Divinity in Akan Proverbs: The Concept of God

Samuel Amoh, Isaac Nyarkoh, Nicholas Obeng Agyekum


This paper assesses the Akan conception of divinity as reflected in their proverbs. It considers the attribute of God from the lens of the Akan as highlighted in their proverbs and its bearing on their religious beliefs. The paper is a dilation of the Akan concept of God before the arrival of the early missionaries. It considers how the concept of divinity found manifestation in the Akan proverbs. This is because a society’s conception of God is the focal point that navigates their religious beliefs and beyond that, their socio-political endeavors (Agyarko, 2013). Human society’s perception of God and divinity forms the bases to direct their spheres of life. The Akan society has a belief not only in the supreme being but other supernatural creatures thus by divinity, the paper discusses the placement of the supreme being in relation to other deities in the framework of the Akan proverbs. Against the background of the complexity of the social life of the Akan society, the paper seeks to draw a relationship between the Akan conception of divinity and human behavior through the construction and conceptualization of divinity in Akan proverbs. To attain this, thirty (30) proverbs were sourced from the Akan setting and analysis made through focus group discussion to the conclusion that Akan perceive the Supreme Being to have sharable and non-sharable attributes. Moreover, most of the contemporary beliefs in religion have a close bond with the Akan concept of divinity which according to Idowu (1973), Olupona (1990), Bowler (1990), Geertz (2009) were described as primitive, retrogressive, fetish and superstitious.


Proverbs; Divinity; Attributes; Sharable; Non-sharable

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/11382


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