|Client||Association of African Studies in Italy|
Starting from the mid-twentieth century, the Ga people of Accra have come to favor a particular story of their genesis. Wrapped up in historical contentions, the story establishes strong cultural and religious links between the Ga and the Israelites. Similar hypotheses exist elsewhere in Africa – for instance, among the Igbo of Nigeria, yet their prominence is traced to the colonial discourse and interpreted as a pushback against the religious and cultural evolutionism that positioned Africans and African belief systems on the bottom of the evolutionary ladder. This paper seeks to analyze the pertinence of the Ga story of Israelite origin in contemporary Accra, amidst the ascendance of Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity, and renewed discrimination against indigenous cosmologies. It argues that since religious power has emerged as an emblem of political status, the accentuation of Ga affiliation with ancient Israel can be interpreted as a means to carve out new paths of social legitimacy.