The architects of fantasy


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Did you know about “Fantasy Coffins”?

The Ga people used to refer to the coffins as abebuu adekai, which roughly translates as “receptacles of proverbs” or “proverbial coffins.” Put simply, coffins that are imbued with some sort of meaning. The practice of making and using figurative coffins arose from changing colonial and postcolonial policies towards the dead in Ghana—they facilitated (and still do) very public statements about familial identity, ancestral power and status in increasingly competitive environments. The cultural significance of their use has been documented in both popular media and scholarship (see Bonetti 2012; Tschumi 2008). So, attaching the qualifier “fantasy” to these coffins and the associated practices lends an overly simplistic and unrealistic sentiment to death and funerals in Ga culture. They are, in fact, highly emotional and complex.

The complete article

Kristin Otto — Africa is a Country

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