Ethnic groups in Ghana: Dagomba and Konkomba people. The village of the witches.
5th December 2017
The dry savannah in northern Ghana is home to the Dagomba and Konkomba people, ethnic groups known for their interesting traditions and for the architecture of their round-shaped houses. We visit a Konkomba village known to be the safe home of the witches in exile, because here no one can kill them.
A trip to Ghana gives the opportunity to get in touch with many local ethnic minorities
, to discover their traditions and their way of life. The Dagomba ethnic group is mainly found in the savannah in northern Ghana and has just under one million people living in small villages with houses featuring a particular architecture.
ethnic group speak an its own language, the Gagbani, which is a dialect coming from language family known as Niger-Kordofaniana. The villages live mainly on agriculture, although the conditions of prolonged aridity in the savannah are not always the best conditions for the cultivation of cereals and vegetables.
The houses of the Dagomba people
consist of huts of raw clay, with thatched roof supported by a central wooden pillar. Recently they tend to use also some concrete, especially for the floor, to improve the comfort of the structure and to reduce the maintenance. The "refrigerator" of the house consists of a clay jar normally placed near the window, without any "active" system that produces cold.
A Dagomba house
used as a bathroom. There are several of them throughout the village.
Scenes of daily life in a Dagomba village
. According to the tradition of Dagomba ethnic group
, women live in houses with round-shaped houses, while men live in rectangular houses.
The interior of a mosque
in the Dagomba village.
The main village granary
, full of corn seeds. In case of rain, however extremely rare during the dry season, it is immediately covered with waterproof straw mats.
The traditional roof of a roundly-shaped house
seen from below. Due to the lack of perfect rain insulation and maintenance required by the straw, there is a growing tendency to build roofs using corrugated metal sheets.
Farm animals graze free in the village
The trip in Ghana continues towards a village that houses people of the Konkomba ethnic group
and, first of all, we ask the permission to the mayor to access the community. The village chief has various functions, he is also an healer through traditional medicine.
This Konkomba village is a safe home for women accused of being witches
. When crops go badly, if a natural disaster hits or if a misfortune occurs without plausible explanations, it can happen that a woman is held responsible for the event, becoming therefore a witch
. At this point, the only possibility for this woman to survive and to avoid be killed, is to emigrate for lifetime in this village, where no one can harm her and where the village healer will take care of her, through magical rituals to send away the evil.
is an ethnic group that reside mainly in Ghana and, with about one million of representatives, is the eighth ethnic group by population in the country. The Konkomba of northern Ghana live in small villages scattered across the savannah, with houses of traditional architecture, like this where witches are exiled.
Tourists are always surrounded by a cloud of people, especially children, as a visit from foreigners is a quite rare and special event.