Northern Factors in Asante History

Emmanuel Akyeampong

Date: July 1, 2004

Salagawura Kanyiti Osman Fusheini, Chief of Salaga

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.

Date: July 4, 2004

Kpembiwura Alhaji Ibrahim Haruna, Paramount Chief of Kpembe

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.

Date: February 12, 2006

Alhaji Abdullah Muhammad, Proprietor and Headmaster, Fawziya Islamic School

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.

Date: February 12, 2006

Alhaji Muniru Marhaba, Imam of the Wangara Community of Ghana

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.

Date: February 24, 2006

Nana Asare Ababio II, Asantehene Nsumankwaa Mmammahene

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.

Date: February 25, 2006

Alhaji Abdul Mumin Harun, Asantehene's Kramo or Imam

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.

Date: February 25, 2006

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

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.

Date: February 26, 2006

Nana Boakye Ansah Debrah, Asokore Mamponghene

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.

Date: February 26, 2006

Nana Kwame Kyeretwie, Apagyahene

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.

Date: February 26, 2006

Nana Kofi Bosiako Genfi I, Pinkyendomkohene of Asante

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.

Date: February 27, 2006

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

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.

Date: February 27, 2006

Baffour Domfe Gyeabuor III, Asantehene's Nsumankwaahene

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.

Date: March 19, 2006

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

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.

Date: March 19, 2006

Akosua Sekina Nsiah Boakyewaa, Asante Ahmadiyya, and family

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.

Date: March 21, 2006

Chief Fanyinama III, Head of the Wangara Community in Ghana

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.

Date: April 23, 2006

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

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.

Date: April 24, 2006

Okyeame Banahene, Akyeamehene (Chief Spokesman) to Asantehene

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.

Date: June 15, 2006

Archbishop Peter Akwasi Sarpong, Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi

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.

Date: July 12, 2006

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

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.

Date: July 25, 2006

Alhaji Asoma Banda, Businessman

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.

Date: July 8, 2008

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

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.

Date: July 12, 2008

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

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.

Date: July 15, 2008

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

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.

Date: July 27, 2008

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

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 .