Stichting Berekum

Ghana

Ghana's flag tells a story about the country's history. The red stripe stands for the blood the Ghanaians lost when they fought for their freedom. The yellow and green stripes express the country's natural resources: the gold and the hardwood from the tropical forest. The black star symbolises the Ghanaian pride for obtaining independence in 1957, as the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa. The nickname of the Ghanaian football team is 'black stars'.

Ghana is a country in West Africa, located on the Atlantic Coast. It is approximately six times the size of the Netherlands, and has around 22 million inhabitants, of which the majority (69%) is Christian. Muslims make up about 16% of the population, while other religious groups comprise 15%. Seventy-five languages and dialects are spoken in Ghana. However, about half of the population speaks Twi, the language of the Ashanti. English is the official national language, and is taught at school. Literacy is around 74% (81,9% for man and 65,9% for women). Over 60% of the population is involved in agriculture or fishing. Twenty six per cent of the population lives under the poverty line.

For a long time, the Europeans did not rule Ghana like they did other parts of Africa. Instead they constructed their forts in negotiation with village chiefs and the powerful kings of the Fante people (on the coast) and the Ashanti (of the inland). Even now, Ghana still has an Ashanti king. He is not as powerful as the government, but the people do listen to him and he is thus still influential.

Connections between Ghana and the Netherlands exist since the time that Michiel de Ruyter conquered fort Elmina from the Portuguese. In 2002, festivities were organised to celebrate 350 years of friendship. Prins Willem Alexander and princes Máxima visited the country on this occasion, and the king of the Ashanti's, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, visited the Netherlands. The first Dutch traders traded in gold and wood (Ghana was called the Goldcoast in earlier days). However, slave trade grew in importance later on. Many of the slaves who were brought to Suriname came from Ghana. In 1863, after abolition of slavery, fort Elmina, and other Dutch possessions, were sold to England. Arthur Japin, in his fascinating book 'The black with the white heart', narrated some of this history. Nowadays, the Netherlands is again the largest importer of Ghanaian goods : mainly importing cacao, gold and wood.

Contact information

Stichting Berekum
Oshaarseweg 58
7958 PN Koekange
The Netherlands

e-mail : ghberekum @ gmail.com

phone : +31 30 - 6377866
       +31 522 - 451761
       +31 72 - 5823360