What is Akwaaba: An embodiment of the true nature of African Hospitality

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What is AKWAABA?

Akwaaba! is a common expression of the people of Ghana that welcomes you into the most hospitable country in Africa.

Akwaaba means Welcome, It is a twi word, spoken by the Akan tribe of Ghana. After hearing it one too often from the mouths of Ghanaians; you will not only feel welcome but be filled with the warm ambiance and culture of the land.

Akwaaba as an Official Welcoming Expression

The Akwaaba expression although synonymous to Ghanaians has spread to other parts of Africa as the official welcoming expression for guest coming into the continent. You could say that Ghanaians are changing the foreign perception of Africans by the Akwaaba expression.

Most Africans in the Diaspora coming home want to feel a sense of belonging as they step foot onto their motherland, we may all think the word “Hello” works, but the truth is that you feel more in tune with the environment when the welcome expression is said in a local language.

The Akwaaba evokes a feeling of love, care, trust, freedom, and honor to the visitor. And with a beautiful smile, you can’t but feel the genuine love that Africa has to offer you.

A Symbol of the Proverbial Ghanaian Hospitality

You may not see the everyday Ghanaian dressed up in the country’s traditional attire, the Kente, when welcoming you with the Akwaaba expression. Yet the attitude of the people transmit this feeling of warmth and friendliness when greeted with the Akwaaba expression.

This symbol has become like the “Aloha” in Hawaii, but even better is that it is an embodiment of the true nature and kindness of who Ghanaians are and what guests should expect as they step into the rich vast expense of the gold coast.

The Akwaaba shows the moral standing of Ghana, where the hosts are expected to treat the guest on all occasions, whether in the comfort of their homes or at a formal gathering with respect. 

When welcoming the guest into their home, The Akans would say, Akwaaba! and when offering a chair, they would say, Akwaaba as a demonstration of warmth, love, acceptance, and peace.


The Akwaaba Portrait Critique

Akwaaba Portrait

The Akwaaba portrait is that of a beautiful young Ghanaian maiden dressed in the Kente wrapper tied across the chest, and a smaller wrapper of the same material used to tie the gele around her heard.

Adorning the attire are two handmade beads with rings on her fingers to compliment the colors of the material.

She is also bearing a terra cotta pot filled with the local drink poured into a calabash bowl with a wide smile across her face as she says the Akwaaba to the guests.

The outfit is the traditional material known in Ghana as the Kente. The Kente color, pattern, and mixture blend so beautifully to create a work of art that can well be the representation of the diverse culture, people and happiness seen on the faces of the people of Ghana.

The Kente is a celebratory cloth worn on an important occasion like weddings or a grand event.

The Terra cotta pots and calabash are the traditional cookware/dishware used to serve guests as they are welcomed into our homes.


The  Adinkra Symbol, Akwaaba

The Adrinka symbols are a collection of symbols that express culture, concept, value, and the Akan myth of Ghana. These symbols are packed with wisdom that has been passed from generation to generation.

According to Adinkra Knowledge the Akwaaba symbol encourages all Akan people to treat visitors with warmth and generosity as well as to be friendly to anyone visiting.


Although the grim relics of the slave trade period still litter the gold coast as a reminder of the dark days in the country’s past, this, however, has not dampened the happy attitude of the people.

Ghanaians continue to express their hospitality and warmth to visitors coming into the country.

Visitors entering Ghana will obviously be hit by the hot weather but the Akwaaba is a soothing and calming expression that will get you to acclimatize to the environment sooner than later.

The Akwaaba symbol of hospitality is more than just welcoming and showing hospitable character to the guest, it is an expression that welcomes everyone into one happy family that African is.

So we say to you AKWAABA!