An Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a right back for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and captains the Ivory Coast national team, Serge Alain Stéphane Aurier causes a stir together with his fellow national team players as they move to mingle with fans out there on the street played a street football exhibition match.
The attendance was something else, while the superstars received amazing love from the fans which clearly tells that football and spectators are inseparable.
The event took place yesterday June 2, in Marcory, a suburb of Abidjan at a field called "El Maracana". Interestedly some that speaks of Ghana was found on the field of play which clearly tells that Ghana and Ivory Coast have some in common.
If you look at the picture closely, you can see "Akwaaba" boldly written on the park. Ivory Coast, just like Ghana use "Akwaaba" to welcome visitors. Akwaaba in Ghana is an Akan word which simple means "welcome", as Ghana moved to the extent of having iconic "Akwaaba" photo, which has become one of the most iconic emblems in the country and is seen in various offices, arts and craft centers across the country.
It has also become the unofficial national photo conveying the "Akwaaba" message, to welcome visitors and tourists into Ghana.
This triggered me do little research as why Ivory Coast also uses the word "Akwaaba". I found out that, there is a tribe called Boules of Ivory Coast who are Akan people and one of the largest ethnicities in Côte d'Ivoire who historically migrated from what is today Ghana.
The Baoule tribe in West Africa, now Ivory Coast was founded by a female called Queen Abla Pokou who reigned from 1750 to1760). She ruled over a branch of the powerful Ashanti Empire as it expanded westward.
A subgroup of the Akan people, the Baoule people are today one of the largest ethnic groups in modern Ivory Coast and if you go there and insult someone in TWI thinking they don’t understand what you saying my friend you’re in trouble. It happened to me in 2019 when I went to Abidjan and Bondoukou for the first time.
I must confess, after visiting Ivory Coast specifically Abidjan and Bondoukou, the environment in Ghana specifically in Takoradi and Sampa is so familiar.
Moreover, there is an area call Kumasi in Abidjan no wonder to see Akwaba at El Maracana park in Marcory.
The two countries share a lot of cultural similarities and the only difference is French for Ivorians, English for Ghanaians. Way back in the olden days, we were one big family until whites arrive and divided powerful tribes and kingdoms to settle, leading to the creation of artificial boundaries and also forced their languages on us.
Now, Akan people of Ghana see themselves differently from Akan people of Ivory Coast and vice versa simply because of foreign language (English and French) barrier and artificial boundary that exist among them.
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