Chapter

Names, Cloth and Identity: A Case From West Africa

Michelle Gilbert

in Media and Identity in Africa

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780748635221
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653010 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635221.003.0019
Names, Cloth and Identity: A Case From West Africa

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In the Akwapim kingdom of southeastern Ghana, clothing is used as a form of communication to make statements about personhood and status; to conceal or reveal identity; or to express desires and impulses. This chapter first describes the different types of cloth and the various contexts of their use in Akwapim. It then shows how Akwapim people communicate with one another by wearing judiciously chosen wax-print cloth whose named designs are the equivalent of verbal strategies. Finally, the chapter addresses other categories of the Akwapim naming system that are extensions of the individual or corporate personality, and shows how similar proverbs bridge these various genres.

Keywords: Akwapim kingdom; southeastern Ghana; clothing; Akwapim people; communication; naming system; proverbs

Chapter.  8253 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: African Studies

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