Africa Travel Tips

Guide to Ghanaian Cultural Etiquette

Ghanaian Cultural Etiquette

Wherever you may travel in the world, from London to Perth, it is important that, before you arrive, you get to grips with the area’s culture. Etiquette is important when travelling internationally because it ensures that you do not offend the people you meet. This is something that applies in particular when you visit Ghana.

Whether you are going to be a volunteer in Ghana, or you’re just passing through, you will need to bear the following rules of Ghanaian cultural etiquette in mind:

1. Greetings

When greeting people, you should always move from right to left and handshakes should always be made with the right hand. This applies to all individuals, no matter how old they are or whether they are male or female.

2. Handshake

The Ghanaian handshake is a little different from the one we are used to. To do a correct West African handshake, you must use your middle finger to ‘snap’ the idle finger of the person you are greeting.

If you are still not sure how to do a Ghanaian handshake correctly, check out this helpful video.

3. Greet Immediately

Another thing to bear in mind is that, if you do not want to appear rude, you should greet people as soon as you enter a place. If you do not, you may find that all of the people in the area are looking at you, just waiting for you to say your hello’s.

4. Your Right Hand

When eating or passing items to and from other people, you must always use your right hand, with no exceptions. This is because the people of Ghana, like many other people on the planet, consider the left hand to be used for the toilet.

5. Don’t Trash Talk About Race, Religion or Politics

Ghana is one of the most diverse and tolerant places in the whole of Africa, which means it is never a good idea to get too deep into any of the above topics. However, if you must, you should do your best to avoid negativity, which could be seen as rude or upsetting depending on the people you are with and what you say. So, it’s just like anywhere else really!

6. Share

Unlike in the West, where what we own is our own, in Ghana, people lead much more interdependent lives, which means that the sharing of everything from food to anecdotes is encouraged. By sharing what you have, whatever that may be, you can make fast friends and find out some of the most interesting aspects of Ghana pretty quickly.

7. Do Not Waste Anything

In the West, we are also so used to having an abundance of everything that throwing out food or clothing means nothing to us, but in Africa, everything no matter how little value you may ascribe to it is valuable to its people. For this reason, it is always better to offer something you are planning to throw out to a Ghanaian before you get rid.

If you make certain you stick to these rules; you are sure to have a wonderful, fulfilling time in Ghana filled with fun, friendship, and new experiences.

Let me know, do you get familiar with the cultural etiquette before you travel?

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Kat
    26. April 2017 at 11:23 pm

    These are very interesting tips, especially the one about the Ghanaian handshake! I always do research about the culture before travelling to a new country. I don’t want to accidentally offend anyone!

  • Reply
    Jill
    21. April 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Wow. This stuff can get a lot of getting-used-to’s. Especially the right hand thing, and the hand shake. True, we must know other people’s culture first before visiting their place. This could save us a lot from trouble.

    • Reply
      Sina Meyer
      22. April 2017 at 8:57 am

      Yes, I think it’s also a great way to learn more about a country and their values. The locals will def. appreciate it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jill :)

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