The problem that prompts this study is how cherished taboos that sustain communal life and instill morality in indigenous Ghanaian society are eroding fast before ‘our very eyes.’ This leads to the quest for some of the taboos, their places and the future in modern Ghanaian morality. To achieve this goal, the study blends ethical and theological methods as it adopts a qualitative technique in the analysis. It has been observed that taboos are assessed and therefore considered as irrational and superstitious ideas and sometimes retarding societal progress. Typical examples are to forbid working on a piece of land on a week-day which is seen to be retarding economic growth. Also, sex taboo rules that forbid sex in the bush, especially, on farmland and the bare floor are seen as primitive ideas. Parents are also afraid to advice their children to avoid marrying from families stigmatised by laziness, stealing, and cruelty. This study however recommends that taboos that are similar to Christian moral values such as marriage which is a sacred and social affair be encouraged. Furthermore, holistic moral conservation policies need to be implemented to enhance Ghanaian taboos as those that are evil are metamorphosed into acceptable forms of morality. This can only be achieved through intensive and effective teaching and learning. Finally, if moral education can be enforced at social gatherings, it will go a long way to inculcate or instill morality which could help generations unborn. This article fills the gap between taboo rules in indigenous Ghanaian morality and ethical principles in the Christian faith.
Keywords: Taboos, morality, modernisation, acculturation.
Ansah, John K. Taboos in Ghana: The Ethical Wisdom of our Fathers. Stayler Verlag, Wort Werk. Neitetal, 1988.
Ayegboyin, Deji and Charles Jegede. Divinities In: Asante, Molefi – Mazama, Ama (eds.): Encyclopedia of African Religion. Sage, Thousand Oaks, (2009): 210–213, https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412964623.n139
Awolalu, Omosade J. ‘Sin, and its Removal in African Traditional Religion’ Source: Journal of the American Academy of Religion. Vol. 44. No. 2 (June 1976), 281. https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/xliv.2.275
Boaheng, Isaac. “Divine Sovereignty, Human Responsibility and God’s Salvific Plan: An African Perspective.” E-Journal of Religious and Theological Studies 5, no.3 (2019): 84-93. https://doi.org/10.32051/09301909
Definition of Determinism. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite, 2010.
Gaba, Christian R. Sin in African Traditional Religion. The Ghana Bulletin of Theology. Vol. 4. No. 1. Printed in Ghana by Presbyterian Press. Accra, 1971.
Gills, James. Biblical Ethics and Contemporary Issues. Makati City: Carid Baptist Publications, 1994.
Kudadjie, Joshua N. Does Religion Determine Morality in African Societies: A Viewpoint.The Ghana Bulletin of Theology,1973.
Kudadjie, Joshua N., Rebecca Y. Ganusah and Adekunle Alalade, Religion Morality and West African Society. West African Association of Theological Institutions, 2002.
Mbiti, John S. African Religions and Philosophy. Heineman Educational Books Inc. New Hampshire, 1989.
Mistiaen, Veronique. Virgin wives of the fetish Gods – Ghana’s trokosi tradition (2013).
Nsamenang, Bame A. Human Development Cultural Context: A Third World Perspective. Sage Publications. Newbury Park. California, 1992.
Opoku, Kofi Asare. West African Traditional Religion. FEP International Private Limited. Legon, 1977.
Santrock, John W. Adolescence. McGraw-Hill. New York, 2008.
Umoh, John 0. Elements of Sociology of Religion. Ikot Ekpene: Iwoh Publishers, 2005.