The history of Kusakokor (Ghana): from Avatime tradition to modern practice in the XXIst century

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Junior Research Fellow Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Junior Research Fellow, International Center of Anthropology, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Junior Research Fellow, Russian State Universit
Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Higher School of Economics
Russian State University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 2

The article is about the history of Avatime people rites of passage, which accompanied girls’ adolescence and symbolized the transition from childhood to adulthood in Avatime culture (Ghana). The full Kusakokor rite cycle (“the given cloth”) is recorded for the first time. Long ago the Avatime were looking for their place to stay through battles before leading a sedentary, peaceful lifestyle. That is why nowadays informants do not exclude the borrowing of the female rite while were living next door to other peoples on their way in the past. Unlike the male rite, Kusakokor is practiced today.

By the way, both the external form and the internal content are different from the oral tradition, which continues to be passed from mouth to mouth of the elders and Queen-Mothers. The paper deals with the changes in the rite and its functions that occur from the arrival of Europeans to this day (late XIX - XXI centuries). Traditionally, the rite Ablebe (“ripe pineapple”) was performed, but after the first Mission station was established in the 1870s a new model of the rite was suggested. Nowadays the number of different layers of clothes became a symbol of high status in society, but first “given cloth” was gifted by a missionary in order not to allow the Avatime girls to perform Ablebe naked, covered only with beads.

The article is based on field materials collected during 8 years of working with respondents from the small people of Avatime and Ghana in general. The first expedition took place in 2011.

KeywordsGhana, rites of passage, history, missionaries, social memory, XXI century
Publication date26.03.2020
Number of characters26419
100 rub.
When subscribing to an article or issue, the user can download PDF, evaluate the publication or contact the author. Need to register.

Number of purchasers: 0, views: 1135

Readers community rating: votes 0

1. Bondarenko D.M., Grinin L.E., Korotayev A.V. 2002. Alternative Pathways of Social Evolution. Social Evolution & History. Vol. 1, № 1, pp. 54-79.

2. Adepoju A. 1995. The Impact of Structural Adjustment on the Population of Africa: The Implications for Education, Health, and Employment. Montreal. 145 p.

3. Online Journal “Ethnologue: Languages of the World”. (accessed 21.07.2019)

4. Chief’s secretary book from XIX century (Unpublished Chief’s Book, is kept in the central village – Vane, Volta region, Ghana. 43 p.)

5. Online Ghana Constitution. (accessed 20.10.2019)

6. Popov V.A. 1990. Ethno-social Akan History in XVI-XIX cc. M. (In Russ.)

7. Van Gennep A. [1909] 2004. The Rites of Passage. London. 214 p.

8. Khokholkova N., Vorotilova Yu. 2019. Kente cloth as an image of afrocentric style. Asia and Africa today. № 3 (In Russ.)

Система Orphus