A Comparative Analysis of Akan and Yoruba Conception of a Person

A Comparative Analysis of Akan and Yoruba Conception of a Person


The concept of a person held by a group of people is fundamental in understanding not only how a person within such framework of thought views himself but also how other matters such as the idea of being, morality, knowledge and truth that are essential for the ordering of the society are viewed. This is emphasized by the fact that such a concept encapsulates the role the society expects the individual to play for the attainment of an orderly society and this makes it inevitable for African Scholars to write on the conception of a person from the African perspective. The Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria, a person is believed to be made up of three important parts. These are the “Ara” which is the material body, including the internal organs of a person; the “Emi” which is the life-giving element and the “Ori” which is the individuality element that is responsible for a person’s personality. In Akan ontology, a person is also made up of three parts namely the “Okra”, the “Sunsum” and the “Honam” or “Nipadua”, representing the soul (or life-giving entity), the spirit that gives a personality its force and body respectively.


Abimbola, W. (1970). The Concept of Human Personality, in La nation de Personne en Afrique Noire. Colloques International de Centre national de la Recherche. Paris: Centre Nationa de Recherche Scientifique, 544(73)

Achebe, C. (1958). Things Fall Apart. London: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Adegbindin, O. (2015). Critical Notes on Hegel’s Treatment of Africa. Ogirisi: a new journal of African Studies, 11(1)

Adegboyega, O. (1998). Destiny: The Unmanifested Being (A Critical Exposition). Ibadan: African Odyssey

Adekoya, D. O. The Concept of Eniyan in Yorùbá Thought System. An Unpublished Thesis is written 2010, Department of Philosophy, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Adeoye, C.L. (1989). Ìgbàgbọ́ àti èsìn Yorùba. Ibadan: Evans Bros Nigeria Publishers

Copyright © 2023 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0