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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Bukom, and the Social History of Boxing in Accra: Warfare and Citizenship in Precolonial Ga Society
Author:Akyeampong, EmmanuelISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Ghana
combat sports
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Miscellaneous (i.e. Demography, Refugees, Sports)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3097365
Abstract:Boxing emerged as an organized sport in Accra, Ghana, in the first half of the 20th century. The phenomenon represented a complex interplay between the Western sport of boxing and the indigenous Ga pugilistic sport of 'asafo atwele' (group fighting). This article examines the origins of 'asafo atwele' as a mass sport, rooted in particular sociospatial sites associated with the commoners: the beach and the Bukom area of Ussher Town or Dutch Accra. It interrogates the historical processes that underpinned the emergence of a martial Ga spirit, beginning with the social dynamics that made fighting in defence of the Ga polity an avenue for the incorporation of strangers, slaves, and ex-slaves into precolonial Ga society. The article then analyses the transition to Western-style boxing. It underscores the importance of sport as a vehicle of individual aspirations and achievement, as well as a marker of community identity and political difference. It sheds light on how boxing in Ghana acquired a distinctly Ga imprint with Bukom as the capital of boxing. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]