Nanumba people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Nanumba people
Total population
78,812 (2000)
Islam, Christianity, Traditionalism
Related ethnic groups
Mole-Dagbon people

The Nanumba people are an ethnic group whose traditional homeland is in the southeast of the Northern Region of Ghana. They speak Nanun (var. Nanuni), a Gur language.[2][3]


As of 2000, population of the Nanumba in Ghana were estimated at 78,812.[1]

Though Nanumba constitute a homogeneous cultural and linguistic group, they are closely related to the Dagomba to the north and east and the Mamprusi further to the north, and more-remotely to the Mossi of Burkina Faso. Traditionally the originating ancestors of the paramount chiefly lines of the former three brothers, and the Mossi paramounts descended from a daughter of the Mamprusi line. Published references include quoted statements of Mampruli speakers: Ti ŋmampurisi, Yooba, Naanumma ni Moosi piiligu nyɛ la Kyama maa "The origin of us Mamprusi, Dagomba and Nanumba was in Chama",[3] Ti zaa nyɛ la yimmu "We are all one. (Mamprusi, Dagomba, Nanumba)"[4] and discussion in [passim][5]

The capital town of the Nanumba is Bimbilla, a small town which serves as the capital of Nanumba North district in the Northern Region of north Ghana.[6] It is also the capital of the Nanumba State and the seat of the Overlord of Nanumba, the Bimbilla Naa.[7]

Traditional authority[edit]

The highest level in the traditional hierarchy, referred to in English as the 'Paramount Chief' or sometimes 'King', is the last court of appeal for all disputes at lower levels: between paramounts there was no recourse other than war. The subjects of a Paramount Chief constitute an ethnic group or 'tribe'. In this system the Bimbilla Naa with his seat at Bimbilla is the Paramount Chief of the Nanumba ethnic group.[8] Traditionally, the paramount chief of Mampurugu (the NaYiri) installed paramount chiefs directly from Mampurugu in the 'younger brother' and 'granddaughter' states, but for many centuries the NaYiri's recognition of the new paramounts has been symbolic at best and its significance disputed. The Nanumba have a particularly close relationship with the Dagomba, but the larger group have rarely exercised direct power over them.[9]

In modern Ghana there is a House of Chiefs where traditional matters have a forum at the level of the nation state.[10]


Islam is the most-practised and characteristic religion of the Nanumba and the Dagomba, the Nanumba less-so than the Dagomba, though many people also consult non-Muslim diviners and give offerings to ancestral and other shrines.[11] There are a few Christians, mostly Roman Catholics.[12]


Besides the two Islamic festivals; Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the Nanumba celebrate Bugum Chugu, Damba and Naa Jigli festivals.[13][14][15]


  1. ^ a b Alhassan Sulemana Anamzoya & Steve Tonah (2012). "Chieftaincy Succession Dispute in Nanuŋ, Northem Ghana: Interrogating the Narratives of the Contestants". Ghana Journal of Geography. 4: 19.
  2. ^ A. K. Awedoba (2010). An Ethnographic Study of Northern Ghanaian Conflicts: Towards a Sustainable Peace : Key Aspects of Past, Present, and Impending Conflicts in Northern Ghana and the Mechanisms for Their Address. African Books Collective. p. 321. ISBN 9789988647384.
  3. ^ a b Wundow, Salifu [2nd. edn.] p.1 (2004). ŋmampurugu Piiligu Yala. G.I.L.L.B.T.
  4. ^ Drucker-Brown, Susan (1975). Ritual aspects of the Mamprusi kingship. Leiden : Afrika-Studiecentrum v.8.
  5. ^ St John-Parsons, D (1958). Legends of Northern Ghana. London, New York, Longmans, Green.
  6. ^ "8 persons arrested over Bimbilla clashes". GhanaWeb. 11 July 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  7. ^ Cheater, Angela (2003). The Anthropology of Power: ASA Monographs. Routledge. p. 224. ISBN 9781134650484.
  8. ^ Mohammed, Sulemana (August 2009). "Understanding the Causes and Impacts of Conflicts in the Northern Region of Ghana" (PDF). Ghana Policy Journal. 3 (4): 110–140.
  9. ^ Attah, Hajia Salamatu Nantogmah (11 July 2014). "The Bimbilla chieftaincy struggle: what we must know". Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  10. ^ Iddrisu, Farouk Adam (2 August 2014). "Unanswered questions on the Bimbilla chieftaincy issue". Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  11. ^ "Nanumba North District". 2006. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  12. ^ "NANUMBA NORTH DISTRICT" (PDF). Ghana Statistical Service. 2014. p. 82. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
  13. ^ Bonsu, Abigail (1 February 2013). "Damba festival comes off successfully". Zakaria Alhassan. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  14. ^ "Fire Festival update: Truck kills reveler; man butchered; 15 injured after gun violence". October 25, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  15. ^ Zadok Kwame Gyesi & Suweiba Yakubu (2 October 2015). "Bimbilla celebrates Naa Jigli". Retrieved January 15, 2016.