This is a fun, cumulative story colorfully illustrated through paper collage. There is also an endnote that gives a general explanation of bride-price and the role of cowries as currency in Africa.
|Photo Credit: Thalo Porter Tempest|
Of all the currency in history, cowrie shells have been used the longest. Initially used in China over four thousand years ago, cowries were used in Africa as currency for centuries until the mid 1900s. Originally, they were so valuable in Africa that two cowries would be enough for a bride-price. When western traders recognized the value of cowry shells in Africa, they flooded the market with them. By the end of the 1800s, a cowry bride-price required 100,000 shells.
|Photo Credit: Carsten ten Brink|
|Ghanaian currency Cedi|
Photo Credit: Bill Maurer for IMTFI
A 'Cedi' coin is the unit of currency in Ghana. The word 'Cedi' is derived from the Twi word for cowry shell ('cediee'). Because the shells were used in the past, Ghana's first president, Nkrumah, adopted the name of the currency after Ghana's independence.