The term “Zongo” emanates from the Hausa word Zango, which means a “temporary settlement” or a “traveller’s stop-over”. The word was initially used to describe the outskirts of towns in southern Ghana and other parts of West Africa, where northern traders, most of whom were Hausa-speaking people from present-day Northern Nigeria, would stop over and trade with locals and other itinerant and seasonal traders from elsewhere in Ghana and beyond.
Today, Zongos are common in both northern and southern Ghana and there are people whose genealogies are rooted in the Zongo for generations, and, thus, best described as permanent residents.
According to the defunct Ministry of Inner-City and Zongo Development, there were over 1,080 Zongo communities in Ghana as of 2018 and estimates indicate that there are 4.6 million people living in these communities across the country. Regularly, new Zongo settlements emerge with recognised leadership structures headed by chiefs.
Zongo Media is embarking on a project to compile data on all Zongo communities in Ghana. Join us in this important venture by clicking the link below to share your information.