An Ethnographic Sketch of Social Interactions in Dagbon Society: The Case of Greeting, Sharing Drinks and Kola Nut

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Abukari Kwame


This paper explores social interaction and relationship building around greeting, sharing drinks and kola nut in Dagbon society and the cultural discourses and performatives enacted by the engaged participants. I argue that in Dagbon society, how greeting, sharing drinks and kola nuts are done reflect the symbolic meanings and interpretations people give to the actions and behaviours of others, as they engage in social interactions and relational exchanges. These relational discourses and exchanges surrounding greeting, sharing kola, and drinks also depend on the values, customs, epistemic traditions, and beliefs systems of the Dagomba. Furthermore, orality, cultural competence, age, and to some extent gender play significant roles in the social relational arenas involving these items. Greeting is a relational gesture and a recognition of the presence of others. And in sharing drinks or kola, notions of mutual interdependency, reciprocity, and harmonious co-existence are expressed and honoured.

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