The “Craft Of Bruising” And Azumah "Ring Professor" Nelson: A Social History Of Ghanaian Boxing


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This work study’s how Ghanaian boxing emerged from both indigenous and foreign (British) inventiveness, and examines boxing’s social meaning and impact within the colonial and postcolonial milieux of popular culture in Ghana. On that trajectory, this work reconsiders the prevailing conception of boxing as adversative to ‘enlightened’ human culture, by rationalising it as a positive formulator of individual and national identities. The study examines the reasons for the strong gravitation of Ga-Mashie, an ethnic group in Ghana, to boxing, and presents a biography about the International Boxing Hall of Fame legend Azumah Nelson, who is a member of Ga Mashie, to show how a boxer with ‘ghetto’ beginnings used the sport to significantly shape the history and form of Ghana’s popular culture, transcend social obscurity to affluence, and internationalise Ghana. This work contributes to the scholarly discourse on identity formation and social empowerment through the popular culture of sports.