Gendered mourning: A perspective of Akan death culture in Ghana

Stephen Baffour Adjei, Mensah Adinkrah, Anthony Mpiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Death is the commonest, incomprehensible, and inescapable reality confronting humanity in all nations and cultures. However, cultures vary in their conceptions of death, grieving and mourning rituals. Among the Akan of Ghana, mourning and funeral obsequies are essential cultural and spiritual practices. In this article, we draw insights from our reflective lived experiences and critical literature review to explore mourning and death rituals among the Akan as a stratified cultural system that reflects and reproduces broader gender patterns of masculinity and femininity in Ghana. We discuss the concept and cultural significance of mourning and bereavement practices, and further examine how socio-cultural notions of gender shape mourning and death rituals in Ghana. We argue that, as in many social and economic spaces in Ghana, funeral obsequies and bereavement practices represent sites for enacting and reproducing masculinity and femininity. The deleterious health and psychological consequences for men and women are further discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDeath Studies
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


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