WATCH: Meet the deer hunters of Ghana

2018-11-08 18:00
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The Aboakyer festival takes place annually in May in the Ghanaian town of Winneba. The traditional hunt sees a group of Ghanaian hunters sacrifice a deer in celebration of the migration of the local people from Timbuktu hundreds of years ago. 

Okay, so they're not necessarily sacrificing a deer, but rather an animal that's a type of African bushbuck. 

The ritual initially involved a human sacrifice that was offered up to the deity of the town before being replaced by a live buck.

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The locals gather in anticipation as they make their way off to the bush to witness the hunting groups in action. The hunters are clad in traditional wear and some paint their bodies with coloured clay - it holds a spiritual meaning but also shows which of the Asafo groups a person belongs to. 

Once in the bush, the crowd breaks off into smaller groups. The hunters then, in their smaller clusters, venture out into different parts of the bush to find a buck.

If one of the groups find one, they will then shout to alert the others of their discovery. 

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The buck then jumps into action to retreat and the hunters chase and capture it - with only their bare hands as no weapons are used in the hunt.

The ritualistic hunt can take hours - especially if there is trouble finding a buck, which locals say is a bad omen.

However, once the hunters have caught a buck, they parade in high spirits to the town chief with the live buck hoisted over the shoulders of one of the men. The town celebrates with dancing to the beat of live drums and the locals are all dressed to impress in traditional garb. 

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The success of the tradition and festival means that the town is set to be blessed with bountiful rains and food produce for the coming year. 

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