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  • Writer's pictureAsafo Flags

Folklore Creatures: Sasabonsam

Updated: Mar 12

The Akan people of Ghana have a rich tradition of folktales that have been passed down orally through generations. These folktales often serve to entertain, educate, and transmit cultural values. 

In our flag collection, we have a popular folkloric creature called Sasabonsam or Asasabonsom (forest monster) made in the 1940s by Agya Amissah at Kuntu (Saltpond) Workshop.

The mythical tale of Sasabonsam is often described as a vampiric being or a monstrous creature resembling a bat or an owl. It dwells in the forests, lurking in the trees and preying upon unsuspecting travelers or individuals who venture into its domain and protects the forests on Thursdays (the day of rest).

In various tales, it is depicted as having sharp claws and teeth, with the ability to fly silently through the night. It is sometimes associated with dark magic or malevolent supernatural powers.

Legends surrounding Sasabonsam serve as cautionary tales, warning people against wandering into the depths of the forest alone or engaging in behaviors that may attract the attention of evil spirits.

Artist Osei Bonsu (1900 - 1977) is believed to have carved the first sasabonsam figure in 1925 as a commission for a linguist staff. (British Museum Collection)

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