This chapter recounts the early life and death of Gandah, a naa or 'chief', of Birifu, a dispersed settlement of traditional mud-walled compounds located near the bank of the Black Volta River in the northwestern corner of the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast. It narrates the final stages of Gandah's life as a renowned healer and accumulator of ritual 'medicines'. The chapter investigates how Gandah's story encapsulated key themes in the history of death and the dead in the Northern Territories in the first half of the twentieth century. This was a region that was in many ways quite distinct from the Akan forest and Gold Coast to the south. Historically, connections between the Akan world and the peoples of the middle Volta savannas did exist. Yet in terms of ecology, culture and political structure, the savanna, as the Akan perceived it, was another realm. The chapter outlines the emergence of a complex of kingdoms forged by horse-riding migrants who from the fifteenth century entered the savannas of the Volta basin straddling present-day Burkina Faso and northern Ghana.
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