Akan Culture and Protocol


AKAN the pure race, is one of the most ancient cultures in Africa. These African people live predominately in the countries of Ghana and Ivory Coast with many descendants now living in Europe and the USA.

AKAN societies are technically called Clans (Nton). The eight great AKAN families share common customs, traditions, beliefs and ancestors. The Ancestors (Nananom), senior family members that are no longer living, remain active, supporting the well-being of the family by advising, guiding and protecting their spiritual charges, customs and traditions.

The AKAN’s universe is spiritual in which the Supreme Being is the Creator, the source of all life and the Absolute Reality. The AKAN believe that between GOD (Nana Onyame) and humanity are many supernatural powers and beings, masculine and feminine; spirits, angels, magical forces and witches who play significant roles in the thought and actions of the people and account for many strange happenings in the world.

In AKAN society the Ohemaa, mother of the nation is a matriarch and living example of tradition, wisdom and protocol. The Ohene is the representative of the people before the Ancestors and forms the link between the living and the dead.

Central to AKAN life is the AHENFIE, the palace headquarters of the Ohene and Ohemaa and the ABOSOMFIE, divinities house, presided by the OKOMFO, shaman. In both places, the ancient traditions are maintained and LIBATION usually precedes all activities. Libation is the ancient AKAN way of prayer. A petition is made while pouring strong drink to the Great Spirit and Ancestors, for their assistance with our human affairs.

This Abosomfie functions as a spiritual healing center and house of divination. Here we find a number of primary and secondary members who together perform the tasks required of the ABOSOM (divine entities).

Rites and rituals are performed by the OKOMFO who serves as the Shrine's custodian and is liaison between the spirit world, the family and community.

MPANYINFO, elders are guardians of our Ancestor’s wisdom. Reinforcing unity and respect in order that we maintain the continuity of the family.

The OBRAFO must be present to assist the Okomfo in performing the ancient rites and customs and is in charge of the sacrificial offerings and the sacred implements used during the rituals and ceremonies.

AKYEREMAN, drummers play the sacred and historic languages of the Shrines which are required for healing and transformation.

ODINSINNI, herbalists know the herbs used for strength, balance and harmony.

AKYEAME, the linguist who functions as a griot, interpreter and senior administrator of the Ohene.

An Akan Prayer in Twi and English

Odomankoma nsa; Asase Yaa nsa; Nsaman pa nsa, Yeda mo ase. So moma yen nkwa, mma Ahonya, odo ne ahoto monso yen mu daa daa Nanso onipa busuyefo hara a.

Ope se ade bone ba yen so no, Nsoman pa yetwat no gu koran Saa onipa yi adi nkogu koraa!

Almighty Everlasting GOD, we invoke your name, Mother Earth who was created on Thursday, we invoke your name. Our venerable ancestors we are grateful to you for granting us health, children, wealth, love and peace. We pray that you continue to protect us all. But anyone who has evil thoughts against us in this family; the one who wishes that misfortunes happen to us, we pray that the person is completely overpowered!