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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Onetouch' quality and 'Marriage Silver Cup': performative display, cosmopolitanism, and marital 'poatwa' in Kumasi funerals
Author:Gott, SuzanneISNI
Periodical:Africa Today
Geographic term:Ghana
social status
urban society
Abstract:This study focuses on display and performance at one of the most widely attended, high-visibility events throughout urban Kumasi, the Asante customary funeral rites held on public grounds and side streets each weekend. In particular, it examines the dynamics of competitive status-seeking display ('poatwa') in the form of funerary presentations orchestrated by Kumasi wives to proclaim the superiority of their marriages. These presentations are the 'adesiedee', a presentation of burial gifts, staged immediately before the burial, and the 'adekyeredee', a presentation of prestigious funeral donations, staged during commemorative rites held after the burial. The expressive impact and prestige associated with these events are enhanced by aesthetic strategies of visual display, concerted movement, and female oratory alluding to the modern, such as Onetouch, Ghana's most expensive cellphone service. The strategic efficacy of these events is inextricably linked to Kumasi's environment and its mixture of the local and the global. For more than three hundred years, this city has provided the stage, audience, and material resources for high-visibility performances of wealth and superior status. Its combination of customary practice and global visual culture, as epitomized by 'adesiedee' and 'adekyeredee', is a contemporary expression of its indigenous cosmopolitanism. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]