Military Arts of the Fante

by Doran Ross
Formerly Fowler Museum, UCLA

Ghana; Fante peoples

Nana Manso, No. 2 Company, Kormantine

ca. 1935

Frankaa (Asafo flag)

Cotton cloth, appliqué

H. 106 cm (41 3/4")

Fowler Museum at UCLA, anonymous gift, X86.2014



When Ghana gained its independence the Ghanaian red-gold-green tricolor replaced the Union Jack in the canton of Asafo flags. Older flags with the British ensign were maintained to validate company colors and emblems. In some cases, such as the present example, the Union was actually cut out of an older flag with the tricolor substituted. We can actually date this substitution with some precision since the central strip on this flag is white rather than gold. In January 1964, Kwame Nkrumah altered the center stripe of Ghana's flag so it would correspond more closely to his own party's flag. When Nkrumah was overthrown in February of 1966, the white stripe reverted to gold. The motif on this flag is a characteristic boast by the company that it can do the impossible, “We can carry water in a basket using cactus as a head cushion.”