One unique tourist structure that presents a deep aspect of the culture of Ghana is the shrine of some traditional areas or ethic groups in the society. There are countless shrines across the countries. Basically there are more than 1,000 shrines in the country and is it believed that every region’s ethnic group has a shrine for the family as well as the societal shrine.
These shrines are seen as lesser gods and are highly regarded as a deity that protects the family or community and as such it should be consulted for power, support and protection. With the advancement in Christianity and other religion in the society some people are neglecting the shrines. Shrines are no less attractive to local people, as well less patronage by foreign tourist.
One of such shrines is Mankessim Base Posuban in the Central Region unique to Ghana’s central coastal region. It is one of the towns well known for its busy market and Posuban Shrine. Posubans, are elaborate concrete shrines in the urban areas of Fante settlements. The word “posuban” is a combination of the corrupted form of the English word “post” that is “posu” and the word “ban” meaning a fortification. A “posuban” is the religious center of an ASAFO company.
In remembrance of the three warriors (Obumankoma, Odapagyan, Oson) and the Gods who led the Fante people during their migration to Mankessim, a Posuban shrine was erected on the 3rd November, 1891 and renovated on 8th September, 1979. This is a wonderful example of how art is used in the daily lives of Ghanaians. These shrines are the work of Asafo companies, the patrillineal military units that are a feature of most Akan societies.
According to research the shrine is one of the unique shrines that even the location and caretaker are of high knowledge about the efficacy of the shrine and its cultural essence. Nevertheless it has been visited impartially to the extent of enormity.
Many posubans originated as storage houses for arms and company regalia. While the actual sites are quite ancient, their present form is probably post-independence. The art, though African, draws on western themes, looking somewhat out of place in traditional Africa. It can be said that these shrines were the local headquarters of traditional militias (Asafo companies) that provided police and other services to the community and also had a big role to play in local politics.
Each of the carvings symbolizes something, usually to do with either religion or how to have power over your enemies. The shrine building was originally a storehouse for weapons, regalia, and other traditional apparatus for specific purposes.