AEGIS European Conference on African Studies location:London: SOAS date:28 June-2 July 2005
A compound house in Kasenaland (NE-Ghana) originates at the converging of different paths of moving people, ancestors, goods, and flows of life. A house is a body in motion, which is continuously remoulded by daily movements of its inhabitants for whom it is a nexus of belonging. Mythological discourse explains the contrasting movements of wandering or roaming (exemplified in the figure of the hunter) and sitting/dwelling (in the figure of the host). Where both movements meet –dwelling and roaming–, the house bulges out of the land as a pleat in the earth.
Today the movement of roaming is of topical interest since many young men and women move towards the South for seasonal labour and other reasons. Many higher educated sons and daugther leave parts of the house emptied, often built in expensive materials and with modernized designs, as witnesses of their being part of a larger modern world.
This paper discusses the migrational movements in the light of mythological discourse and its socio-cultural implications for dwelling and belonging in an alienated appendix of the paternal compound house.