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Examples of Asafo company flags (Fante people, Ghana)

Last modified: 2005-04-16 by
Keywords: canton: union jack | asafo | company | nº1 | road close | rooster | hen | car | tree | dead | elephant | crab | checkers | dragon | nº2 | rainbow | gong | bell | key(white) | padlock | lion | hen | star: 8 points (white) | shark | nº3 |
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“Game of Checkers” company flag

[Game of Checkers]
by Ivan Sarajčić, 06 Jan 2000 | (73×136 cm)

An abstract flag with a Union Jack in the canton. The border contains narrow Black and White fields, which makes the static patterns moving somehow. The chessboard is a secret code for a scene in which two opponents play a startegic boardgame. Like the African Oware-game the Game of Checkers is a metaphore for war. Images of checkers-players are known in the Asafo iconography. The way the Union Jack is made points at the same maker as flags 23-25 and 72.
Jarig Bakker, 06 Jan 2000, quoting [gru95]

“Dragon” company flag

by Ivan Sarajčić, 06 Jan 2000 | (96×165 cm)

This dragon is a remarkable formal representation of the proverb: "He can fly and penetrate the earth, he can go whereever he wants to go." Wings and arrow-pointed tail point at his exceptional capabilities. As a total figure the Dragon has been turned towards the left; the way in which wings and legs are related look like two figures, who travel in the opposite direction than the Dragon. So: a-a watch it!: the Dragon can travel in any direction!
Jarig Bakker, 06 Jan 2000, quoting [gru95]

“Three gong-gongs” company flag

[Three gong-gongs]
by Ivan Sarajčić, 07 Jan 2000 | (104×136 cm) [sinister]

Three gong-gongs as symbol for the state of alarm of the company is combined on this flag with the image of a Posuban-shrine, from which a rainbow ascends. This rainbow is a symbol for death, for like the rainbow folds itself around someone's neck, so is death the fate which threatens us all. The company underlines with this symbol the deadly danger it presents to its enemies.
Jarig Bakker, 07 Jan 2000, quoting [gru95]

“Woman worriers” company flag

[Woman worriers]
by Ivan Sarajčić, 06 Jan 2000 | (88×145 cm)

A big man evades frightened a group of armed women. The scene illustrates the power of a company by the revelation of force of its weakest members: the women: «When even our women have been prepared for war, what are our men capable of?» This theme is not uncommon; it is to be found equally on flags and Posuban-shrines. Stylistically this flag is related to those from the workshop of Ekotsi; there are some differences in the proportioning and the Union Jack has been depicted differently.
Jarig Bakker, 04 Jan 2000, quoting [gru95]

“Posuban-shrine with Rainbow” company flag

[Posuban-shrine with Rainbow]
by Ivan Sarajčić, 06 Jan 2000

Most flags of of the Asafo-companies can easily be handled by a flag-dancer (Frankaatunyi or Frankaakitsanyi) during a festival or a ceremony with a spectacular dance-performance. Very few flags are so big that they have to be escorted by many men, or to be presented at a company-post (Aban or Posuban). This is one of the last: In the lower half to the hoist is the company number, the Lion and the cock. On top of that a rainbow arising from a Posuban. Quite remarkable is that the posuban literally jumps out of the flag... The rainbow reaches into the right (black) half. In the center of that field one observes the symbol, which is most powerful among the Akan-people: Key and Lock ("We are Lock and Key of the State" — we are in control of the state). The eight-pointed star Nsoromma completes the claim of control: starlight is seen as light emanating from the Gods.
Jarig Bakker, 04 Jan 2000, quoting [gru95]

“Scales of the dead” company flag

[Scales of the dead]
by Ivan Sarajčić, 04 Jan 2000 | (81×129 cm)

Weighing always implies comparison. When the Sahohen puts a fallen warrior on a scale, he evokes revenge, for «no head weighs as much like the one on the scales: the losses on your own side always weigh the heaviest.» The whole background of this flag was restored with the same tissue as the old silk, which had been used until it was worn out.
Jarig Bakker, 04 Jan 2000, quoting [gru95]

The warrior on the left holds the scales in his left hand; the scales consist of thin white lines: top a horizontal line, from which depend two pyramides, left and right, which both and in disks with three concentric circles. Between the pyramids are small yellow objects. The bottom foot of the fallen warrior is on top of some yellow objects.
Thanh-Tâm Lê, 04 Jan 2000

“Tree and hens” company flag

[Scales of the dead]
by Ivan Sarajčić, 04 Jan 2000 | (99×138 cm)

A man climbs a tree. The elders of the Fante say, when they see the image of a man climbing a tree: «When a deceiving man tells you to climb a tree, you have to tell him to climb it first. If he finds a comfotable spot you can follow him». The proverb warns for deceit and admonishes the company to healthy distruct regarding rival companies. When you look at the birds as well you can learn a message: «When a hen stays too long in a house it becomes red (because of dust and earth)».
Jarig Bakker, 04 Jan 2000, quoting [gru95]

1st figure on the left: white with Sampras-style short red trowsers; 2nd figure: white with red stick (sword?) tree has red papayas between first and second leaf left and right and on the ground right of the tree; small man (or monkey?) is climbing the tree.
Thanh-Tâm Lê, 04 Jan 2000

“Shark Nº3” company flag

[Shark nº3]
by António Martins, May 2004

I am an avid collector of Fante Asafo flags from Ghana. I have one with a basking shark image, which does not exist off the coast of Ghana: The flag is quite simple, but it is also quite large and if that isnʼt a Basking Shark I canʼt imagine what it is. (I have one other flag that uses a shark as a symbol but it is just a regular shark — eating a rival company member, of course!)
Steve Messick, 08 Jan 2002

The drawing is pretty stylized, as should be, flagwise, but it looks like a Rhincodon typus (the fins are not entirely correct, though: thereʼs a ventral fin missing, right below the second dorsal fin; also, the first dorsal should be noticeably larger than is shown on the flag — but its a good approximation).
Jorge Candeias, 09 Jan 2002

Taysec company flag

by Dov Gutterman, 27 May 2002

To create the Taysec “Asafo Company Nº1” flag, the flag makers of the Fante Region have taken the Taysec corporate logo and translated it within the context of the art of the Asafo warrior tradition. The lion represents the strongest animal — the king of the jungle — and, as such, the great protector. The Asafo company protects its interests and the interests of those dependent upon it. The two teams of four fishermen drawing in the drag-net symbolise the power of pulling together, as reflected in Ghanaʼs Independence maxim, «Strength in Unity», and in Taylor Woodrowʼs strong team culture. The drag-net has turned up a catch of technological images to signifying the ability of the company to catch the biggest prize and overcome its rivals. The split Ghana and Union flags refer to Taysecʼs Anglo-Ghanaian origins and the strong partnership between Britain and Ghana.
Dov Gutterman, 27 May 2002,
quoting from

“Elephant and crab” company flag

[Elephant and crab]
by Thanh-Tâm Lê, 28 Dec 1999

“Highway patrol” company flag

[Highway patrol]
by Jarig Bakker, 04 Jan 2000

“Road Close” company flag

This flag is hard to describe, but here goes: a colourful fringed flag with a Union Jack in the canton. Part of the border is fringed with an unusual green and white geometrical pattern. There is a large human? figure below the Union Jack, gesturing? at a gate? with a padlock? Behind the gate is another figure by a car. Above the gate in a black field are the words in white capitals ROAD CLOSE.
David Cohen, 21 Jun 1998

“Nº1” company flag

This flag was yellow in color, with white fringe around 3 sides. In the left corner was a sort of Union Jack... however, this UJ had no blue, only the white spaces where the St. Andrew should be, with a red St. Georgeʼs cross, as it should be. The red was faded and sort of look pink. In the field there was a representation of a Rooster in black with the crown (?) on top of in red (faded to pink). In the lower right fly was the number, in white, "No.1". The "No.1" was sewen on both sides of the flag to read correctly.
Steve Stringfellow, 10 Aug 1998

The "Nº1" reefers to the company number and the rooster or “Clock bird” is a symbol of authority and power, i.e., he is the one who decides when things are done.
James Ferrigan, 10 Aug 1998