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Ghana’s red-hot funerals: Buried in a chilli pepper

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Ghanaians take great pride in making coffins that reflect the life, dreams, passions and status of the dead.

Loved ones believe the dead should get the best possible send-off, with funerals being elaborate affairs.

Journalists Fellipe Abreu and Henrique Hedler visited two Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshops, in the capital Accra and the southern city of Kumasi, to meet the carpenters making custom-made coffins.

The shops are named after Seth Kane Kwei, who some say first designed fantasy coffins in Ghana.

With Ghana being one of the world’s largest cocoa producers, families in rural areas collect and save their hard-earned money to bury the deceased in custom-made cocoa pods.

Coffins like this can cost up to $1,000 (£780) – a huge amount for the farmers, most of whom earn less than $3 a day.

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Generally, the coffin designs reflect the occupation or status of the deceased. In this case “the chilli pepper carries a symbolic meaning that goes well beyond the life of a farmer”, says workshop manager Eric Adjetey, who’s been in the business for 50 years.

The red colour and spiciness represents the personality of that person. “He was hot and temperamental, a person you don’t want to mess around with.

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