Posuban Shines

Posuban Shrines are a very unique feature of the Coastal Central Region of Ghana. It is possible to drive along the coast from Accra to Elmina and see a number of these without even realizing what they are or their meaning or background. They tend to be in older trading towns like Elmina, Mankessim and Anomabu.

To the untrained eye they may seem like modern western concrete sculptures but to the people living in these communities they mean much more. They are associated with their corresponding Asafo company which is a tradition that is passed down from generation to generation on the fathers side of the family, and are kind of like military units, this is a familiar practice in most Akan groups. These companies were traditional responsible for the protection of a clan or a village, the military aspect has lost some importants over the year, they are more known for their ceremonial influences now, with more interest in art and politics.

The shrines are often built to signify the importance of each Asafo company the most important ones in each area may have the most elaborate shrines. The shrines vary from concrete life sized sculptures of people (even white and Europeans), animals, ships, to murals that you could walk by without even noticing. The Asafo companies are numbered with the number 1 often being the most important in each location, and often connected to the chieftaincy. In the past they also were used as store rooms for arms for the protection of the area, and also the important items in relation to that particular Asafo, in some ways it may be easier to think of them as almost a fraternity.

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