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In pictures: Ghana's 'masquerade clubs'

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image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionMore than 1,000 people lined the streets to celebrate Easter in Ghana's small port city of Sekondi, which is a key hub for the country's burgeoning oil sector.
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionEach participant wears a specially tailored costume, with the designs for each club kept top secret until their first public showing.
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionAt Christmas there are competitions for the best costumes, music and dancing skills, but at Easter the mood is more relaxed and the rivalry less fierce.
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionThe clubs are an important part of community life, providing a safety net for members who may face financial difficulties from unemployment or funeral costs.
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionThe clubs are open to everyone, whatever their age. Some even offer scholarships for their top students, so that they continue into higher education.
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionTraditional Raffia masks are facing competition from Western-style masks, which some people prefer because they are "scarier".
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionJoshua Boating has designed 400 costumes in the past eight months. But he is not giving himself a break anytime soon. "After Easter I will start working on next year's costumes," he says.
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionThe appropriately named "Oil City" is Sekondi's biggest club, with 750 members. The others are "Yankey", "Spain", "Iron Fighters", "Chinese", "Yanta Boys" and "Justice".
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionThe group's popularity is all down to its head drummer, Steven Abednego Insiadoo. Or so says his sister Richlove: “He's the best drummer in town, everyone wants to be part of his club.”
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionStilt-walkers are highly sought after, giving clubs an easily recognisable mascot for their parades.
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionHere he is again, in an unconventional "between the legs shot".
image copyrightSuzanne Vanhooymissen
image captionWith temperatures up to 35C, many put talcum powder on their faces to stop them sweating too much under their masks.

Related Topics

  • Christmas
  • Christianity
  • Ghana

More on this story

  • Ghana country profile