Military Arts of the Fante

by Doran Ross
Formerly Fowler Museum, UCLA

Asafo flag display, No. 6 Company, Anomabu, FanteGhana, 1976. Photo by Doran H. Ross.

 

An Asafo company may have up to sixty different flags in their regalia. Flags are presented at Asafo events in a variety of ways. Most shrines have a flagpole, which displays a single flag during important festivals. Other flags are strung up clothesline style. Large 200- to 300-foot banners are often paraded through the streets and select flags are singled out to be danced by specially trained flag dancers, usually wearing the dress of a priest. No. 6 Company, Anomabu, employs all of these means, and when flags are presented as seen here, it is not unusual to see an Asafo elder reciting and explaining the various proverbs and other sayings to a younger man or boy. This mode of display also serves to mark the principal arenas for company activities.