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Fantasy Coffins

(I swear to God, this is a coffin in the shape of a uterus.)

Even Ghana’s director of tourism may have to admit that Accra has its work cut out competing with other tourist destinations in Africa. Yet just outside the capital, is the suburb of Teshi and it is here that tourists are coming to look at a relatively new tradition – the fantasy coffin makers.

Drive slowly down the main high street in Teshi, Eastern Accra, and you would probably glance at showrooms and wonder why anyone would want to exhibit a large red fish, or an oversized hammer.

It is as if you have arrived at some strange storage area for a local drama group or even film set. But, further into town, you will see another couple of “film set” workshops, and another, and goodness, is that really an aeroplane?

On closer inspection each of these objects turns out to be a wooden casket highly crafted and lovingly finished to transport the newly deceased on their journey to the afterlife.

Isaac Adjetey Sowah is the manager of the family business his grandfather started. And at only 22 he has seen it all and he has made it all. Coffins crafted as hammers, fish, cars, mobile phones, hens, roosters, leopards, lions, canoes, cocoa beans and several elephants. It seems there is nothing Isaac’s company would not consider…

Published in researchmaterial


  1. A coffin in the shape of a uterus… for people who bought round-trip tickets, presumably?

  2. I’ve seen some of these before, and wonder if the tradition is related to that of burying the dead in coffins that remind the people in the (often quite long and fancy) procession of the deceased’s occupation or tendencies in life. A fisherman buried in a fish, a knitter in a basket of yarn, a delivery doctor buried in a womb?

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