Cemeteries Worth a Visit - Simian cemetery, Ghana

By Joy Robinson
This item appears on page 46 of the April 2016 issue.

The most memorable cemetery I have visited is not for humans but for monkeys. It is located within the confines of the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, near the city of Techiman in central Ghana. I visited it in January 2014 as part of a tour with Spiekermann Travel (Eastpointe, MI; 800/645-3233, http://mideasttrvl.com).

The villagers who live in the reserve regard the protected mona and colobus monkeys as reincarnations of their ancestors and revere them as protective spirits. 

When one of the animals dies, it is collected, wrapped in traditional funeral swaddling, given customary libations and buried in a monkey-sized coffin. In the cemetery, each monkey has a marker identifying it by type, sex and date of burial. 

Certain people considered to have special powers of communication with the animals, known as guardians, are buried there as well. 


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