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Disguising the Pain of Remembering in Akwapim

  • Michelle Gilbert


In Akropong-Akwapim, south-eastern Ghana, memories of a sorrowful or conflict-laden past are accessed by verbal and visual strategies that are allusive in nature. The name-response that a mother gives to her child, sites marked in the ritual landscape and a chief's gold-covered linguist staff with a carved narrative image are all sites of memory pertaining to the identity of persons or groups. Formalized, repetitive and felt to be obligatory, they commemorate continuity with a dangerous and/or painful past and simultaneously deny it. This essay concerns memory, ritual, and the deliberate obscurity of reference.

À Akropong-Akwapim, dans le sud-est du Ghana, on utilise des stratégies verbales et visuelles allusives par nature pour accéder aux souvenirs d'un passé douloureux ou chargé de conflits. Le nom-réponse qu'une mère donne à son enfant, les lieux inscrits dans le paysage rituel et le bâton du linguiste plaqué or dont la tête est décorée d'un motif narratif sculpté sont autant de lieux de mémoire appartenant à l'identité de personnes ou de groupes. Formalisés, répétitifs et ressentis comme obligatoires, ils commémorent la continuité avec un passé dangereux et/ou douloureux et le nient dans le même temps. Cet essai traite de la mémoire, du rituel et de l'obscurité délibérée de référence.



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Disguising the Pain of Remembering in Akwapim

  • Michelle Gilbert


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