Dagomba People

Tamale in Ghana, Africa
Tamale in Ghana, Africa

From my series of African people from A to Z with the letter D, I will present in this article the Dagomba also called the Dagbamba people.

Who are the members of the Dagomba?

The members of the Dagomba represent the largest ethnic group in seven of the thirteen districts of the Northern region of Ghana. In the 14th century the Dagomba Kingdom was founded by invaders of the North, centralized around Yendi which was once located east of the White Volta River.

In the 1600's the conquest of the Gonja people reduced the kingdom's size. At the end of the 17th century the Asante had subjugated the Dagomba people until the British forces defeated the Asante. Today the Dagomba remain powerful people divided into two sub groups with the Nanumba people.

Dagomba
Dagomba
Ghana map
Ghana map

Where are the Dagomba people located?

Their land is called Dagbon located in Tamale; the capital city of the Northern region of Ghana on Africa. The Dagomba people add up almost 52% of the population of Ghana.

Tamale is reputed as one of the fastest growing cities in West Africa. The palaces of the Gukpe Naa and the Dapkema are found in the center of the city.

Living with the Dagomba people.
Living with the Dagomba people.

How do they live?

The Dagomba people's leader and inheritance are patriarchal and patrilineal. They live in a small village community in a circular pattern. Around the village are found their farmlands and bush. In the center of the village the chief's home is found; a domed hut higher than the other huts facing his.

Commoners are scattered in compounds traditionally built of mud and thatch. The men live in rectangular rooms and women in circular rooms.

How do the Dagomba people communicate?

The Dagomba speak a language called Dagbane (Dagbani). Dagbane is a language of the Gur branch of the Niger-Congo language family. This language was once recognized as officially of the Northern territories under British rule. The Dagbane language serves commonly as a bridge language throughout a large part of the North.

How do they survive?

The Dagomba people survive mainly by seasonal farming of over 32 varieties of crops such as: sorghum, millet, corn (maize), yams, and peanuts (groundnuts). They use the manure of the village cattle to fertilize the soil. Women often assist in harvesting while the work is mostly done by men.

The Dagomba also practice:

  • hunting
  • fishing
  • administrative and managerial work
  • craftsmen are skilled tailors, traders, and makers of ropes and mats
  • some specialize as blacksmiths, butchers, and barbers

What characteristics define their diversity?

The Dagomba are known for their sophisticated oral culture which is accompanied and largely supported by drums and other musical instruments.

The talking drum (known as: dondon, gongon or lunna) is used in Ghana at funerals and historical ceremonies where its elaborate rhythms and inflected pitch speak proverbial drum poetry, telling the history of its people's origins, migration, battles and genealogy of their royal rulers.

The lovely part of this characteristic that defines their diversity is the fact that music for them is throughout the performance of everyday tasks such as fishing or cultivating crops.

The Dagomba celebrate a festival called "Bugun", which means "fire" or "hell"; to honor their ancestors.

Final words

This article is a simple example of the Dagomba people. I just wanted to present them and leave in the reader a thirst of knowing more about our brothers around the world, in particular African people. Below is more information and an interesting video which transport the viewer to Ghana.

Blessings to all and stay tuned for the next article with the letter F of the A to Z series of African people.


© Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill

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Comments 9 comments

debbiepinkston profile image

debbiepinkston 4 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

I enjoyed this article...you are very knowledgeable about this people. I grew up in Cote d'Ivoire, and visited Ghana during my childhood. Do you know about the bete people?


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 4 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

Another well done hub honey. keep them coming, they are very interesting.


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord Author

debbiepinkston thanks for reading and leaving such inspiring comment. I am so happy to know that you were in Africa. I read your interesting profile. My destiny is Africa and you are blessed by having missionary parents.

I went after the bete people when I was deciding which people I was going to present with the letter B. I decided to write about the Bushmen (San people). It is very difficult to pick only one for each letter. Blessings to you and your people.


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord Author

Froggy213 ...do I know you?


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 4 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

Lol--do you??


hockey8mn profile image

hockey8mn 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

My cousin spent some time in Ghana helping locals in need of medical assistance. Voted up and interesting.


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord Author

hockey8mn thanks for the comment. This great feeling of enjoyment fills my heart when I get to know that real things are happening to my dear Africa. Many have lost hope and have stop helping thinking that the money they send is thrown into a pocket of a greedy heart...not everybody is the same. Give a big hug to your cousin in my name.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Another interesting tribe. I love the drums along with their oral history. Nice hub! Voted up!


Lastheart profile image

Lastheart 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord Author

Thanks Glimmer Twin Fan. I also like the fact that music is important for them.

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