Remember us “Akkem”: we are going extinct

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Delectable natural spices and filling staple foods make Ghana’s food something not to be missed. But Ghanaian food is more than mere sustenance; it’s a way to express love and happiness.

It also means to bring people together. Ghanaian food is for the soul, not just the stomach. Casting my mind back, some of the local foods that some of us grew up with, healthy as they are, seem to become extinct.

We do not serve them that often as part of family meals anymore. Remembering some Ghanaian festivals and occasions has drawn my attention to all the healthy local foods we abandoned. Instead, we have replaced/substituted them with assorted meals that sometimes add little health value.

How did we get here? How do we allow our traditions, culture, and heritage to go extinct? In Ghana, there are some meals that were top of every household’s menu some years back but are no more mentioned today. This is worrying because these meals may be forgotten entirely in a few years, and this will spell the beginning of the end of some part of our rich culture.


Quite a funny name as this is, ’aprapransa’ (literally meaning cleaning of the hand) was widely enjoyed in the ’80s and early ’90s. it was originally called “Akplijii or Akplidzi” is a Ghanaian GaDangme dish prepared by heat mixing (or blending) roasted cornflour with a sacred GaDangme soup called “Palm Nut Soup.” Aprapransa is a food that is served on special occasions and it is feared to go extinct.

Aprapransa as a complete meal is not a food that is commonly found on the streets of Ghana or prepared every day in the house. It is usually served by the Akan tribe on special occasions such as marriage and naming ceremonies, birthday celebrations and family cookouts. This food is often eaten with crab and meat palm nut soup. It’s a balanced diet as it has both carbohydrates and protein which gives energy and helps us grow. Its name is derived from the fact that it’s a complete meal with its soup/stew integrated that one only needs to wipe their hand (prapra wo nsa) to eat. Such a tasty meal should not be allowed to just leave our dining tables.


Many may argue about this meal, but a lot of people still love it. It used to be popular and on many household menus. But now it can be seen occasionally at events and some local restaurants known as ‘chop bars. Kokonte is made from dried cassava dough and eaten with palm nut or groundnut soups containing fish, meat and other accompaniments depending on the one preparing the soup.

It is popularly known as “face the wall” because it’s said that many people used to hide to eat. This meal is super delicious. It’s a great meal to have at any time of the day. Although you need to be skilled to prepare, it’s easily prepared when u have experience and skills. It is a highly satisfactory and nutritious meal and we can’t allow it to fade away.


I always look forward to that festival called “Homowo” for one reason, the tasty kpokpoi and fresh palm nut soup with a variety of fishes from the sea that one gets to eat. Kpokpoi a healthy steamed maize meal served with fresh palm nut soup is beyond all tastes. Yet we see it only once a year while other unhealthy foods like fried rice and potato chips are presented to us every day of our lives. Kpokpoi is prepared during the Homowo festival celebrated to hoot at hunger by the Ga tribe in Accra. This food is rich in protein and carbohydrates which are good for the body.

The kpekple is also spread within the town to invite the gods to the celebration. Although it’s a delicacy for the GA, other tribes equally enjoy eating it. It’s also going extinct and we need to bring it to our household menus.


Remember when you used to wake up as a child on your birthday, and the first thing you see is a big bowl of mashed yam mixed with palm oil and garnished with eggs and groundnut? At other times its mashed ripe plantain in palm oil with groundnut and eggs.

And the number of eggs represents your age. It was like a family tradition for anyone celebrating their birthday in the family? Etor is the name and it was enjoyed by all. And as a child, it was the food you always looked forward to when your birthday is approaching. It is also prepared for puberty rites and some other ceremonial events.

Like when one comes out of a difficult situation like a prolonged illness or an accident. Etor is served to bless their souls. Where is this tradition now? All we see in this day and age are colourful birthday cakes! We have replaced Etor with cakes and Chinese meals among others. Let’s not throw away our culture like this.


“Mix mix” if you are to directly translate the name of this meal. Made from diced boiled cocoyam/yam, onions, tomatoes, fish or meat all mixed together, properly spiced in one pot and allowed to boil gives you ‘mpotompoto’ served hot.

It used to be one of the very popular after school dishes in many Ghanaian homes. But fried rice, indomie and potato chips seem to have replaced this delicacy. Loved by all ages, this Ghanaian meal should be brought back. A few spoonsful into this and you are blown by the different flavours on your tongue. Let’s go back to it.

Variety is the spice of life; I guess this applies to not only the way we think but also the foods we eat. And if we are keen on promoting cultural tourism, we need to bring these foods back!

However, the big question is whose responsibility is it to keep the tradition and the culture from becoming extinct? Because there are some things only our forefathers will know and things we may know that the future generation will never know should we continue on this path?

President Akufo Addo, Ghana & Youth Development
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