This paper provides an analysis of the concept of vernacular cosmopolitanism as proposed by Pnina Werbner, through an ethnography of a West African system of trade and mobility. The Zongo system in Ghana is present since precolonial and colonial times, depending on the case, and is historically connected with the presence of Muslim trade communities in market areas of various urban settlements. I argue that the actual role of these transnational communities in the Ghanaian sociopolitical landscape goes beyond this common definition. Zongo people elaborate their socio-political position and their historical memory in peculiar ways, revealing both an inherent mode of producing a common group identity and a conscious strategy of inclusion in the contemporary political dynamics of Ghana.
Keywords: Mobility; Identity; Political representation, West Africa.