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The focal point of this paper has been to prove the presence of British influences in the culture of the republic of Ghana, which was once recognized under the name of the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast was an overseas colony of Great Britain between 1874 and 1957, and during that period the culture of the country underwent considerable changes, as a result of the colonial policy of imposing European customs and practices on all spheres of social and spiritual life. The system of indirect rule facilitated not only the implementation and establishment of the system of formal education, Christianity and customs concerning interment in public burial grounds and monogamy, but also appeared to be effective in encouraging the indigenous population of the Gold Coast colony to abandon their beliefs in gods, witchcraft and reincarnation. The scientific knowledge provided by compulsory education not only made natives see the backward and insanitary character of their traditional practices, but follow the model of highly-qualified, sophisticated in the manner of speech, well-dressed and comfortably living British. Education offered by schools led to the emergence of an educated Ghanaian and new occupations, which came together with the arrival and growth of mines, plants, schools, banks. The intellectual development of an individual went hand in hand with the improvement of living conditions, which was the result of encounters with British architecture, as well as techniques and materials employed in construction. The Ghanaian began to see the advantage of a brick over mud and following their superiors they started building and settling in white-washed and tenement houses. They also started commuting to work along broad roads that appeared together with first rail tracks. Apart from self-development and improvement of living conditions the population of the Gold Coast welcomed the arrival of printed media, radio, and movie, which, however, was not intended to entertain but rather disseminate colonial policies throughout the colony. The native population of the colony, however, appreciated the emergence of the media and in a short time learned about its power and later used it to disseminate their calls for independence, which together with the ideology of nationalism and democracy introduced and provoked by the colonists, led the country to its independence in 1957.

It should be pointed out that native residents of post-colonial Ghana rather than return to their traditional customs, beliefs, practices and institutions retained the cultural aspects of both physical and spiritual life introduced to them by the British. And as obvious as it seem to a random observer of Ghanaian recent history, the cultivation of colonial cultural values and developments introduced by the British institutions as church, school or theatre appears to be unusual and baffling. There are two reasons for this puzzlement. First, the word colonization implies rather negative connotations such as conquest and imposition of foreign regulations concerning every aspect of life on pain of a fine or death, and as the careful examination of Ghanaian colonial experience shows, upon establishment of their rule the British did not leave their subjects any choice between colonial and traditional customs and regulations. Therefore cultivating such indigenous practices like burial of the dead in other place than cemetery was punished with fine, whereas wearing traditional clothes at work might result in the loss of a job. Mass media were introduced only for the purpose of disseminating colonial policy. The same can be said about the whole process of urbanization of towns in southern and central part of contemporary Ghana, which was to serve the comfort of colonists who resided in such towns as Cape Coast, Accra, Tema or Kumase. The same can be told about rural population, which during the colonial past of Ghana suffered migration since the majority of its males migrated to towns to work for colonial employers.

Secondly, the adaptation of cultural components of the colonial period may be surprising owing to the fact that societies comprising pre-colonial Ghana had their set of beliefs and practices based on tradition. As it has been examined in the last pages of this paper, regaining independence from British colonial power did not encourage the indigenous population to return to live in accordance with the traditional rules and values, but rather to implement those introduced by their oppressors and adjust them to the needs of post-colonial Ghanaian society and conditions they live in. During the last fifty years of independence the majority of Ghanaian population, which inhabits the urbanised areas of southern and central Ghana either converted to, or remained Christian in terms of their religious beliefs. Armed with the awareness of the relevance of formal education, the Ghanaians keep on enlarging the number of schools and improving the educational system. Printed media, radio and movie enjoyed considerable development and nowadays serve as a source of entertainment, information and contact with the outside world. Lastly, the land development and building techniques acquired during the colonial period equipped the Ghanaians with the knowledge of how to improve their living conditions to make everyday life more comfortable. This resulted in growing number of splendid houses, wide motorways, railways and airports in present-day Ghana.

Summing up, it should be pointed out that the culture of Ghana exhibit strong British influences, both in the colonial past of the country and its post-colonial existence.


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