This weekend all roads lead to Kwahu Scraps (mountains) in Ghana for the celebration of the most popular Easter festivity in the world. For those who dont know much about Kwahu people, I have provided a brief history for your enjoyment
Kwahu or Kwawu people are hardworking agriculturalist and the famous business-oriented Kwa-speaking people that forms a subset of the larger Akan ethnolinguistic group living in the south-central Ghana, on the west shore of Lake Volta. Kwahu people speak a Twi-dialect of Akan language and live specifically in the mountainous Eastern Region of Ghana in the towns such as Abene, Abetifi, Pepease, Atibie, Nkwatia, Obo, Bepong, Tafo, Akwasiho, Obomeng, Twenedurase, Nteso, Mpraeso, Asakraka, Aduamoa, Pitiko, Sadan, Burukuwa, Nkantanane, Ahinasie and Donkorkrom.
Macmillan and Kwamena Poh 1965, cited in (Adonteng 2009) described the wonderful climate of their mountainous town, Abetifi as “… the Switzerland of West Africa, with nights as cool as May nights in Europe”. Van der Geest (1998) an expert on Kwahu history and anthropology in recent times also averred that the Kwahu are mountain-dwellers who are considered to be “wealthy …. very successful traders,.., who reside at the top of a mountain, a location which is somewhat removed from the other Akan groups.”
Garlick (1968) also posits that Kwahu people were the first to engage in commercial Rubber business, sold cloth, and started tailoring work as sandals-makers as stepping stone to trade (see ). Kwahu people whose slogan is Asase Aban, Yεnte Gyae (Protectors of the Land, We don`t quit) and also Oboכּ (Rock) or Oboכּba (Child of the Rock) are very famous for their industriousness and uncanny entrepreneurial skills. Due to their ability to put up huge buildings and numerous wonderful mansions with expensive and advanced architecture on the mountains most people in Ghana usually accuse Kwahu people of indulging in ritual or blood money (sika aduro). Others say Kwahus use Nziema Bayie or wizardry in making money business. For being modest and being highly economic in any venture they undertake except business that brings them more money, people stereotype them as ‘pεpεe’ (misers).
History of Kwahu and the Origin of their name
The earliest history of Kwahu was written by Perregaux (1903) and Wallis (1953), who traced their origins to Adansi and Asante Mampong in present-day Ashanti Region. The first tradition narrates that long before the Asanti-Denkyera war of1699-1700 Nana Osei Twum, the first Chief of the Agonaman,his nephew Baadu, his younger brother Kwasi Tititii and a slave Kofabra(“fetch it”) together with Frempong Manso fled from the cruelty of the King of Denkyera who had captured Adansi, their home,to find a new land. Stopping first at Dampong,Osei Twum and his party then moved on and discovered the Mpraeso Scarp.In the course of their searchings from Mount Apaku where they first settled, they came across a stream with a rock in it shaped like a stone jar, and Osee Twum interpreting this as a good omen decided to settle there and called the place Obo-kuruwa or Bukuruwa (meaning stone jar). Twum died there and was succeeded by Baadu.
At this juncture the story differs, Perregaux (1903) asserts that “one day a nephew of Osei Twum, Kwasi Tititi, went with his slave Kofabra about the country to explore it. During this expedition the slave died. Kwasi Tititi returned to Bukuruwa to anoounce his death to his uncle. Full of griedf at this news Osei Twum exclaimed: O! akoa wu ui! (Lit: Oh, the death of my slave!). And from this time, the whole country was called “Okwa`u”, (Kwawu). Wallis (1953) building on similar account, narrates that “In the course of time Kwasi Tititii and Kofabra died and Baadu, comparing the elaborate funeral of Kwasi Tititii with the poor one of Kofabra the slave, is reported to have said “Akoa wuo ni” (so this is a slave’s death!) or “Akoa wu” (where a slave died) which corrupted became Okwawu or Kwahu. From the two narration as held by Kwahu people today, a slave died and the response in narrating that death brought the name Kwahu.
The next wave of Kwahu emigrants were from Mamong Agyei, who whose uncle was Esono Gyima of Asante Mampong, who was chased away by his uncle Atakora for not helping in a war. This section forms the Abene, the seat of the present line of the Paramount Chiefs of Kwahu.
There are more interesting stories of other migrants joining the Kwahu people, including the Hausa and people of norther extraction at the Afram Plains later.
Adonteng, E. Y. (2009). partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in African Art And Culture on July, 2009 (Doctoral dissertation, School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology).
Bartle, P. F.W. (1973). Kwawu Migration Patterns: A Demonstration Model. Manpower and Unemployment Research in Africa, Vol. 6, No. 1 (APRIL 1973), pp. 23-38. Labour, Capital & Society
Garlick, P. (1968), The Development of Kwahu Business Enterprise in Ghana since 1874-An Essay in Recent Oral Tradition
Perregaux, W. (1903). A Few Notes on Kwahu (“Quahoe,” a Territory in the Gold Coast Colony, West Africa). Journal of the Royal African Society, Vol. 2, No. 8 (Jul., 1903), pp. 444-450
Simensen, J. (1975). The Asafo of Kwahu, Ghana: A Mass Movement for Local Reform under Colonial Rule. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 8(3), 383-406.
Van der Geest, S. (1998). Ɔpanyin: The Ideal of Elder in the Akan Culture of Ghana. Canadian Journal of African Studies/La Revue canadienne des études africaines, 32(3), 449-493.
Wallis, J. R. (1953). THE KWAHUS—THEIR CONNECTION WITH THE AFRAM PLAIN. Transactions of the Gold Coast & Togoland Historical Society, 1(3), 10-26.
Kweku Darko Ankrah
Published by Michael Eli Dokosi - www.blakkpepper.com - ghana
Michael Eli Dokosi is a journalist and a formidable writer with a decade's experience. He is a blogger as well who currently owns and manages the news portal www.blakkpepper.com. The site is a wholesome news platform with entertainment, political, general, sports, negroid and foreign news offerings with the tagline 'More than Straight News' because of its alternate take on issues. The blakkpepper name emerged because the site is Afrocentric and hot. The Managing Editor can be reached via cell line (+233) 0249907425 & (+233) 0262907425 and via email [email protected] for adverts, enquiries and news coverage invites. View more posts
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