People of the savanna ecological zone had frequently found themselves under the control of neighbouring chiefdoms and states before and throughout the colonial period. The Konkomba of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast (Ghana) were such a people. Throughout much of their history, in both the pre-colonial and colonial periods, they have come under the political control of the Dagomba, Nanumba, Mamprusi, Gonja, Asante, and later, Germans, French and British. However, throughout these political and economic experiences, the Konkomba have maintained their health by utilising plants and herbs that grow in their neighbourhood. This was complemented by adapting and utilising external health practices introduced by their neighbours in the maintenance of their health. Through analyses of the Konkomba conceptualisation of health (ngbanpuan), disease (tebubund) and treatment (ntem), this study employs the qualitative historical method to examine the medical culture of the Konkomba up to 1956. It uses a multi-disciplinary approach to demonstrate that the worldview of the Konkomba and other indigenes of the savanna ecological zone informed their medical practice. As a result, they resorted to both the spiritual world and the natural world of herbs, roots, leaves and various parts of trees to counter sicknesses in their community.

Background to the Study
The Konkomba live in the north-east and north-west of the Republics of Ghana and Togo respectively. Konkomba-dominated territories lie astride the north-eastern international boundary between the two countries. A majority of the Konkomba, therefore, live in Ghana but their customs and religious practices are identical to those of their neighbours in Togo. The Konkomba-dominated territory was a united entity prior to the German occupation of the region in the 1890s. It remained united under German rule, like the case of the Bassari, up to 1914.1

The First World War and its effects on Africans led to the split of the Konkomba territory into two units. This was achieved following the Anglo-French border delimitation of the former German colonies in 1914. During this partition, the wish of the Konkomba as to where they wanted to belong was never taken into account by the European powers. Those who came under British rule fell under the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast and those who came under French rule found themselves in the Savanes Region of Togo.

Despite the political changes that occurred in the Konkomba-dominated areas of the savanna, the ecology has helped them maintain their health over the centuries. Map 1 on page two shows the administrative division of the Northern Territories.

Statement of the Problem
African indigenous medicine has been a main recourse for the needs of many populations in Africa for many centuries. In spite of this, indigenous medicine often carries with it a perception and the stigma of being irrational and grounded in “unscientific methods.”2 One reason for this view of indigenous medical healing is the failure to research, catalogue and interpret African conceptualisation of medicine.

The Konkomba of Northern Ghana are among the groups of people who have relied extensively on indigenous medical practices for survival. Their distinct understanding of health and medicine resulted in their reliance on indigenous medicine. Undoubtedly, very little is known about their medical culture in the field of medical history. Where this is presented or mentioned, only a few lines are devoted to it. The ethnographic studies on the Konkomba have received considerable scrutiny from ethnologists and anthropologists. Not the same could be said of the medical culture of the Konkomba. As a result, people do not know much about the medical culture of the Konkomba of Northern Ghana. This research aims to produce a history of the medical culture of the Konkomba and attempts to correct misconceptions and misperceptions surrounding the medical culture of the Konkomba.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 204 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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