Akan Spiritual Praxis and the Claims of Cultural Identity
This chapter looks thematically at cultural and diasporic issues in the Akan experience in North America and at the uneven dialogue between diasporic Africans and Akan people from Ghana. The claims to which both diasporic Africans and Akan people make to culture and diaspora constitute the crux of that internal dialogue. Diasporic Africans such as Nana Yao Dinizulu and Nana Kwabena Brown have adopted and preserved elements of Akan spiritual practices since the 1960s, showing the endurance of an Akan spiritual culture and the role to which diasporic Africans may play in its furtherance. They have claimed a culture worth preserving and have rooted their cultural identity and praxis in it. Diasporic Africans have also problematized the “slave castles” of Ghana, whose dungeons have become contested sites at a crossroads in which diasporic Africans are adopting Akan cultural and spiritual practices and seeking an home, while Akan persons in Ghana are increasingly undergoing Christianization and are leaving for North America and parts of Europe. These phenomena associated with the Akan diaspora suggest that the study of a composite African diaspora must be one of ongoing movement in specific and shared dialogue among Africa‐based and African‐descended communities.
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