Cornrow: A Medium for Communicating Escape Strategies during the Transatlantic Slave Trade Era: Evidences from Elmina Castle and Centre for National Culture in Kumasi


  • Bernice Quampah Department of Communication Studies, Sunyani Technical University, Sunyani, Ghana
  • Edward Owusu Department of Communication Studies, Sunyani Technical University, Sunyani, Ghana
  • Victoria N.F.A. Adu Department of Communication Studies, Sunyani Technical University, Sunyani, Ghana
  • Nana Agyemang Opoku Department of Communication Studies, Sunyani Technical University, Sunyani, Ghana
  • Samuel Akyeremfo Department of Computer Science, Sunyani Technical University, Sunyani, Ghana
  • Augustine J. Ahiabor Department of Communication Studies, Sunyani Technical University, Sunyani, Ghana


Servitude, Cornrow, Transatlantic, Hairstyle, Communication


Globally, it is amazing how power is attached to hair in various cultures. Hairstyles and shapes are definitive social markers used in determining, among other things ethnicity, religion, and age in Africa.  In Ghana, most communities, over the years, from generation to generation have used indigenous hairstyles to symbolise and conserve their traditional socio-cultural beliefs and practices. Hence, the interpretation of art in connection to indigenous hairstyles cannot be underestimated by every culture. However, many people seem to be ignorant about the role that the cornrow hairstyle played during the transatlantic slave trade period. People appear to focus more on the beauty and the aesthetic qualities of the cornrow. The research design used was qualitative. So, descriptive and content analyses were used to analyse the data collected from the participants.

These five participants (i.e., one indigenous hairstylist, two directors of the Centre for National Culture in Kumasi, and two curators of Elmina Castle) were purposively selected. In-depth interviews were used to solicit data from them. The findings of the research revealed the origin of the cornrow, and how the Akans come into contact with it. Again, the study uncovered the role that Cornrow played in liberating some Africans from slavery. Based on the conclusion, recommendations about revisiting African roots (to learn and adopt some of its indigenous practices) were suggested.


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How to Cite

Bernice Quampah, Edward Owusu, Victoria N.F.A. Adu, Nana Agyemang Opoku, Samuel Akyeremfo, & Augustine J. Ahiabor. (2023). Cornrow: A Medium for Communicating Escape Strategies during the Transatlantic Slave Trade Era: Evidences from Elmina Castle and Centre for National Culture in Kumasi. International Journal of Social Sciences: Current and Future Research Trends, 18(1), 127–143. Retrieved from