Vol. 32 No. 1 (2023): Nordic Journal of African Studies
General articles

Youth and Social Navigation in the Alavanyo and Nkonya Land Conflict in Ghana

Joshua Awienagua Gariba
University of Ghana
NJAS Journal Cover

Published 2023-03-31


  • youth,
  • social navigation,
  • land conflict,
  • Alavanyo-Nkonya,
  • Ghana

How to Cite

Gariba, J. A. (2023). Youth and Social Navigation in the Alavanyo and Nkonya Land Conflict in Ghana. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 32(1), 50–65. https://doi.org/10.53228/njas.v32i1.895


This article examines the agency of youth in Alavanyo and Nkonya, and how they navigate the social, economic, and political difficulties of life in the context of an ongoing land conflict dating back to the early 1900s. In Ghana, because land is the basis of economic potential, spirituality, identity, history, rootedness, and belonging for groups and individuals, it has become a major contested entity, producing many intractable conflicts. In Alavanyo and Nkonya, the youth who are at the centre of the conflict have had their futures made opaque and truncated by many challenging situations. Over the years, traditional dispute resolution approaches led by chiefs, court rulings, and mediation committees set up by the state of Ghana, as well as by the UNDP, aimed at resolving the land conflict, have all been unsuccessful. This context has pushed the youth to develop a process of social navigation through farming, illegal marijuana cultivation, illicit timber logging, and the okada transport business to cope with the challenges of everyday life. The article contends that, while the area has lands that are fertile for agrarian activities, the youth are unable to harness the potential of the land because of the ongoing conflict.