 words) Published: December 16, 2012

* Early Akan economics revolved primarily around the trade of gold and enslaved peoples to Mande and Hausa traders within Africa and later to Europeans along the coast. * This trade was dominated by the Ashanti who received firearms in return for their role as middlemen in the slave trade. * Local agriculture includes cocoa cultivation for export, while yams and taro serve as the main staples. * Ashanti, who live along the coast, rely heavily on fishing, both for local consumption and for trade with inland peoples. * The depleted forests provide little opportunity for hunting. * Extensive markets are run primarily by women who maintain considerable economic power, while men engage in fishing, hunting and clearing land. Both sexes participate in agricultural endeavors. * These include weaving, wood carving, ceramics, and metallurgy. * Of these crafts, only pottery-making is primarily a female activity; * The others are restricted to male specialists.

* Even in the case of pottery-making, only men are allowed to fashion pots or pipes * The village is a social as well as an economic unit. Everyone participates in the major ceremonies, the most frequent of which are funeral celebrations which typically last several days * People used coco beans as currency

* Plants cultivated include plantains, yams, manioc, corn, sweet potatoes, millet, beans, onions, peanuts, tomatoes, and many fruits. * The Ashanti transformed palm wine, maize and millet into beer, a favorite drink; and made use of the oil from palm for many culinary and domestic uses. * The Ashanti held puberty rites only for females. Fathers instruct their sons without public observance. The privacy of boys was respected in the Ashanti kingdom. As menstruation approaches, a girl goes to her mother's house. * The Ashanti viewed them as ritually unclean. They did not cook for men, nor did they eat any food cooked for a man....
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