Conflicting emotions

12 subtle deceptive things the traditional Ghanaian society teaches us that no one talks about

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Hmm….deep rooted cultural implications society acts on, consciously or unconsciously. They may be a common belief in other African countries and other continents or may differ slightly. In any way, they are meant to be eye-openers and propellers of change and nothing more particularly to the traditional Ghanaian Society.

The biased nature of some of such belief systems has mentally enslaved the traditional Ghanaian Society and needs to be either reviewed or tailor-made for our benefit. We seem to have lost our identity as a people.

We, Ghanaians are hospitable people, no doubt about that, but we still have a long way to go in reviewing some of our cultural beliefs.

As every society has its ups and downs, these are 12 things no one intentionally talks about, until you experience them, in the traditional Ghanaian Society;

1. Cry as a man, show affection towards your family, and risk being called, “Barima Kotobonku” or “Obaa barima”.

Why teach our boys, “men don’t cry?”. Being strong doesn’t mean don’t cry. Sometimes you have to cry to be strong. Bottling up emotions makes you insensitive in the long run. Cry, if you have to do it in secret, but don’t deny yourself the chance to be human. Helping out with household chores doesn’t make you less of a man.

You may not be able to do it all the time, but it shows how sensitive and supportive a man can be. You can be concrete on the outside all you want, but women sometimes need to know you can identify with their weaknesses. Children are an equal responsibility because it took two people to produce them……there’s more of this stuff but for now, i think you get the drift.

Read also: They are against me because I married a man who helps with household chores

Read also: Is feminity a weakness? 4 revealing things no one tells you

2. Do the right things always and risk being called “Difficult”.

This may occur in many cultures across the globe. Many people like manipulating others, consciously or unconsciously. Everyone wants to know, “what’s in it for me?”. Do what’s right, and you become the enemy. However, with time, they’ll come around and accept you for who you are. Otherwise, you risk losing yourself.

Don’t ask me “who determines what is right from wrong?”. It’s clear that stealing is bad, deception, lying… These are obvious.

Read also: 5 essential reasons why character matters

3. Be single by a certain age or experience marital problems and the assumption is that you have a bad attitude as a woman—in the traditional Ghanaian Society.

Society preps girls all their lives to see marriage as an end, and everything else as a means. The young lady then doesn’t have an identity as a woman, doesn’t know her purpose or skills in life, except to be whatever her husband wants her to be.

Don’t get me wrong. I strongly believe in submission, but there’s more to being a human being, a woman, a mother, than being a wife. Otherwise, how effectively can she be a helpmeet?

4. A bright child is her father’s pride, but a problem child is his mother’s responsibility.

Have you ever seen chicks following a cockerel? I guess not. Fortunately, this generation of men are changing. They are more involved in the lives of their children than just being present as fathers. Many children can now freely approach their fathers without their mothers’ intervention and that is a great milestone.

5. Determine to live your best life at a young age through genuine means and risk being questioned about your source of wealth.

No wonder some youth are looking for illegal means of making money. Questioning will still follow, anyway.

Oh, I clearly remember the Nigerian youth protests, #ENDSARS.

Thousands of Nigerian youths took to the streets to protest against the unit called  Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), known for abusing their power. Testimonies from my Nigerian friends indicate the brutal murder of many young people who seemed to be threats, living lives they didn’t think the youth should be able to afford: roaming the streets at add hours, dyed hair and the use of flashy cars, phones or other gadgets. Traditional Ghanaian society

Read also: The lights went out and the shooting started, #ENDSARS protesters share their stories, a year on

  1. Clearly offend someone and hide behind personality traits (Choleric, Melancholic, etc) or mental health issues instead of learning to apologize.


There have been innumerable cases of abuse where the defendant was declared as having one form of mental illness or the other, all of a sudden and are eventually allowed to go scot-free with the guise of receiving treatment, especially if the victim is poor and helpless.

7. Respect is overrated to the extent that no one calls things as they are anymore, not even doctors, in the traditional Ghanaian Society.

A patient has a few days or months to live, and their family or loved ones are not told a thing or are being told everything is under control. It is no wonder many obituaries read, “What a shock”.

Children’s “respect” for elders gets them abused and not many people believe them. They are rather called liars or spoilt children.

Compliance to systems without questioning is called “Education”.


  1. Suggest a great idea or solution and it is often thrown into the trash because you’re the youngest and you don’t know anything, only for it to be published out there as someone else’s idea, without being acknowledged.

Again, collaborating in the business world seemingly makes others grow a sense of entitlement along the line, disregarding many of the terms initially agreed on. Eventually, your ideas are replicated elsewhere. Many a time, we do not realize that one-man businesses could be bigger and better with collaboration and unity.

  1. Start a business and friends and family want your products and services for free for a prolonged period but will pay much for products or services from complete strangers, till you hit the jackpot.

Then everyone wants to be part of your success story.

  1. Children’s emotional upbringing is left largely to school teachers, Sunday school teachers, and friends.

The days of society correcting children are fast fading away. Times when the parents of your friends could discipline you as their own child are fast fading away.

We now wonder what our children see, learn or are taught whenever they are out there, out of sight. Every parent wants responsible children but not every parent puts in the effort to make that happen.

The mantra, “Follow your heart” is more popular among young adults. They do whatever they “feel” is right.

What happened to society’s children?

  1. Physically challenged people are often treated as outcasts irrespective of their capabilities and ideas in the traditional Ghanaian society.

When are we going to see them for who they are, and not for what they look like?

In my line of work, I get to meet many people, in their workplaces, churches, youth groups, and communities so I know what I’m talking about. You are humbled when you realize that could be you. In spite of mass education, conservative people abound.

  1. A popular stance is actually abhorred in the public space but later integrated into society, somehow Eg. The booming side chick and sugar daddy business.


While some of these may be arguable, as subtle as they are, you may be a victim or a perpetrator without even knowing it.

This is in no way condemning our prestigious culture but pointing out ways where there can be an improvement, especially when it comes to changing the mindset of our children, the youth, and creatives in general. Change should start from somewhere and with someone.

Uncle Ebo Whyte, the outstanding playwright, writer, agent of change, and a man I respect so much on one of his radio broadcasts, once said, “Let us allow our culture expands, to create innovation, where creatives can live solely on their talent”

Some of the lessons our forefathers taught us should be brought back—what we call, “Sankofa”.


Is the situation different in your country or culture? I would very much like to know the subtle lessons your society teaches you other than that of the traditional Ghanaian Society.


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A believer, freelance writer, and kingdom blogger. I believe in bringing out the best in who God has made you be.

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