Magazine article New Internationalist

You Can Take It with You: Craft of the Coffin Flourishes in Ghana

Magazine article New Internationalist

You Can Take It with You: Craft of the Coffin Flourishes in Ghana

Article excerpt

As long as death continues to lay its icy hands on people, coffins will be a prominent feature of funeral ceremonies. But last rites in Ghana are becoming fashionable these days. Extreme extravagance is slowly creeping into our traditional funeral celebration -- such as the use of exotic shapes for colourful coffins.

The design of the coffins normally reflects the lifestyles and professions of the departed. A coffin shaped like a bag of flour or bread is destined for a baker, a truck is made for a long-distance driver, beer-shaped coffins house a customer fond of beer, a student or a teacher lie resting in a book, an athlete is buried inside giant Nike trainers. The rich often have coffins in the shape of Mercedes Benz cars.

The number of craftspeople in this trade has increased tremendously. Its competitive nature means that the industry has come out with all sorts of inventions to meet the demands of clients. The people of Teshie and Nungua townships outside Accra are no exception. …

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