People walk along one of the sandy beaches in southern Ghana.

There are more than a dozen ethnic groups in Ghana, and over 50 dialects are spoken. The main groups in the center and south are the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Fanti, Ewe, and Ga. The Dagomba and Mamprusi live in the north. Most of these people are farmers, and many still live in walled villages, originally designed to ward off enemy attack.

Language and Religion. English is the official language, although many African languages also are spoken. Nearly half the people are Christians, and many others follow traditional African religions. About 12 percent of the population is Muslim.

Way of Life and Education. Village families usually live in houses of baked earth with roofs of straw or corrugated iron. A staple food is a porridge called fu-fu, which is made from cassava, a starchy root plant. Both men and women wear gaily patterned cotton robes. The most prized robes are made of kente, cloth woven of cotton and silk yarn.

About 35 percent of the people now live in urban areas. Many Ghanaians in the cities wear Western-style clothes, but some still prefer their colorful traditional dress.

Education has been compulsory since 1961. Children attend three levels of school — primary, middle, and secondary. There are numerous teacher-training colleges and technical institutions. The leading universities are the University of Ghana at Legon, near Accra; Kumasi University of Science and Technology; and the University of Cape Coast. Ghana's literacy rate (the number of people who can read and write) is rising. Many adults, however, still cannot read or write, and the government holds classes in many villages to combat adult illiteracy.

The Arts. The people of Ghana once had a flourishing artistic tradition in wood carving and in objects made of gold and brass. But little remains of this heritage. Ghanaians are noted for their talent in music and dance. Painting, drama, and fiction are more recent developments. Almost all publications in Ghana are in English.

Katherine Savage
Author, The Story of Africa

Write about it:
After reading about the people in Ghana, compare and contrast the way of life in Ghana, with that of your way of life. How is your way of life the same or different? Check out the website below about "Nicholas' story" to find out what life is like for a real Ghanaian teenager.

Learn more about Ghana in these selected Web sites:
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Nicholas' Story
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/globalcafe/peacecorps/ghana/ghana_nicholas1.html
Learn about Nicholas and what his life is like as a teenager living in Ghana.