Military Arts of the Fante

by Doran Ross
Formerly Fowler Museum, UCLA

Apprentice flag dancer, No. 2 Company, Mankesim, Fante, Ghana, 1979. Photo by Doran H. Ross.


The dancer may also draw “traps” or “witch holes” on the ground to capture the enemy. Not all movements, however, are related to the military nature of Asafo. Some steps are simply marvelous aesthetic embellishments—leaps, jumps and other flourishes, which demonstrate the virtuosity of the dancer and increase the entertainment value. Apprentice flag dancers train for several years and often perform at major festivals.