Nzulezo, the Floating Village in Ghana, Preserves Cultural Heritage

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Nzulezo village inhabitants arrived here in the 15th Century from Mali after a war with the Mande people over gold and fertile lands. Having no remaining land to settle, these people decided to build houses with stilts over the waters of Lake Tande, a place where no one would claim as their own. The village situated in the Jomoro district in the Western part of Ghana is just 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Accra. It acts as a reminder of the best cultural practices amongst Africans that are still embraced today. All the routine works of a typical African home take place on the surface of the water from children going to school, preparation of meals, and economic activities.

How do people live?

Every family must have three canoes to facilitate transportation whereby in most cases, one canoe is for the father, the other for the mother, and the other one for the children. According to a community elder, John Arthur, the community was led by their god who appeared in the form of a snail in Lake Tandane to protect the Nzolelo people from any danger. The families settled on wooden structures over the water since all the land was taken. Every family has its street, which is named after the head of the family.

Tourist attractions

Tourists who visit this place always crave to have a shot of the gin brewed from raffia palms by the local brewers. This alcohol is believed to have a unique taste that is way different from other gins. The rare turtles, monkey, and crocodile species in Nzulezo are the next thing the tourists can’t wait to see at this place. The people in this village lead the traditional way of life in all aspects for the centuries they have been here. They’ve built houses on stilts, relied on canoes as the sole form of transport, and made the famous gin from raffia palms.

Nonetheless, they have embraced little modern comfort like electricity installation at the expense of using lantern and hurricane lamps for lighting. Plans are underway to put in place a 24-hour healthcare system to cater for emergencies, especially the women in labor. To solve the problem of traveling over 5 kilometers to see a doctor, the residents are pleading with the local authorities to build health facilities that they can access at any time.

Education and the challenges in Nzulezo Village schools

The children in Nzulezo village can only get their primary school education here but must go out of the village for secondary school and further studies. The area has experienced challenges of inadequate teachers over time. Mr. Cudjoe, the headteacher who has been there for nine years, claims that not many teachers come back after the first time they are posted in this floating village. They feel the harsh conditions here are not safe for them, plus the government has done little to motivate them maybe by giving safety allowances since such incentives make them feel secure thus work well. Despite the challenges facing education, some students manage to soar in their studies and proceed to the universities, thus end up in remarkable careers. In as much as the village is adopting modern comforts and way of life, the residents are inclined to their cultural heritage and way of life, They are happy with how they live, do their chores, enjoy themselves, and also entertain themselves.

Bottom Line

Nzulezo village is respected by many because of its distinct structures built on stilts, the way of life that brings out happiness to all regardless of their age or status. The 500 inhabitants lead lives like those of people on the land, and they deem themselves as no different from them. They carry out economic activities, just like every other community does. For example, fishing, selling locally made handicrafts and souvenirs to tourists. They also run guest houses and restaurants ( which serve very delicious tilapia fish) to facilitate the stay of the tourists in the adventure of a village that stands firmly on water. Some tourists are so amazed that they donate some fortunes to the villagers that welcome them warmly.