A Socio-Cultural Enquiry into Chuchuru: the ‘Spirit Child’ Phenomenon among Kasena-Nankana People in the Upper East Region of Ghana (Published)
The Chuchuru (spirit child) is a socio-cultural practice among the Kasena-Nankana people in the Upper East Region of Ghana. The practice is based on the belief that bush spirits take over unborn children whose mothers breach particular taboos during their conception. They are believed to deliberately inflict disabilities on the born child who is given a duty to punish the mother. Such children are forcefully killed to prevent them from bringing untold calamity on their parents and the entire community. A qualitative study with descriptive research method was carried out to investigate into the socio-cultural practice to enlighten the general public on it. The data for the study were collected from a 100 purposively sampled respondents via personal and focus group discussions as well as direct observations. The qualitative data analysis method was used for analyzing the solicited data. The study revealed that the Chuchuru socio-cultural practice is believed to be used by the people in preventing and appeasing the anger of their deities and ancestors. This negative socio-cultural practice results in the high toll of deaths of innocent children with physical abnormalities who could have been saved medically. The study recommends that there should be stringent measures put in place by the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, the Ministry of Health as well as the National Commission on Civic Education to educate the people on the need to shun this inhumane socio-cultural practice while prosecuting culprits of the Chuchuru socio-cultural practice.