Do all Ghanaians have the same Name?

More often, when I meet new friends and I tell them that my Name is Kwadwo, the common reaction will be –“Why do all Ghanaians have the same name? If this is not Kwadwo, then he is Kofi or Kwasi!”. To this end, I always have to explain that these names are typical traditional names of a particular group of people in Ghana (the Akans) although, other groups sometimes use these names as the Akans also use other traditional names of other groups.

But why and how do these 7 names given to several millions of people in the Akan community?

In the traditions of the Akan people in Ghana, everyone is born with a name given to her or him by nature.

It is by this name, which one can be called upon by nature or by the Ancestors for any communication or support. In the Akan tradition, if we do not know this nature’s given name of any of our ancestors, we are unable to communicate with them until we have requested and received this name from our ancestral community.

These names are called “Kra’din” which can be translated to English as “Soul name”.

The following are the Kra’din of which every Akan has according to the day in which he or she is born:

Day:                               Male.                                 Female.

Monday                         Kwadwo                           Adwoa
Tuesday.                        Kwabena                          Abena
Wednesday                   Kwaku                              Akua
Thursday                       Yaw                                   Yaa
Friday                            Kofi                                    Afia
Saturday                       Kwame                              Ama
Sunday                          Kwasi                                 Akosua

If you look carefully into the names, you can identify that there is something significant about the names assigned for Thursday, it is unique, the only day of which the Male name does not start with K and the Female’s doesn’t start with A:

In the Akan traditions, Thursday is the day assigned for all important object in the universe; Asaase Yaa (Mother Earth). The earth is a Female and she is considered by the Akans as the most important queen that needs a special treatment. The Akans, therefore believe that anyone who is born on this day is unique and special both to humanity and to nature.

I hope you have learnt something new today.

The symbol in the photo is called Sankofa (return to your root)

My name is Kwadwo Agyei Yeboah and I love Africa.


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