|The Ashanti people|
Ashanti (also known as Asante) people live in Southern Ghana. There are
about 1.5 million people in the Ashanti nation. They speak a dialect of
Twi, called Asante.
They are world famous goldsmiths and are best known in America for their Kente cloth, a fabric originally worn by the royalty of the Ashanti.
Historians can trace the beginnings of the Ashanti people to the thirteenth century, however, they did not hold great power until the end of the seventeeth. According to Ashanti legend, a golden stool descended from heaven and rested on the knees of the first Ashanti king called the Ashantehene.
Today the Ashantehene still rules the Ashanti people and the Golden Stool is still the most importan icon in their culture. They believe that the golden stool contains the souls of all Ashanti people and embodies the strength in their nation.
In their early history, the Ashanti obtained most of their
wealth through the slave trade. Many African Americans today believe themselves
to be of Ashanti descent. Evidence of this exsists in Jamaica, where Ashanti
mythology and folklore is considered Jamaican folklore and remains in tact.
Also in the Southern United states, Ashanti folklore can be found as traditional
African American folklore. Anansi the spider is known as "Aunt Nancy",
a trickster spider. Other folktales derive from Ashanti culture but are
more subtle. In one Ashanti myth, Anansi is tricked by the Sky God. The
Sky God creates a wax figure to resemble his daughter. Anansi the spider
attempts to woo her, but becomes tangled and stuck in the sticky wax. This
sounds familiar to us in the form of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby.