Introduction / History
The Chakali are located in a group of 7 villages east of Wa in Ghana's Upper West Region. They are subsistence farmers but also raise cattle. The main crop in the region is yam. In typical north-western style, the Chakali live in flat-roofed mud and wood houses which are connected to form large family compounds. The Chakali follow a matrilineal system and traditionally they marry within their clan, with husband and wife often coming from the same village.
Each Chakali village has a Wali chief which is the primary neighboring group to the Chakali. In the early 1970's there was an increase in trade between the Chakali and their Wali neighbors. Today, many will make the 20-40 mile journey each week to go and see at the Wa market. This interaction with their Wali neighbors also brought the Chakali increased contact with Islam. In the past 20 years, many Chakali have embraced this teaching and now call themselves Muslim. However, at present, there are no strong indications of Islamic tradition other than the presence of a mosque in several villages.
The Chakali are very hospitable people. Their kindness to strangers often extends to the women joining together in song and dance and the outsiders being presented with gifts of yam.
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