“We Even Dance Together”—Social Relations in Post-Conflict Northern Ghana
  • Benjamin Talton


Between 1955 and 1994 Konkomba leaders in Tamale, Saboba, and Accra promoted the idea of a Konkomba community of belonging that would allow them to assert Konkomba as one of Ghana’s politically legitimate tribes. Political legitimacy meant economic and political autonomy and direct representation by a recognized paramount chief at the Regional and National Houses of Chiefs—the quasi-government bodies with authority over the nation’s “customary” affairs. Issues of chieftaincy and tribe are broadly conceived as products of Africa’s precolonial past. However, Africa’s twentieth-century history shows that both are very much part of the fabric of modern African politics. Few Konkomba identified themselves with a broad Konkomba community of belonging prior to Ghana’s independence in 1957. Yet by 1994 Konkomba were embroiled in a multi-clan conflict that grew out of their leaders’ efforts to assert Konkomba as social and political equals to their historically dominant neighbors.


Local Politics Political Legitimacy Colonial Rule Neighboring Community African Community 
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  1. 3.
    Peter Geschiere and Stephen Jackson have defined autochthony as literally implying “of the soil and meaning a direct claim to terri-tory although in the meaning and currency of autochthony change according to context. See Geschiere and Jackson, “Autochthony and the Crisis of Citizenship: Democratization, Decentralization, and the Politics of Belonging,” African Studies Review, 49, 2 (September, 2006), 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Benjamin Talton 2010

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  • Benjamin Talton

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