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Christianity and Cultural History in Northern Ghana

A Portrait of Cardinal Peter Poreku Dery (1918–2008)


Edited By Alexis B. Tengan

On Monday 23 April 1906 the Missionaries of Africa, also known as the White Fathers, arrived from Upper Volta, today known as Burkina Faso, in Navrongo to begin their missionary activities in northern Ghana. The small group consisted of three missionaries and a contingent of twenty Africans as helpers. Socially and culturally, the region was still suffering from the consequences of the recently outlawed practice of slave raiding and the terror regimes initiated by Zambarma generals such as Samouri and Babatu.
The inhabitants were still to come to terms with the European use of military force to try to establish colonial rule. Many of the populations and groups residing in what was then called the Northern Territories of Ghana, and also those in semi-urban trading centres such as Tamale, Wa and Bawku, had, over the past century, come to adopt aspects of Islamization within their cultures and had accepted the centralizing chieftaincy structure as their main socio-political system.
Cardinal Dery was born around this time into a priestly class among the Dagara people, and his life story as a religious leader vividly captures the cultural evolution of the whole region within this period.


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Part III: Renewing Culture, Renewing Religion


PART III RENEWING CULTURE, RENEWING RELIGION 171 Quality Teaching and Education in Northern Ghana The Role of the Church Gregory B. DONGKORE Lecturer, SS Peter and Paul Pastoral Institute, Wa Introduction Over the past two decades educational standards in Ghana have been falling. While there are many reasons for such developments, it is disheartening to note that politicians and decision makers continue to ignore the underlying causes of the nosedive of educational achieve- ments in Ghana, especially in the rural areas. This paper argues that until educational equity is restored in Ghana, the country as a whole will continue to suffer a deficit of intellectual and economic development. As a developing country we must tap from the best skills of the best of our society. This will not happen if, from the outset, some of our talent- ed children are already precluded from the basic literacy and mathemat- ical skills simply because they happened to be born in rural communi- ties. My personal dream has been informed by Cardinal Dery’s position on education which included the desire to ensure that the rural commu- nities receive adequate education. That is the only way to stem the tide of the rural-to-urban migration that has created the new social phenom- enon of street children in urban centres in Ghana. Several proposals have been made on how to improve the education- al standards in Ghana. My attention is, however, directed toward the Upper West Region for which research has been very scanty. My pre-...

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