Local Culture

The Krobo people commemorate the 1892 evacuation of the Mountain with the celebration of the Klowem Festival in November every year highlights of which include a pilgrimage to the mountain-top as well as the re-inactment of ancestral ceremonies led by the chiefs and spiritual leaders and a mountain-climbing competition among the youth. Festivities are climaxed with a durbar of chiefs and people culminating in merry-making and feasting in Somanya and the other towns.

Despite rapid acculturation and modernisation, the Krobos still hold on to the old ways of their ancestral beliefs and tribal traditions are still respected by the majority. These include the observance of social structures regarding marriages, outdooring of newborns, and the funeral rites for the dead. The local gods and brave ancestors are venerated. Sacred days of the gods are observed and taboos against the killing of baboons and monkeys are respected as a result of which numerous primates are still found on the Krobo Mountain.

One distinguishing aspect of the Krobo culture is the Dipo Puberty Rite Ceremony usually held in March in the towns where tourists have the opportunity to interact with the people and visit homes. The Dipo used to be a training programme for the girls in home management and wifely duties which lasted many months. Today, the training is completed in a week or two and is largely symbolic. During the rites, the girls are adorned with beads and walk along the streets to the Dipo Shrine. According to tradition, girls must go through the rites before they can be eligible for marriage. In the past, girls were banished from the community if they became pregnant without the benefit of Dipo. The only physical marking on the girls bodies is on the hand to indicate that they have been through the rite.

The Krobos have the reputation of being the best farmers in southern Ghana as a result of which their energetic farmers bought extensive lands and founded new settlements such as Asesewa, Nkurakan, Huhunya, Otrokpe and Sekesua for the production of palm-oil, cocoa and food crops. Associated with their farming practices is the “huza” system of farming whereby plots of land are divided among a group of buyers in narrow strips along streams and rivers.

The Krobos are also famous for the manufacture of the intricate and popular glass trade beads worn by both men and women for decoration and for ceremonial occasions of traditional significance. There are several bead factories in the area. Mounds of beads of a wide assortment of colors and designs can be found in the local markets.