Image: Young Women in Kente at a Puberty Rites Ceremony, Ghana.
Image: Young Women in Kente at a Puberty Rites Ceremony, Ghana.

The Mis-Educated Than His Ancestors, the METHA, has a very strong affinity for claiming to have done everything cultural, or traditional, all by himself. If not by himself then he knows who did it by name and by calling and he also knows exactly when it was done. Take a traditional dance for instance in Ghana and ask the METHA about it, and he’s sure to pin the dance to one group of people, who invariably are the only ones he’s seen perform the dance.

Which may be understandable. Except that the Metha now writes his opinion in books and he does not present them as opinion. Rather, the Metha presents his sentiments as though they were facts. Most are falsehoods. The Metha book-writer today will claim he’s done research here and there, but his research about cultural norms, history and African tradition, almost always cannot be corroborated by the facts on the ground. Take any book written by a Ghana historian about a village you know very well and the opinion presented in that book cannot germinate into facts in the soils of that very village. Never.

What then does the Metha know? What is he truly an expert in? Let me illustrate the point with a specific example. When you ask the Metha in Ghana what is the dance called Gomé? You will come away with an answer like this: It is the ancestor of another dance called Kpanlongo, and it originated with the Ga people of Ghana.

This kind of answer is both false and dangerous, that is if you know Gomé and Kpanlogo. First, there’s not one form of Kpanlongo – there’s Bukom, there’s Nungua, there’s Tema and so on. All different styles. But this is not even my point.

Second, and this is my point: consider the meaning behind the claim that the Ga of Ghana originated the dance ensemble called Gomé. Problem is that you don’t have to travel more than 200 miles to know that this is false. Gomé is Ga alright. But it is not only Ga, the Yoruba-Ewe too have Goumbé. Same difference. Which makes the attribution to just one group or subgroup disingenuous, or something even worse—dangerous.

Even the language called Ga today is not only spoken by the Ga people in Ghana. There are various groups of people—not Ga—who live not more than 200 miles away from Accra, in another country, who speak fluent Ga. Yet, the Metha mis-understands this rich complexity of Africa culture, history and traditions. He does not make way for a new historical framework to address this particular complexity.

The Metha continues to mis-understand his own history. He proceeds with utmost pomposity to bend, deform and write about African subjects so they fit neatly with the narrative frames of European culture, history and tradition, which he has been spoon-fed in colonial missionary schools.

There are Ghanaian scholars who believe, and who accept as fact, the very notion that Talking Drums are Ghanaian. In fact, some scholars will gawk at the idea that not only Twi-speaking peoples of Ghana use Talking Drums. If you made these sycophants aware of the preponderance of Talking Drums in many varied West African Cultures, just for instance, they will simply insist that others—the other ethnicities they either don’t know or are not fond of—may have appropriated the Talking Drums from only one place in Ghana.

Which brings me to the Kente Cloth about which many Ghanaians are proud. Rightly so. However, Ghanaians act as though this fabric and the techniques for weaving this fabric originated with certain groups in Ghana—particularly the Ewe or the Asante, depending on the taste of politics. Which is also false and dangerous. It simply didn’t. In fact, the various Kente fabrics have been shown to have existed for much longer than the very villages claiming to have originated them.

Worse, some strange Ghanaians have accepted as fact, a certain fable that a man from one village learned how to weave the fabric from a spider weaving a web in a certain forest, without understanding that the entire point of fables is to teach children—not grown-ups, but children—certain valuable moral lessons like simply paying attention.

Which is what the Metha lacks—simply paying attention! Nonetheless, the Metha proceeds with his attention deficit, no matter, to make cardinal mistakes, often cutting and drying up his own history, culture and traditions in a manner that only serves to appease his need for a recognizable isolated exceptionalism with his European missionaries. Why?

(Image: Young Women in Kente at a Puberty Rites Ceremony, Ghana.)

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~ Success is a horrible teacher. It seduces the ignorant into thinking that he can’t lose. It seduces the intellectual into thinking that he must win. Success corrupts; Only usefulness exalts. ~ WP. Narmer Amenuti (which names translate: Dances With Lions), was born by The River, deep within the heartlands of Ghana, in Ntoaboma. He is a public intellectual from the Sankoré School of Critical Theory, where he trained and was awarded the highest degree of Warrior Philosopher at the Temple of Narmer. As a Culture Critic and a Guan Rhythmmaker, he is a dilettante, a dissident and a gadfly, and he eschews promotional intellectualism. He maintains strict anonymity and invites intellectuals and lay people alike to honest debate. He reads every comment. If you enjoyed this essay and would like to support more content like this one, please pour the Ancestors some Libation in support of my next essay, or you can go bold, very bold and invoke them. Here's my CashApp: $TheRealNarmer


  1. How with Kente we can just have the sincerity to just say it has been a West African fabric for longest, beats me. The investment is the narrative of watching a spider, even by highly educated people, is mind-bending. The thinking and the investment in this kind of thinking breeds wicked ideas of expcetionalism.

  2. So Kente is a west African thing and not an exclusive Ghanaian. But it must have been originated in a particular place in WA. Are you able to help us where it begun?

    • Kilehilevonli Koame Armachie … it doesn’t really have to originate from one place. Cultures and traditions can evolve independently and yet have similarities. In the book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”, Yuval argues that despite having no direct contact, different cultures and traditions can develop similar practices or beliefs due to shared human experiences, cognitive capacities, and environmental factors. This phenomenon underscores the universality of certain human behaviours and cultural patterns across diverse societies throughout history.

    • It is exceedingly weird to not be careful when one comes up with the faint idea that some culture, tradition, ritual originated from Ghana – a country that has been around for fewer than one century. How the scholar does not stop himself from such nonsense beats me.

  3. Is it poor research or deliberate intellectual dishonesty which leads the Metha to grow in false attribution?

  4. All Africans has a particular methods of woven….The bright colourful style of this fabric stands out…is best we educate ourselves and not turn this into this tribes and the tribes

    • Kwaku Bio You call recording brutal lies and outright misinformation doing something? I beg your pardon! Perhaps you’ve also heard: “When in doubt, my dear fellow, do nothing!”

    • O. Abada The redolence (learning your new word) of such wrong, yet evocative narratives begs the unforgiving belief of the Metha in his own exceptionalism.

  5. This brings me to the question of the way we build mud huts in Ghana, for example it is the same in Nigeria too. Another conundrum is the Hausa language. It is mainly spoken in the Northern part of Ghana. I was in Cairo when I heard it being spoken by a couple, so thought they were Ghanaians only to be told that they were Nigerians! Yes, errors can be made but we are open to correction as we learn new things every day.

  6. Miseducated than his ancestors ( METHA) ??are you trying to mean that our ancestors were miseducated and we’re more miseducated than them??🤔🤔

  7. Your write-up betrays a subtle message, which once again, is nor surprising. We have kente in La Cote D’Ivoire as well. All your non-Ghanaian references lead in one direction, and to a particular ethnic group. Now, let me ask you this simple question: how do the peoples outside Ghana also account for the origins of the things we seem to have in common with them? But I went too far. How do Ewes account for the origins of Kente?

    • I am not surprised that for all the examples I gave, only the Kente one wets your appetite. How do the Yoruba account for their brand of Gome? I don’t know! This is is what I know: Gome is not an invention of the Ga in Accra! And so it is with Kente. I have yet to read that Kente was invented in Agotime by some Ewes/Dangbes, but such claims have been made about its invention in Bonwire from a spider. Now, that’s ridiculous – isn’t it?

    • Narmer Amenuti Your references all were headed in one direction: some particular Pangroup not being given any credit for what it shares with other peoples. This is why you forgot to mention that Mente is also woven in Ivory Coast. They are not the object of your interest. I am also exercising the right to extend interested in what I am interested. It is preposterous to find it strange that Asantes have their own theory on hie they came by their Kente-weaving skills, especially when you cannot tell whether they got it from the sources as Ewes and others. Haven’t you ever heard of same things being invented at different places around the same time period without any interactions between the peoples concerned? Do you knowas example that archaeologists have found in Russia a symbol quite similar to the SANKƆFA symbol in the Adinkra Cloth? The one in Russia is from the 12th century. And there is no known interaction between Russians and Gyaman people who invented the symbols in the Afinkra Cloth.You people should be doing better

    • I concede that multiple or simultaneous invention/discovery is possible. However, there’s no objective proof for simultaneous inventions except the conjecture. The hypothesis is just as valid as the hypothesis that one may have received if from the other. So that is a mute point. Yet, with Kente, which is of your immense interest, we are not even speaking of simultaneous invention. The Bonwire story simply does not square with the fact that multiple centers of the weaving of Kente, Mente, Kete, etc., wildly predate it and quite incidentally are as close to Bonwire as a couple days of walking. Worse, the fanciful ridiculousness, which it seems you are wont to not let go, of a man watching a spider weave a web continues to interest me. Now, I too, understand the fable. Why not? But fables are not avenues for serious debate. It is not that I don’t respect the fable, it is the weird request for the rest of us to accept it as fact or as even a testable theory. No one has debated whether Human Beings were created out of a Hole in the Ground or from a Cosmic Mound. What I understand is that such things do not fall into the discipline of scientific inquiry. And so are fables, beloved or detested. And so if the Ivorians have it, if the Ghanaians have it, if the Togolese have it, if the Nigerians have it, and if their dates do not seem to square, then they all have it without claiming that only one invented it.

  8. Dealing with the premise and substance of your post, what then in your estimation can any culture lay claim to?
    Nothing I guess. I believe it is quite understandable that humans everywhere attribute food, arts, practices, beliefs and everything else to where they first saw it and up to the point where the knowledge available at any give time leads.
    So really, this particular beration of the METHA leaves me scratching my head because how far can we go? Where did Akple or Fufu originate from? Do we go back ten thousand years or a million years? Whose narration can be counted as fact?
    I am afraid this post is dabbling in waters the author himself may struggle to stay afloat in should another question deeper.

    • Ofori-Agyekum Samuel The Anlo eat akple, but that food is not an invention of these Ewes. And so is Fufu, it is not an invention of the Fufu eating people of Ghana. Plenty Africans eat Akple and Fufu who are not Ewe or Fante. They may not call it as such, but plenty eat those foods today. Hence, I am not asking anyone to go back in time, necessarily, as simple facts as these are easily obtained by asking around.
      You say I engage in a “particular beration of the METHA” and you are correct. The METHA deserves flogging for missing simple things like the above mentioned examples. Worse, the METHA deserves a copious amount of flagellation for making assumptions he has NOT earned the right to make. Why does the METHA make claims to subjects he is not an expert in? You, (I don’t mean you!), have never grown cassava in your life, never uprooted/harvested it, never soaked it, never milled it, never cooked it, never pounded it, never held a pestle, never carried a mortar, yet you are an expert in the origins of akple or fufu? How does the METHA become an expert in African culture and history today? Only by reading books written by European terrorists and their terrorist colonial networks! That is my point.
      Even for the METHA who claims he’s an expert, he obviously, by making these silly mistakes, “mis-understands this rich complexity of Africa culture, history and traditions. He does not make way for a new historical framework to address this particular complexity.”
      By that I mean we do not yet have a framework to study what constitutes African history: “Do we go back ten thousand years or a million years?” (To this I add do we go across 200 miles on just 10 miles?) “Whose narration can be counted as fact?” Which makes the point and the reason there exists a preponderance of nonsensical attributions of culture, history and traditions.

    • Narmer Amenuti and my simple point is that it is the general human situation and not a particular attribute of the METHA. Everywhere humans populate, this is the case.

  9. The oldest known textile in Subsaharan Africa dated to the year 1000 AD and was found at the Kissi archeological site in Upper Volta (Burkina Faso). Interestingly a major migration path of the Eʋe people is right through those areas. The oldest Kente cloth (aka Kete/Eʋeɖo) that is in the hands of the Germans today is an indigo and white tunic. It can be found at Ulm museum in Germany today. The cloth was said to have been “acquired” by Germans from the former Eʋe kingdom of Allada in the 1620’s and belonged to the king of Allada.
    Historical context: Allada was an Eʋe kingdom well known for it’s highly developed textile industry before it was conqured by King Agaja (Agadza) of Dahomey in 1724. The Eʋe weavers of Allada specialized in the cotton cloth called “Kente” (in Eʋe language “Kente” or “Kete” simply means “open and press tightly”. The name Kente informs the weaving technique of the cloth). The cloth was a major export commodity from the Slave Coast to the Gold Coast.
    In his book titled The Slave Coast of West Africa, 1550-1750: The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on an African Society (Oxford Studies in African Affairs), professor Robin Law writes “cotton textiles even became a major export from the Slave Coast, being bought by European traders for re-sale on the Gold Coast to the West. The earliest reference to this export of cloth is in an account of Portuguese trade in Allada in 1620. Two cotton gowns said to have belonged to the king of Allada were included in a collection of curiosities assembled by a merchant of Ulm in Germany in the 1650’s”. (Law 1991, pg 55). Law goes on to suggest that many Allada cloths were from Lukumi, Yoruba. But if that were the case, many of the exported cloths would have been the Yoruba aso-oke and not Kente. Following that logic we should expect to see the Yoruba aso-oke on the Gold Coast, which we don’t. The Gold Coast was and is inundated with the Eʋe cloth (Kente). Moreover the European traders would have cut out the middleman by directly purchasing Yoruba cloth directly from the Yoruba, and not from the Eʋe at Allada. So that suggestion by Law is inaccurate. Dr Kraamer destroys Law’s suggestion in her peer-reviewed article titled “Ghanaian interweaving in the nineteenth century: a new perspective on Ewe and Asante textile history”.
    In my previous post I shared that a Kente cloth dating to colonial times was being sold online for $45,000. In that post I mentioned that the Kente cloth is the signature cloth of the ancient Hebrews. Let’s take a quick look at that claim.
    We know that Allada was an Eʋe kingdom on the former Slave Coast of West Africa. I also shared that Allada was well known for it’s production of fine cotton textiles, notably the Kente cloth. Allada can be traced to a grandson of Judah called “Laada” in modern Hebrew pronunciation. According to Biblical history, Laadah/Allada was the father of the families who made fine cloth.
    1Chronicles 4:21 – The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea,
    In the same family, we see the name Ashbea (Ashigbe). Ashigbe are known to be Kente weaving families from Agbozume and Keta in Eʋe land, and they still weave today.
    In Genesis 36 and 37, we are told that ancestor Yahkobe (Jakob) gave his second to last born, Yahsefu(Joseph) a cloak of many colors, which he had woven for him. We also learn that Yahsefu’s brothers became enraged and conspired to eliminate him. If the cloth that their father had given to Yahsefu had been any other cloth, it would have been a nonissue. But because this Hebrew cloth of many colors was none other than the Kente cloth, aka Kete, aka Eʋeɖo, Yakobe’s kind gesture was a little more than that. You see, the colors in Kente cloth have significance. A blue or blue and white cloth symbolizes purity and holiness. A green cloth symbolizes lush and bountiful agricultural yields, etc. A multicolored cloth embodies all of the attributes of the various colors. This type of cloth was reserved for royalty. Yahkobe by giving the multicolored or royal cloth to Yahsefu, was essentially crowning him leader over his elder brothers. It meant that he was giving him all the rights and privileges of a firstborn son. This is why his elder brothers would have risen up against him and want to kill him. The kente cloth is the Hebrew cloth (Eʋeɖo).
    So we have seen the documented historical evidence that in the 1600’s, the Europeans were buying fine cloth (Kente) from Allada (on the Slave Coast) and trading it on the Gold coast, obviously for gold. They evidently also took much of the Eʋe cloths with them back to Europe, else we wouldn’t be seeing them displayed in their museums. We also saw the Allada/Laadah and Ashbea/Ashigbe were descendants of Judah whose families were known for their fine woven cloth till today. And finally, the overwhelming correlation with the cloak of many colors.
    Faced with this mountain of evidence, we should no longer be deceived by any fables claiming that a spider taught some people how to weave, because spiders don’t weave kente, they weave webs.
    Eʋevi, Mawugã ƒe vi, nya ɖokuiwo. (Hebrew child, child of TMH, know thyself).
    Law, Robin (1991). The Slave Coast of West Africa, 1550-1750: The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on an African Society (Oxford Studies in African Affairs). Oxford University Press
    Kraamer, Malika (2006). Ghanaian interweaving in the nineteenth century: a new perspective on Ewe and Asante textile history.
    Photos: Allada tunic made from Allada cotton cloth. Exhibition: Woven Identities–African Textiles and Photography from the Weickmann and Walther Collections. Ulm Museum, Germany. Retrieved February 2022.
    Efo Robert Smith aka Efo Yawo


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