Northern Factors in Asante History

Emmanuel Akyeampong

Interviews

Salagawura Kanyiti Osman Fusheini, Chief of Salaga

Date: July 1, 2004
The Salawura Osman Fusheini was enskinned as Salagawura in 1983. Beginning as a strangers' settlement, Salaga is now the chief town in Eastern Gonja. It was famous as a market in the precolonial times. Present during the interview were two Salaga residents Kassampuwura Mumini and Baba Ibrahim.

Kpembiwura Alhaji Ibrahim Haruna, Paramount Chief of Kpembe

Date: July 4, 2004
Alhaji Haruna is the paramount Chief of Kpembe, the Gonja Division with the famous market town of Salaga in precolonial times. He was interviewed in the presence of two of his sub-chiefs, the chief of Salaga and the chief of Mobu (the indigenes), who made contributions to the interview.

Alhaji Muniru Marhaba, Imam of the Wangara Community of Ghana

Date: February 12, 2006
Alhaji Muniru Marhaba has been the Imam of the Wangara community since 1975. His father was the Imam of the Wangara community before him. He teaches, leads prayer, preaches and settles disputes among the Wanagara. He is also custodian of the Marhaba Mosque, set up in 1953.

Alhaji Abdullah Muhammad, Proprietor and Headmaster, Fawziya Islamic School

Date: February 12, 2006
The Fawziya Islamic School is Quranic School in Nima, Accra, started 20 years ago (c. 1986) to teach children the principles of Islamic religion. It is co-ed institution. With 180 children aged between 4 and 13 years. Classes are held during week - ends during the regular school year and children obtain their formal education elsewhere.

Nana Asare Ababio II, Asantehene Nsumankwaa Mmammahene

Date: February 24, 2006
The Nsumankwaa division harnesses and coordinates all forms of spiritual powers within Asante for the health and well being of the King of Asante and the State. It is headed currently by the Nsumankwaahene, Baffour Domfe Gyeabuor III, whose deputy is Nana Asare Ababio II.

Alhaji Abdul Mumin Harun, Asantehene's Kramo or Imam

Date: February 25, 2006
The function of the Asantehene's Kramo has been played by prominent Muslims since the time of Asantehene Osei Kwame, who first brought Muslims in a significant way to Kumasi in the mid-eighteenth Century.

Khalifa Ustaz Kaamil Amin Ibn Sa'id, Hujjat-ul-Islam

Date: February 25, 2006
Khalifa Ustaz Kaamil Amin Ibn Sa'id is the leading Islamic scholar in Ashanti Region today. He carries the title of Hujjat-ul-Islam and is successor to Shayk Baba al-Waiz, who was one of the "Big Eleven" in Islamic scholarship in Ashanti and Founder of the Wataniya Islamic School at Aboabo, Kumasi.

Nana Kwame Kyeretwie, Apagyahene

Date: February 26, 2006
The Apagya stool is seen as one of the "sons" of the Asantehene together with other stools such as Akyempem and Atipim. The current Apagyahene, Nana Kwame Kyeretwie is an Oxford-trained anthropologist.

Nana Kofi Bosiako Genfi I, Pinkyendomkohene of Asante

Date: February 26, 2006
The Pinkyendomkohene was the Asantehene's recce commander, who was in charge of troops that were sent on reconnaissance missions. The stool or office was first created in Akwamu, but was confirmed by the first Asantehene Osei Tutu. The Stool falls under the Gyase or Palace Division.

Nana Boakye Ansah Debrah, Asokore Mamponghene

Date: February 26, 2006
A trained architect, Nana Boakye Ansah Debrah offers an interesting perspective on Asante religion and his own religious beliefs or lack thereof. As Asokore Mamponghene, he is the custodian of one of the most revered shrines in Asante, Osei Tutu Nyamekesee.

Baffour Domfe Gyeabuor III, Asantehene's Nsumankwaahene

Date: February 27, 2006
Baffour Domfe Gyeabuor III is in charge of all deities in Asante since all deities in the land technically belong to the King. All indigenous priests and priestesses, herbalists and Muslim diviners (Malams) have to register with the Asantehene’s Nsumankwaahene before they can practice in Asante.

Nana Badu, Abusua Panin (family head ) and Obaa Panin (senior woman) of Mpra Fie.

Date: February 27, 2006
Obaa Panin and Abusua Panin Nana Badu is head of Mpra Fie or "House" in Mampong. She was interviewed in her family house in Kumasi. Mpra is perhaps the most powerful shrine in Mampong, closely connected to the founding of Mampong. Mampong lay closest to the northern savanna with its Muslim polities in the pre-colonial era. Muslim influences entered Mampong in the 18th century. Muslims will marry into Mpra Fie, and the Asantehene's Kramo is Nana Badu's nephew.

Akosua Sekina Nsiah Boakyewaa, Asante Ahmadiyya, and family

Date: March 19, 2006
Akosua Sekina and her husband were among the first generation of Asante to convert to the Ahmadiyya faith of Islam in the 1950s when Ahmadi Missionaries first came to Ghana. Aged over 120 years, she was interviewed surrounded by her children and grandchildren, many of whom are also Ahmadiyya Muslims.

Nana Asuako Pepra (Kronkohene of Mampong), Nana Owusu Brempon Sarpong (Amaniehene of Mampong), Nana Afrifa Nsiah (Nsumankwaahene of Mampong)

Date: March 19, 2006
Three of the high-ranking chiefs in the Asante state of Mampong. Interview covered the history of Mampong, genealogy of Mampong Kings, the role of the office of the Mampong Nsumankwahene, and Islamic influences in Mampong.

Chief Fanyinama III, Head of the Wangara Community in Ghana

Date: March 21, 2006
Chief Fanyinama III is the Head of all Wangaras in Ghana. Kintampo represents the Spiritual home of the Wangara in Ghana. Historically, the Wangara are among the earliest residents of Kintampo. Kintampo is claimed by the rival states of Mo and Nkoranza. In this context, the Fanyinama of Kintampo has traditionally exercised much influence in Kintampo.

Opanyin Kwabena Buor, Abusua Panin (Family Head) of Boahen Anantuo family of Mampong

Date: April 23, 2006
Opanin Kwabene Buor is head of the Boahen Amantuo family. Boahen Amantuo was one of the earliest Mampong kings who led Mampong in Asante wars against Dormaa and Denkyira. Opanin Buor is also the ex-Abakomahene of Mampong.

Okyeame Banahene, Akyeamehene (Chief Spokesman) to Asantehene

Date: April 24, 2006
Born around 1925, Nana Banahene's life has been one of service to the Golden Stool. He was taken to serve at Manhyia Palace as a boy in the early years of Asantehene Prempeh II's reign. He fought in World War II, and returned to be made an Okyeame (spokesperson) to the king in 1949. He is now the most senior Okyeame to the King of Asante. In this interview he talks about power in Asante, Colonial rule, and his life of service.

Archbishop Peter Akwasi Sarpong, Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi

Date: June 15, 2006
Archbishop Sarpong is the Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi. A trained anthropologist with a Ph.D. from Oxford, he has been at the forefront of indigenizing Catholicism in Asante. In this interview, he reflects on how living out his childhood in a rural Asante household with his father and two uncles who followed different faiths -- Asante, Christian and Muslim religions – served as a model of religious co-existence in his latter life.

Pastor Mensa Otabil, Supervisor of International Central Gospel Church and Chancellor of Central University

Date: July 12, 2006
A charismatic teacher of the Bible and founder of the International Central Gospel Church and Central University, Pastor Otabil is one of the most respected Christian leaders in Ghana and a gifted motivational speaker. In this interview he shares his knowledge on the history of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches in Ghana and reflects on the current religious co-existence and the future of religious tolerance.

Alhaji Asoma Banda, Businessman

Date: July 25, 2006
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Antrak Transport - Airlines, shipping and trucking, Alhaji Asoma Banda is one of the most successful businessmen in Ghana and a devout Muslim who built at his own expense a beautiful mosque at the cost of US $ one million for public use at the exclusive Airport Residential Area.

Akonnedi Shrine Elders Nana Osofo Abradu II, Nana Osofo Fianko, Nana Aboagye, Abusua Panin Kofi Dankwa, Panin Arye Kwabena, Okyeame Odame Kwasi, and Kwadwo Fianko

Date: July 8, 2008
Located in the hill town of Larteh, Akuapem, Akonnedi is one of the pre-eminent shrines in Ghana, even patronized by the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. Its late priestess, Nana Oparebea, was instrumental in demystifying the shrine and bringing it into the public space in the early years of independence and cultural nationalism. Discussion includes the history of Akonnedi Shrine, indigenous religion, and religious pluralism.

Nana Kwame Owusu-Agyeman I (Antoahene), Chief of Antoa. Present, Nana Kwaku Tutu, senior counselor, priestly family for Antoa deity (Antoa Anyaman).

Date: July 12, 2008
Antoa is an Asante town famous for its river deity, Antoa Anyaman Bosom. Reputed for meting out instant justice, Antoa Anyaman has gained wide use across Ghana as an oathing deity. Once the deity’s oath is sworn, disputants in a case must present themselves at the shrine house of the deity for arbitration and rituals to release the disputants from the deity's oath. The large patronage on the day of our attendance underscores the continued vitality of indigenous religion.

Nana Baffour Amisare II (Tano Oboasehene – Chief of Tano Oboase). Present: Nana Adomako Akyeampong (Nifahene), Tano Komfo (shrine priest) Oppong Kyekyeku, Linguist Nana Yaw Boadi, and tour guide Osei Tano Brempong

Date: July 15, 2008
Tano was perhaps the most important deity in precolonial Asante. Associated with the River Tano, which takes its source in the Brong Ahafo region and runs south into the Atlantic Ocean, the Tano Shrine at Oboase is the head of several Tano Shrines found in Ghana. Includes the history of Tano Oboase, Tano Shrine, indigenous religion, and religious pluralism.

Okomfoo (priestess) Ataa, Priestess to Asuo Gyebi (Diety). Present: linguist and secretary Nana Ata Panin.

Date: July 27, 2008
Okomfoo Ataa served her apprenticeship as a priestess at Akonnedi in Larteh, Akuapem. In her seventies, she is one of the most knowledgeable persons about Akonnedi and Asuo Gyebi, two deities with their origins or location in Larteh. The interview underscores the mobility of deities and their ability to gain converts beyond their localities. Includes histories of Akonnedi and Asuo Gyebi Shrines, and indigenous religion .

Images

Alhaji Muniru Marhaba, Imam of the Wangara Community of Ghana (2)

Alhaji Muniru Marhaba, Imam of the Wangara Community of Ghana (2)

Date: 2006
Alhaji Muniru Marhaba has been the Imam of the Wangara community since 1975. His father was the Imam of the Wangara community before him. He teaches, leads prayer, preaches and settles disputes among the Wangara. He is also custodian of the Marhaba Mosque, set up in 1953.
Alhaji Abdullah Muhammad, Principal  Fawziya Islamic School, Nima, Accra

Alhaji Abdullah Muhammad, Principal Fawziya Islamic School, Nima, Accra

Date: 2006
The Fawziya Islamic School is Quranic School in Nima, Accra, started 20 years ago (c. 1986) to teach children the principles of Islamic religion. It is a co-ed institution with 180 children aged between 4 and 13 years. Classes are held during weekends during the regular school year and children obtain their formal education elsewhere.
Alhaji Muniru Marhaba, Imam of the Wangara Community of Ghana (1)

Alhaji Muniru Marhaba, Imam of the Wangara Community of Ghana (1)

Date: 2006
Alhaji Muniru Marhaba has been the Imam of the Wangara community since 1975. His father was the Imam of the Wangara community before him. He teaches, leads prayer, preaches and settles disputes among the Wangara. He is also custodian of the Marhaba Mosque, set up in 1953.
Ferry on Volta River at Makango Port in eastern Gonja

Ferry on Volta River at Makango Port in eastern Gonja

Date: 2006
The Volta River separated Gonja from Asante, and the king of Asante in precolonial times declared Salaga as the final stop for northern traders. A ferry service now connects eastern Gonja on the northern shore of the Volta at Makango with Yeji on the southern shore of the Volta and Asante.
Sign indicating historic site of Salaga Slave Market

Sign indicating historic site of Salaga Slave Market

Date: 2006
Sign indicating location of Salaga market in the precolonial times. Salaga was the largest internal slave market in the Gold Coast in the precolonial times.
Alhaji Abdul Mumin Harun, Imam to King of Asante (Asantehene)

Alhaji Abdul Mumin Harun, Imam to King of Asante (Asantehene)

Date: 2006
The function of the Asantehene's Kramo (Imam) has been played by prominent Muslims since the time of Asantehene Osei Kwame in the 1770s, who first brought Muslims in a significant way to Kumasi in the mid-eighteenth century.
Alhaji Abdul Mumin Harun, Imam to King of Asante (Asantehene)

Alhaji Abdul Mumin Harun, Imam to King of Asante (Asantehene)

Date: 2006
The function of the Asantehene's Kramo (Imam) has been played by prominent Muslims since the time of Asantehene Osei Kwame in the 1770s, who first brought Muslims in a significant way to Kumasi in the mid-eighteenth century.
Old Quran in the family of Fanyinama III, Chief of the Wangara Community

Old Quran in the family of Fanyinama III, Chief of the Wangara Community

Date: 2006
The Wangara are Muslim and played a major role in the extension of Islam in precolonial Asante. They are also at the center of early Islamic scholarship in precolonial Ghana. This Quran is one of the oldest held by the family of the Fanyinama of the Wangara community.
Chief Fanyinama III, head of the Wangara Community in Ghana

Chief Fanyinama III, head of the Wangara Community in Ghana

Date: 2006
Fanyinama III (red top) and Elders. The Wangara represent the first trading diaspora from the Mande world that accessed the Akan forest in search of gold and kola nuts. Among the earliest residents of Salaga, the Wangara relocated to Kintampo when Salaga overthrew Asante role in the late 19th century. With Asante backing, Kintampo became an important trading town and the key interior market for Asante kola.
Khalifa Ustaz Kaamil Amin (Authority or Master on Islam)

Khalifa Ustaz Kaamil Amin (Authority or Master on Islam)

Date: 2006
Khalifa Ustaz Kaamil Amin ibn Sa'id (in white) is the leading Islamic scholar in Ashanti Region today. He carries the title of "Hujjat-ul-Islam" (Authority or Master on Islam) and is successor to Shaykh Baba Al Waiz.
Tijaniyya Mosque at Aboabo

Tijaniyya Mosque at Aboabo

Date: 2006
A prominent Tijaniyya Mosque in Aboabo, a zongo (strangers' quarter) in Kumasi with heavy northern/Muslim settlement. The spread of Tijaniyya in Ghana on a large scale has been a twentieth-century phenomenon.
Slave wells at entrance of Salaga town

Slave wells at entrance of Salaga town

Date: 2006
Salaga was the largest internal slave market in the Gold Coast in the precolonial era. Slaves after the long trek from northern markets and homes were dirty and dusty on arrival in this savannah town. They were washed with water from wells at the entrance of Salaga, dug for that very purpose. Salaga remains notorious for water scarcity.
Shaykh Baba Al Waiz, Founder of Wataniya Islamic School, Aboabo, Kumasi

Shaykh Baba Al Waiz, Founder of Wataniya Islamic School, Aboabo, Kumasi

Date: 2006
Shaykh Baba Al Waiz (1915/16-1982) has been described as one of the "Big Eleven" in Islamic scholarship in Ashanti. He was the sarkin zongo (zongo chief) in Kumasi, and was one of Ibrahim Niass' early associates in Kumasi in the latter's trip to Ghana and Nigeria in the 1940s and 1950s. Ibrahim Niass was the founder of a branch of the Tijaniyya Brotherhood in Senegal and he would strengthen the Tijaniyya presence in Kumasi. Shaykh Al Waiz was the founder of the Wataniya Islamic School in Aboabo, Kumasi.
Kpembiwura Alhaji Ibrahim Haruna, chief of Kpembe and overlord of Salaga

Kpembiwura Alhaji Ibrahim Haruna, chief of Kpembe and overlord of Salaga

Date: 2006
Kpembiwura Alhaji Ibrahim Haruna is chief of Kpembe and overlord of Salaga town. Kpembi town, the royal town of Kpembe division in the Gonja state, is the residence of the Kpembiwura and about two miles from Salaga.
Kpembiwura Alhaji Ibrahim Haruna, his elders and Professor E. Akyeampong

Kpembiwura Alhaji Ibrahim Haruna, his elders and Professor E. Akyeampong

Date: 2006
Kpembiwura with female elder of palace and two sub-chiefs, the Mobuwura (blue and white cap) and the Salagawura (chief of Salaga in black cap). Though Salaga is in the Gonja State, chiefs of Salaga have traditionally been Hausa, appointed by and responsible to the Kpembiwura. The present chief of Salaga is Kanyiti Mahama Osman Fusheini.
Rocks in Volta River at old Kete

Rocks in Volta River at old Kete

Date: 2008
Rocks in Volta River marking approximate site of Old Dente Shrine. Dente has an affinity for rocks and his new location is also in a rocky setting.
Landing site at new Kete

Landing site at new Kete

Date: 2008
The landing site on the Volta Lake in new Kete after the abandonment of old Kete due to flooding from the Volta Lake.
Section of old Kete reclaimed by Bush

Section of old Kete reclaimed by Bush

Date: 2008
Abandoned site of old Kete, an important market town in the precolonial and colonial era. Old Kete was flooded with the damming of the Volta River in the 1960s. Kete Krachi was one of the most affected districts by the new Volta Lake. This site housed offices of the German administration before World War I.
Abandoned colonial building in Kete Krachi

Abandoned colonial building in Kete Krachi

Date: July 24, 2010
Old Krachi was flooded when the River Volta was dammed to create the Volta Lake and a hydroelectric dam in Ghana in the mid-1960s. Inhabitants, including the deity Dente, relocated to what is now new Krachi.
Nana Ojiminkpa II, Bosomfuo (priest) of Krachi Dente Shrine (in white) with shrine officials

Nana Ojiminkpa II, Bosomfuo (priest) of Krachi Dente Shrine (in white) with shrine officials

Date: July 24, 2010
Krachi Dente, a Guan deity that relocated from Larteh in Akuapem to Krachi, was one of the most revered deities in precolonial Asante. It was consulted often by the Asante state in matters of war.
Compound of Dente priest in Krachi town

Compound of Dente priest in Krachi town

Date: 2010
Seated in the compound of the priest of Dente Shrine. Dente priest Nana Ojiminkpa II in white cloth, Professor Akyeampong sitting on skin before priest, and Jackson Donkor (former registrar of Kete Krachi Traditional Council) opposite in white “T” shirt.