Remembering Enslavement through Expressive Culture: Animistic Metaphors Contesting Notions of Victimhood among the Bulsa of Ghana

Emmanuel Saboro


This paper examines how the Bulsa ethnic group in northern Ghana by means of expressive culture revealed in their oral traditions and songs continue to remember and relive their experiences of survival from the threats and violence that slave raiding imposed upon them during the latter part of the nineteenth century. The paper pays attention to the ways in which animistic metaphors reflected through popular culture provide an opportunity to better understand the processes of metaphorizing and subverting narratives of victimhood among this subaltern group. This paper attempts to show that the songs are not “invented” solely “as a reflection of the coded discourse” sometimes surrounding the experiences of captivity and enslavement within this culture, but more importantly, they reveal how animistic metaphors encode the discourse of overturning the images of victimhood.


Bulsa, Enslavement, Metaphor, Orality, Song, Victimhood.

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