Ghana Daily life: Ashanti Compound Dwelling

In spite of the quick development of the huge towns, Accra and Kumasi, a greater part of Ghanaians continue to live in hamlets, villages and smaller towns in rural locations where by most livelihoods nevertheless depend effectively upon farming. In these rural communities the traditional form of housing is nonetheless frequent and most family members dwell in a one space in a compound household. Even though the unique mud brick walls and thatched roofs have largely been replaced by concrete blocks and corrugated steel roofing sheets, and the sizing of the compound has been improved, the fundamental format and the way of life it supports have remained basically unchanged. What follows is a description of a usual Ashanti compound dwelling in the tiny gold-mining town of Konongo, fifty kilometres from Kumasi on the road from Accra, as it existed in the previous decade of the twentieth century.

The regular floor system of the compound home is composed of a rectangular courtyard surrounded on all four sides by rows of single rooms, just about every with a door and a window opening onto the interior courtyard. The rows of rooms kind a wall about the courtyard with a solitary opening on one aspect to supply access from outdoors. In former periods the opening may perhaps have been gated, but compound residences manufactured in contemporary occasions, like the just one in Konongo, generally had unobstructed entry. Each and every place belonged to a spouse and children and was handed on from generation to era. Almost everyone in the compound belonged to the exact extended family or clan, but a couple of space homeowners who moved absent or found substitute lodging could have permit their space to a stranger.

The compound house in Konongo, in popular with lots of many others in the town, gave the effect of by no means getting been finished. The huge central courtyard was unpaved apart from for a several compact locations of concrete outside the house some of the rooms. On this tricky trodden and frequently-swept orange-pink bare earth ground children figured out to crawl and toddle although their mothers cooked, attended to domestic chores and conversed with other women of all ages. Frequent sweeping retained the compound cost-free of grass and weeds but the courtyard was huge plenty of to accommodate three shade trees below which the adult males could obtain to smoke their pipes and vent their grievances.

In addition to the trees, the courtyard was littered with creating resources still left around from the first construction and later on extension tasks. These piles of sand and discarded setting up blocks experienced develop into step by step weathered into smooth and common contours that no one assumed of eliminating, either to build a new facility or to improve the visual appearance of the compound. The bordering walls may possibly as soon as have been white but now they had taken on the colour of the soil beneath. The iron roofing sheets have been rusted and patched warped, broken and unpainted picket doors sagged on their hinges, and the louvered home windows had cracked and lacking glasses, some replaced by strips of plywood.

Numerous of the shade trees in Ashanti towns and villages are mangoes. These were being unpopular with the grown ups due to the fact the children designed so much mess in May well every year when the fruit was ripe and ready to take in. The children’s common approach of harvesting was to toss sticks up into the trees which fell back accompanied by the fruit and also by copious portions of foliage. The good news is, the mango fruiting time was shorter, and the smiles on the faces of the kids rapidly reverted from mango orange to everlasting chocolate brown.

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