n Institute of African Studies Research Review - First Notes on Koma Culture: Life in a Remote Area of Northern Ghana, Franz Kröger and Ben Baluri Saibu : book review

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0855-4412



This book, titled (), is about a people who are remarkable, even enigmatic, in a number of respects and it is perhaps the only comprehensive ethnographic account of the life of the Koma people, a small group by Ghanaian standards, whose lands are located in a belt that straddles two different districts, and two different regions of Ghana. FNKC informs the reader that the greater part of Komaland (including the Yikpabongo, Nangurma, and Wuntubri communities) belongs in the West Mamprusi District (in the Northern Region), while Koma communities in the Tumu District (Upper West Region) include Tantuosi and Bayeba Tiging. Just to the north of Koma are the two Bulsa Districts of the Upper East Region whose markets are of some importance to some Koma people, and with whose people, the Bulsa, Koma share the closest linguistic affinities and some cultural similarities. The geographical isolation of Koma communities is remarkable, and they have sometimes been described euphemistically as 'Overseas' because of their geographical location, which makes them even more remote at the height of the rainy season. Despite the surprising fact that Koma has been marked in some old maps of the North, though in the authors' view erroneously, none of the communities have attracted much notice until about two decades ago with the discovery of the terracotta works that now bear the 'Komaland' label; these generated international attention resulting in the area's invasion by antique collectors, and a flurry of archaeological excavations. Since then gold prospecting has been a magnet that attracts outsiders to Komaland.

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