Do The ‘RIGHT’ Thing..

No Left Hand

Every country has its own customs there also are some Ghanaian Etiquette rules to be very aware of when in Ghana or around Ghanaian people. I’ll give a bit more light on these on a separate post but for now just a heads up on one of the most important ones.

Do the RIGHT thing….What I mean by this, is when interacting with a Ghanaian ALWAYS use your right hand. I remember being about 8 years old at a family gathering, maybe a Christening or a funeral…anyway, my uncle asked me to pass him a cold Guinness from the ice cooler. (Gesturing me over in the hand closed then open Ghanaian way) Being the “small boy” that I was, I did so hurriedly.   Just as I was about to pass the bottle to my uncle and run away to finish my MJ moves on the dance floor, I hear my aunty shriek at the top of her lungs  “HEEII!!(Ghanaian accent) NOT WITH THE LEFT!?” I switched hands and saved myself the headache and a potential telling off.

Angry Ghanaian

No matter what you’re doing, Ghanaians always prefer you to use your right hand. I’m talking handshakes, passing the Ketchup or Shitto (a popular Ghanaian condiment), receiving your change, gesturing,  eating with your hands…If you dip your left hand into someone’s plate or soup pot WOW, you’re finished! Why?! You have just committed a HUGE insult!

What is the reason for this massive focus of using the RIGHT hand? I’ve been trying to get a more philosophical and spiritual reasoning for you, but it seems that the overarching reason comes down to the simple fact that traditionally in Ghana the LEFT hand has been labelled as the self-sanitation hand, the ‘toilet hand’. Nobody wants to be touched with the pee-pee  or doo-doo hand do they?! LOL

The sad thing about this is that because the left hand is labelled as dirty, many parents will try and persuade their kids to change what their natural hand of action is at a young age.   Some of you are thinking, “but that’s really unpractical, what if my hands are full?!”…Hey don’t shoot the messenger.

Below are a few famous lefties:

Prince William, Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo da Vinci, Angelina Jolie, Spike Lee, 50 cent, Barrack Obama.
Someone warn Obama not to shake hands with his left when he goes to Ghana!! It could be embarrassing!


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: