Marriage Is Like a Groundnut, You Must Crack It to See What Is Inside: Examining Romantic Relationship Rules in Akan Proverbs


  • Vivian Afi Abui Dzokoto
  • Joanna Schug
  • Joseph Adonu
  • Cindy Nguyen


Proverbs are a valuable part of African culture. They transmit messages of shared, communal values about different facets of life inter-generationally. In an exploration of one West-African ethnic group, the Akan, the present study investigates messages that proverbs communicate about interpersonal relationships. A total of 79 Akan proverbs that addressed romantic relationships were examined using thematic analysis. The main components of advocated values as captured in the proverbs were identified. The thematic analysis determined that Akan romantic relationships tend to lean towards a “work-it-out” approach as opposed to the “soul mate” approach typical of Western romantic relationship norms. Overall, this study demonstrates that analyzing cultural artifacts such as proverbs can teach us about cultural rules that define relationships.