The Fantasy Coffins of Ghana

I wrote a piece for online travel magazine Roads and Kingdom's Breakfast section a few weeks ago. Today, I'm sharing a piece I wrote as a foreign correspondent for their weekly global dispatch, co-produced with Slate, on the unique Ga tradition of "fantasy coffins." 

If that term intrigues you, read more via the Roads and Kingdoms website or on the Slate website.

Take a peek at an excerpt below: 

I almost miss the workshop on a busy coastal road in the Ghanaian capital. The faded sign reading Kane Kwei Coffins in block letters sits prominently outside a small structure set between a three-story supermarket and a few ramshackle buildings. Children run around coffins of all shapes and colors: a chili pepper, a cat, a scorpion.

The finished coffins are smooth to the touch, painted in vibrant shades that shine despite the seasonal Harmattan dust coating every surface. Inside the workshop, a group of young apprentices saw grooves into a block of wood that will become a coffin in the shape of a cocoa pod. Founded in the 1950s by Seth Kane Kwei, this is thought to be the oldest coffin shop specializing in abebuu adekai: proverb boxes...