Where: Ghana, Accra, Ashaiman People: Ga tribe Religion: Catholicism mixed with traditional beliefs and traditions Ritual: Celebration of Life
In Ghana, a funeral is referred to as “A Celebration of Life.” Posters announcing the details of the funeral, including the time and place, are hung throughout the neighbourhood inviting people to attend the ceremonies.
The people of the Ga tribe has a tradition of burying important persons in handmade coffins that reflects the dead person’s profession or passion in life. This tradition probably originated from the figurative palanquins used to carry the kings of the Ga tribe in public and, after death, to the burial grounds.
People from the Ga tribe believe that death is not the end, and that life continues in the next world in the same way it did on earth. Ancestors are also thought to be much more powerful than the living and able to influence their living relatives. This is why families do everything they can to ensure that a dead person is sympathetic towards them as early as possible. The social status of the deceased depends primarily on the importance, success and usage of an exclusive coffin during burial.
The poultry farmer Joseph Huno Nomo (aka Nene Nomo) died at the age of 68. Joseph was very succesful in his work, which enabled him to buy a house for his entire family on the outskirts of Accra. As a tribute to Joseph, his family had a wooden coffin shaped like a chicken made for the funeral.
Thank you to Joseph and his family for letting me document the funeral service of Joseph. And huge thanks to John Owoo and Eric Adjetey Anang for all their help.