Happy Ghanaian Independence Day! On this day 63 years ago, Ghana became the first Sub-Saharan African nation to gain its independence. Such an achievement has resulted in the 6th of March being a special and joyous occasion for all Ghanaians every year.
In celebration of Ghana's 63rd Independence we'll be sharing 15 facts about Ghana.
1. The national flag was designed by a Ghanaian artist called Theodosia Okoh. The red commemorates those who died during the country’s struggle for independence, the gold represents the nations mineral wealth, the green symbolises the nations vegetation and the five pointed black star represents the symbol of African emancipation and unity in the struggle against colonialism.
2. Ghana is home to the largest man-made lake in the world, Lake Volta. Lake Volta is located in the South-Eastern part of Ghana and it is formed by the Akosombo Dam, which provides electricity for most of the country.
3. As of September 2017, there has been a Free Senior High School (Free SHS) policy in pace. This policy was introduced by the current president to ensure that all Ghanaian students have access to senior high school education. This policy exists to ensure that there is a removal of cost barriers to education whilst improving the quality of education.
4. Akan is the second most popular language in Ghana after English and it is spoken by nearly 67.1% of the people in Ghana.
5. There are around 70 traditional festivals celebrated throughout the year to celebrate events such as harvest seasons, stool cleansing and more. Some notable festivals are the Homowo and Akwasidae festivals. Homowo is a harvest festival that takes place each May by the Ga people. On the other hand Akwasidae is a festival celebrated by the Ashanti's every six weeks to honour their ancestors and noble feats, whilst serving as a celebration of the Golden Stool.
6. Overall poverty rates are declining in Ghana in comparison to other Sub-Saharan African nations. As such, the country is considered to be the leading nation in Africa in meeting the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals).
7. One of the best known West-African folktales, Anansi tales, originated from Ghana. Anansi stories were first told by the Ashanti people and was passed down from generation to generation orally. These stories have become well known beyond Ghana.
8. Kejetia market, located in Kumasi (the capital of the Ashanti region) is West Africa’s largest open air market. It serves not only the inhabitants of Ghana, but also traders from Togo and Benin. Recently a redevelopment project took place to modernise the market and accommodate more traders.
9. Ghana is viewed as being the world's fastest growing economy and this growth has been attributed to the discovery of new oil fields. A boost in agriculture has also contributed to this view.
10. Ghana was ranked as one of Africa’s most peaceful countries by the Global Peace Index.
11. Football is considered as the national sport in Ghana as it is one of the most popular sports. The men's national team, The Black Stars, are one of the most highly rated African football teams as they have claimed the African Cup of Nations four times and reached the quarter finals of the 2010 World Cup.
12. Ghana is the second largest producer of gold and cocoa in Africa.
13. In 2017, Ghana successfully launched its first satellite into space. GhanaSat-1 was developed by students at All Nations University in Koforidua.
14. The currency used in Ghana is the cedi and its name comes from the Akan word for cowry shells, which were formerly used as a currency in ancient times.
15. The different colours woven to create the kente cloth all have different meanings. For example, blue is associated with peace, togetherness, love and harmony. Whereas black is associated with mourning, funeral rites and passing rites.
(Sources: The fact file, Culture Trip, BBC news, kentecloth)