A Siano is a long time resident of the city of Kumasi. That, everyone can agree on. But then, there are some stereotypes that other Ghanaians associate Sianos with, that may or may not be true. Out of these stereotypes, we have selected 15 that are undeniably true. They may not all necessarily apply to a single person, but anybody who identifies with all or most of the following is Siano and proud, and there is no going back.
You eat fufu at least once a week
Real Sianos love a big bowl of fufu. And if they miss their weekly quota for any reason, it’s not farfetched at all to double it the following week. Busy modern life may sometimes make it hard to keep the fufu coming on a regular basis. But when the fufu comes, it’s a joyful reunion.
You have more than one relative living in Germany and/or UK
Sianos love seeking greener pastures. Not because our pasture isn’t really green or anything. I guess it’s just this wanderlust, this innate desire to conquer lands foreign. Whatever the reason, you can’t really be a Siano if you don’t have a burgher in your family somewhere, be it Germany or other top favourites UK, Holland and US. Or just maybe, you are the burgher.
No matter your LAFA* levels when outside, it’s all about Twi when you’re at home
Sianos speak Twi at home. That’s just how we do. This is not to support the common misconception that Sianos are bad at English. Generally, Ghanaians are bad at English when they don’t go far in school. Kumasi just happens to have a lot of such folks in visible places. Of course, regular speaking of English improves eloquence. However we’ll do the regular speaking of English when we’re not at home. Because when we are, it’s all about the mother tongue. Moate anaa? Yedaase paa.
*LAFA: Locally Acquired Foreign Accent
You have a ‘house name’ – a traditional name you are called at home that is different from what you are known as outside
Ghanaians have a penchant for giving their kids fancy English names in addition to their traditional names. This owes in no small part to the British colonization of Ghana and the inevitable subsequent Western influence. So you could be Eva Longoria or Jayden Smith when you’re in school, but when you come home, it’s Maame Serwaa or Nana Kwame.
You or your father is a diehard Asante Kotoko supporter
It’s pretty much a given that a Siano is a Kotoko fan. Even if like me, you’re not a soccer fan, you’re a Kotoko fan by default. But then we have the diehard fans, true supporters of the team who love Kotoko so much it starts to get scary. They occur in almost every Siano household.
You don’t mind dating other tribes but feel nervous when introducing them to your parents
No matter how modernized society gets, inter-tribal dating remains a thorny issue not only in Kumasi but all over the world. We young people, however, like to overlook these unexplained rules, and date whoever we love. And it usually goes smoothly till you have to introduce your love to the family. That’s when you discover whether you come from an open-minded family or a borderline bigoted one.
If you stay at home on Saturday, it’s not because there was no funeral to attend. In fact, there were probably three
The Book of Ecclesiastes says, ‘The end of a matter is better than its beginning’, and ‘the day of death better than the day of birth.’ This has led many to wonder if indeed the writer, King Solomon, wasn’t really a Siano. Sianos regard funerals highly, thus funerals are rampant in Kumasi especially on Saturdays and Sundays. You should think nothing of your favourite route home being closed just so tents for a funeral can be set up in the streets.
You rarely call your parents Mom and Dad, though you’ve stored them as such on your phone
If you’ve actually saved them as Mama and Dada, then clap for yourself, because you are a true Siano indeed.
You haven’t been to the beach more than twice in your life (Lake doesn’t count)
For a classic Siano, Lake Bosomtwe is your beach. Other than that, you might make the trip to Accra or Cape Coast a few times just so you can shut people up when they claim you have never seen the sea. What’s the big deal anyway, it’s just sand and water. Okay, the shells are awesome, but still.
You probably went to boarding school right in Ashanti region
If you didn’t, that was the first time you were staying for more than a week outside the region. The mothership of the Siano is Kumasi. Unless there is an opportunity to seek greener pastures outside the country, as discussed earlier, there usually isn’t much of a reason for the Siano to go traipsing in other cities.
Won’t buy ice cream more than 5 cedis a scoop
I once bought a scoop of ice cream at Arlecchino’s, on Oxford Street in Accra, for GHC 6. I still question that decision to this day. What baffles me is that when the dude told me a scoop was GHC 6, he went ahead and asked, ‘How many?’ How many?? Well clearly you don’t serve half a scoop because that’s how many I would have bought. However, I can assure you, if there is a woman to be impressed, then the behaviour of a Siano around ice cream is not easily predicted.
You know how to khua –Art of the silver tongue
Sianos are blessed with a silver tongue. Unless you’re in a store with price stickers, every price is subject to bargaining in Kumasi. So if you’re going to get the best deal, you’d better know how to talk. That’s what we call khua. Khua applies to everything else – getting out of tough situations, proposing, etc.
Wo ‘R’ ne wo ‘L’ enye (Eno ne wo plobrem)
I really shouldn’t be encouraging this stereotype, because it is the most persistent and annoying one of all that people tag Sianos with. But then, there’s some truth to it. Mixing up your r’s and l’s is a side effect of majoring in some languages. As some of you know, the Chinese and Japanese have a similar issue. Because of the linguistic nature of the Kwa languages, of which Twi is part, r’s and l’s can be interchanged without affecting meaning so much. Thus, this laxity is sometimes carried over unwittingly into English. Hey, these things happen. But everyone can agree that it’s really hilarious when it does.
Great sense of humour but low tolerance for nonsense
This one seems contradictory but it’s true. Sianos love to laugh (just don’t ask us to pay huge sums to see comedians, because we probably won’t). However if a Siano thinks you’re playing too much of the fool, especially in a situation that doesn’t require humour, you would quickly lose their respect. This one is truer for Siano ladies. Don’t try to impress her with your ‘sophisticated American humour.’ It doesn’t work often. Believe me, I’ve tried.
And last, but most certainly not least…
There’s plantain planted in your backyard right now
For some hilariously weird reason, every single Siano plants plantain and sometimes banana around their house, even before the building is completed. Think I’m lying? Check your own backyard if you’re in Kumasi. Then check your neighbour’s. It could be because plantain is a key ingredient of fufu, but then so is cassava, and yet it’s not half as common. The botanists among us, please provide us an answer to the Plantain Mystery.
These were 15 of the truest stereotypes of the quintessential Siano. Did I leave any out? Drop it in the comments. Sianos rock forever.