Monday, September 16, 2013

DENKYIRA PEOPLE: ANCIENT AKAN WARLORDS IN GHANA

Denkyira people are ancient warlords and matriarchal Kwa-speaking people which forms the sub-set of the larger Akan ethnic group residing in the Central Region of Ghana. The Denkyira people who were once a famous kingdom until Asante people brought it to its knees, speak Akan Twi language and can be found in Twifo Ati-Mokwa (Hemang lower Denkyira) and Upper Denkyira districts.

       Denkyira girls performing traditional Adowa dance at the forecourt of the Denkyirahene`s palace

The capital of the Denkyira people is Jukwa and has a powerful and respectable traditional ruler Odeefuo Boa Amponsem III.
Denkyirahene Odeefuo Boa Amponsem III
The Denkyira people are known for their vast cultivation of palm fruits for oil; production and traditional or small-scale mining of gold which in abundance on their land and in the River Offin. The traditional or small-scale mining of gold is known in Ghanaian parlance as "Galamsey." Some of the Denykira towns are Jukwa, Dunkwa-On-Ofin, Ayafuri, Diaso, Kyekyewere, Mfuom, Dominase, Ntom, New Obuasi, Nkotumso, Maudaso, Asikuma, Jameso Nkwanta, Buabinso, Bethelehem, Buabin, Akropong, Nkronua, Nkwaboso/Akwaboso, and Afiefiso.

                             Denkyira traditional gold miner (Galamsey man).
Location
Denkyira people are located in both Twifo Ati Mokwa and Upper Denyira East and West districts. The Twifo-Ati Mokwa District (formerly Twifo-Heman Lower Denkyira District) with its capital Twifo Praso is one of the 20 District Assemblies in the Central Region of Ghana.

                                Kakum National Park, Jukwa

It has a total land area of 1199km2 and 1,510 settlements. The district also has 8 Area councils and four paramounticies name Hemang, Denkyira, Twifo and Affi Monkwaa.

                                   Beautiful Denkyira girl

It is located between latitudes 5’50’N and 5’51’ N and Longitudes 1’50W and 1’10’W. it is bounded on the north by the Upper Denkyira East Municipal on the south by the Abura Asebu Kwamankese, Cape Coast and Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem, on the west by the Mpohor Wassa East District and the East by the Assin North Municipal.
Denkyira women pounding fufu

The Upper Denkyira East Municipal is one of the twenty Administrative Districts of the Central Region. It lies within latitudes 5°. 30’ and 6°. 02’ north of the equator and longitudes 1° W and 2° W of the Greenwich Meridian.
It shares common boundaries with Bibiani - Anhwiaso Bekwai and Amansie West Districts on the north, Wassa Amenfi West and Wassa Amenfi East Districts on the northwest and west respectively, Twifo-Ati Mokwa District and Assin North Municipal on the south, Obuasi Municipal on the southeast and Amansie Central on the northeast. The Upper Denkyira East Municipal covers a total land area of 1700 square kilometers, which is about 17% of total land area of the Central Region.

                                            Denkyira family,Kramokrom.

Language
Denkyira people speak Akan Twi language which is a Kwa language belonging to the larger Niger-Congo phylum. Denkyira Twi is just like Asante Twi and is intelligible to every Akan Twi language.

                              Denkyira girl dancing adowa
History
Traditions claim that the founding fathers of Upper and Lower Denkyira in the Central Region originally lived in the Mande areas, inVoltaic Region, south of the Niger Bend.  They deserted the region owing to the arid nature of the land that led to famine and hostilities.They migrated south-westwards, crossed the Volta  and reached the Tekyiman (Techiman) in the Ancient Bono State around 1570.
 After a time, he migrants lived for a while with the Nkyiras in the same region. They were at the time known as ADAWUFO, hence the saying ‘Adawu, Dawu Denkyira, mene-sono.’ (lit’. Adawu Dawu Denkyira, the swallowers of elephants’), which became the honorific byname of the Denkyira people. "They stayed with the Nkyiraa for more than a century and learned their institutions so well that people said ‘’they had become like the Nkyiraa’’ (‘Dan- Nkyiraa i.e. dependency on Nkyiraa) (See: Daaku K. Y. ‘Oral Tradition of Denkyira’, I. A. S., Legon, 1970).
Albert Eckhout, Warrior of the Denkyira Kingdom in west Africa
Warrior of the Denkyira Kingdom in west Africa. Circa 1800. Albert Eckhout,

When the Denkyira finally decided to move southwards into the central forest region, c.16th century, they did so under the leadership of Nana Ayekraa Adeboa of Agona clan, the first woman ruler, who settled them at Tutumbe (which had been established by the Asakyiri clan) near Bonatifi, about 3.5 kilometres from Adanse Akorokyere.
It is asserted that the rulers of Denkyira, Akyem Oda and Bodweseanwo belong to the same ethnic group of Agona clan bound together by a common ancestry, Bomaasi. She had three daughters namely, Agobani who became the ancestress of Denkyira Abankesieso (Agona Piesie), Anadineho the ancestress of Akyem Oda (Agona Manu) and Siema’s descendants (Agona Mensah) established Bodweseanowo.

                          Denkyirahemaa (Queen mother of Denkyira), Nana Ama Ayensua Saraa II

After a glorious long reign, Nana Ayekraa Adeboa died. Her eldest son, Annin Panyin, became the first male ruler; he also enjoyed a long, but uneventful reign. He was succeeded by two brothers, Ahi and Aha, who probably ruled together because of the common name Ahahiaha dynasty. They spent the greater part of their reign in exploration, and by then a highly developed and efficient political unit had already been formed.
The next ruler was Mumunumfi. He felt envious of the Adansehene Otibireku Asare who had amassed wealth and was powerful. He declared war on Adanse, inflicting a crushing defeat on them. He appointed Awurade Basa to steer the affairs of the vanquished Adanse.
Mumunumfi was succeeded by Wirempe Ampem (1624-37). He operated a military machinery consisting of divisional units, and after routing the Aowin, he founded the famous capital, ABANKESIESO BANSO which consisted 77 localities about 24 kilometres from Jacobu, westward from Adanse Akorokyere territory which became a large sprawling kingdom.

The king had a strong organized state army, and he became an absolute ruler. That was the beginning of the reign of terror, hence the saying: “Wirempe Ampem a wo din yem mo”, meaning, ‘Wirempe Ampem, whose name is not to be uttered’.  Unfortunately he died in one of his campaigns in the west and was succeeded by a young boy at the tender age of eight. He was rushed to the battlefield to boost their morale amid great jubilation. Then, the blood royals were minors. The new king was Boa Amponsem Dakabere.
Throughout his reign, Boa Amponsem’s authority was felt over much of Asante and its hinterland. To this effective rule was the allusion: ‘’Kotoko som Amponsem’’, i.e. ‘the porcupine (Asante) is servant to Amponsem (Denkyira)’. The Denkyira kingdom grew very rich and became known to the Europeans on the Atlantic shores as a people with great quantities of alluvial gold. During the reign of Boa Amponsem I,
he could afford to have new gold ornaments cast for every ceremonial occasion; gold used once for anything was never used again. This earned him the epithet "Boa Amponsem a, odi sika tomprada" (Boa Amposem who eats fresh gold). Even when Osei Tutu was young; his uncle Opoku Ware sent him to the court of Denkyira to serve as a page. At the same time, Okomfo Anokye was the sorcerer and visionary of King Boa Amponsem. The kingdom at the same time grew so rich that Denkyira was the principal State for the Dutch merchants for their abundant and reasonably pure gold. He ruled wisely and was unrivaled. Upon his demise (1692), the people were bereft of their leader.
His nephew Ntim Gyakari, succeeded and ruled by pride and arrogance. This is confirmed by documentary evidence as Bossman, an impartial and contemporary observer wrote: ‘’Denkyira, elevated by its great riches and power became arrogant that it looked on all other Negroes with contemptible eye, esteeming them no more than slaves.’’ (See: W. Bossman – ‘A New and Accurate description of the Coast of Guinea’ reprinted 1907). Everyone hated Denkyira and waited for the time when their power would fall.
IN 1699 the Denkyira Kingdom was at its fullest extent, while wealth and conquest brought with it pride and arrogance during the reign of Ntim Gyakari.
Meanwhile, King Osei Tutu I assisted by Okomfo Anokye, his great friend, priest and constitutional adviser, were busy trying to find a casus belli in order to launch a full scale military operation. And as if by fate or design, Ntim Gyakari did a thing that made war inevitable. The king “sent a messenger to Kumase, bearing a brass pan, and told Osei Tutu and the chiefs of Asante to fill the pan with gold and send it back to him
Each Asante chief was to send to Abankesieso, his favourite wife to act as wet-nurse (mmagyegyefo) to the king of Denkyira” (See:  W.E. Ward, ‘Short History of Ghana’ pp. 32 – 33). Indeed, they considered the demand, an insult to their dignity.
War drums were sounded across the length and breadth of the state. This was equivalent to a declaration of war. The whole of the various independent units were commanded by the Mamponhene Boahinantuo. Ntim Gykari was sure that he would beat the Asante army so he was not seen at the battlefield, instead he stayed in his tent playing the Oware-game with his wife.
The main Asante army eventually met the opposing force at Feyiase between Kuntenase and Kumase. The Juaben unit hurriedly closed in and surrounded Ntim Gyakari who was sitting with golden fetters upon his ankles and made him a prisoner. They took him to Kumase where he was tried and executed.
Ntim Gyakeri’s body was divided as follows: his head was given to the Asantehene, his left-leg bone to Asumegya, right-leg bone to Mampon, the vertebrae to Aduaben. These three Stools were permitted by Kumase to copy the regalia of Ntim Gyakari (vide: R.S. Rattery, “Ashanti Law and Constitution”. 1956, p.132).
The Asante carried their victory into Denkyira proper and ransacked its capital Abankesieso, mid-1701. They carried into slavery, many of the best craftsmen of Denyira and employed them in making weights in Kumase. In fact, it was a war which left indelible impressions on the history of Denkyira.
There is the saying: “Ntim Gyakari asoa ne man akobo Feyiase”, ‘lit. ‘Ntim Gyakari carried his nation and wrecked her at Feyiase. ‘Which catastrophe occurred on a Friday, hence the origin of the Denkyira Oath, “Fiada ne Denkyira’ following this national disgrace.
The Agona clan brothers–Akyem Oda, and Bodweseanwo – went to the assistance of their senior brother, Denkyira, in this war; therefore the Asantehene initiated the policy divide and rule among the three clan brothers. By this measure, Akyem Odahene was placed under the Anantahene of Kumase, Boadweseanwohene under Dadeasohene, while Denkyirahene came under the Bantamahene. As a result, the supremacy of Denkyira waned.
The narration is that after the death of King Osei Tutu Mpimso (in 1717 according to Prof. Adu Boahen in his Article ‘When did Osei Tutu die?‘   THSG, 1975, Legon, pp. 87–92). Denkyinahene Buadu Akafu Brempon resolved to take revenge on Asante, but the Asante army quickly moved in to nip the insurrection in the bud.
Odeefuo Boa Amponsem III

Yet, there was another revolt during the time of Denkyirahene Owusu Bore I which proved a fiasco. Again, the Denkyira took advantage of the death of the Asantehene Osei Kwadwo (1781) and made another effort to re-establish their independence, but the revolt was suppressed for the third time.
The Denkyira stay in west Adanse had been stormy, so they vowed to quit the region. Consequently, during the reign of the 15th Dekyirahene Nana Kwadwo Tibu I, they moved southwards after the Asante – Gyaman War, 1818, and founded their new state JUKWA.
The immediate cause of the flight was that the Asante army took the field against Gyamanhene Adinkra. The Denkyirahene and his troops entered Gyaman under the pretext to smoke a peace pipe with Adinkra who claimed Agona clan relationship with Nana Tibu. However, Adinkra realized that the rapidity of Denkyira advance was rather for war than negotiation for peace. Adinkra fired and he was hit on the mouth by the explosion of his own gun and died instantly. The skull was brought to Kumase as a war trophy accompanied by Apau, the son of Adinkra.
Traditions aver that the Denkyira contingent received a cold welcome in Kumase with the following remarks by the Asantehene himself who pronounced: “Kwadwo, woko ma ni woko afa e?“ That is:  “in your fight for another, this is your zeal; then what are you if fighting on your own behalf’?”
This statement was unaccepted by, and upset, the Denkyira. It was an expression that the Asantehene had hatred for the Denkyira.

King’s linguist holds the stick in funerals. (Red and black are the colors of a funeral)
Brief Introduction: Each king has his own symbol on the stick. The ostrich can turn its neck back and forth, collecting all the information during the wars, meaning that Denkyira people are warlords who can fight their enemies.

The call for emigration southwards went across the length and breadth of Denkyira, and they followed Nana Tibu to the south across the Offin River at Nkyenkyenso near Aboaboso, passing through Wassaw, Fiase Mpoho, and finally halted at Cape Coast.
The Governor advised them to stay at Kakomdo (or Essakyiri). But this place could not contain their large number, so after a sojourn, they moved through the forest and finally settled at a place about 22 kilometres north-west of Cape Coast.
The indigenous settlers were of the Abrade family at Banaso under Tueni Kodee. Since they were few and had no Paramount Chief, the Denkyira decided to absorb them and there was a recrudescence of inter-clan skirmishes. The Governor, therefore, intervened and ruled that the Pra River should become the natural boundary between them definitely to safe-guard the frontier of their new state.
Upon their arrival, the Denkyiras observed that the whole area was very peaceful, hence the new name DWOKWA, ie. ‘Nothing but peace’. Thus ‘EHA DWO KWA’ became corrupted into DWUKWA (Anglicized JUKWA).

Pεmtεmprεm aa Omenesono/King’s Linguist Staff with Symbol of Denkyira Kingdom
Usage: King’s linguist holds it in festivals, such as chief installations.
•Brief Introduction: Elephant is the symbol of the state which represent strength and braveness. It is only a muddy area that can easily sink, swallow or get an elephant stuck. This symbolizes the Kingdom’s power to defeat all powers.

In 1868 Denkyira entered the Fante Confederacy to fight for Great Britain against the Ashanti and the Dutch. When the confederacy proved unable to defeat the Ashanti, it became a part of the British colony Gold Coast in 1874. In 1957 Gold Coast became independent as Ghana.
JUKWA became the principal town and the seat of the Kyidom Wing, while Dunkwa has been the administrative capital since 1943.
TenureIncumbentNotes
Agona
1500Foundation of Agona state
Agonahenes (Rulers)
1588 to 1620MumunumfiAgonaheneBecoming Denkyirahene
DenkyiraState renamed
Denkyirahene (Rulers)
1620 to 1624MumunumfiDenkyiraheneHitherto Agonahene
1624 to 1637Werempe AmpemDenkyirahene
1637 to 1695Boa Amponsem IDenkyirahene
1695 to 1701Ntim GyakariDenkyirahene
1701Defeated by Asanteman, becoming tributary
1701 to 1702Boado Ahafo BeremponDenkyirahene
1702 to 1712Kyei AkobengDenkyirahene
1712 to 1720Amoako Atta PanyinDenkyirahene
1720 to 1725Gyan BaduDenkyirahene
1725 to 1770Amoako Atta KumaDenkyirahene
1770 to 1793Amoako Atta YiadomDenkyirahene
1793 to 1813Owusu Bori IDenkyirahene
1813 to 1851Kwadwo Tibu IDenkyirahene
1851 to 1859Kwakye FramDenkyirahene
1859 to 1869Kwesi Kyei IDenkyirahene
1870 to 1875Boa Amponsem IIDenkyirahene
1875 to 1910Nkwantabisa IDenkyirahene
1910 to 1912Kwesi Kyei IIDenkyirahene
1912 to 1918Nkwantabisa IIDenkyirahene
1919 to 1930Kwadwo Tibu IIDenkyirahene
1931 to 1941Nkwantabisa IIIDenkyirahene
1942 to 1953Owusu Bori IIDenkyirahene
ante/c.May 1954 to post/c.1954Nana Kojo OdeiRegent
1955 to presentOdeefuo Boa Amponsem IIIDenkyirahene


Ahenema/Royal Slippers
•Material: Leather/cloth/brass
•Usage: The king wears it daily and during festivals.
•Brief Introduction: The tortoise is an animal well-protected with shells, representing the strong defense the Denkyira people portrayed during wars. The hawk is a sacred bird in Denkyira culture so symbols of these animals are displayed on the slippers.

Decline/Collapse of Denkyira Kingdom
By: A. M. Kufuor
Email: opemsuo@gmail.com
Facebook: http://m.facebook.com/amkufuor

In the period leading up to the Feyiase war, large number of Denkyira subjects fled to Kwaman (now Kumasi) to escape the demands of Abankeseso (also known as Ntibanso - a large city with 77 streets watered by seven streams, was the capital of the Denkyira Empire). Abankeseso had a threshold of Abuakwa (in Kumasi) extended northwards to Jacobu in the Amensi Central District. That is it extended six miles radius from which ‘’Osansa’’ (the hawk) could not fly across.

In 1694, King Boa Amponsem I of Denkyira died after 40 years reign; he was succeeded by his relative, Ntim Gyakari (1694-1701). King Ntim Gyakari was philanderer and also a capricious young man of uncertain judgment. His continuous increased in demands provoked resistance from a coalition of his northern tributaries famously led by Osei Tutu of Kumasi. The most important of these demands was when the King sent his messenger, Abebrese, to Kumasi with a message and because Osei Tutu had given protection to Oduro Agyensamoo of Assin (a man wanted in Abankeseso for questioning the King of Denkyira about the circumstances of Boa Amponsem’s death), that because Osei Tutu waged war against Dormaa Kusi of Dormaa his fellow subordinate chief under Denkyira without his permission, the King of Denkyira demanded from the Asantehene the following: firstly, the Asantes should fill the brass-pan (brought by Abebrese) to the brim with pure gold. Secondly, each of the Asante chiefs should send to the King of Denkyira ‘Kyekyerekona’ - a long necklace worn by king’s wives as a sign of submission. Thirdly, each of the Asante chiefs must deliver his favourite wife to the King in marriage. Finally, the Asantehene and each of his provincial chiefs must deliver his beloved child to be sent to Abankeseso.

Another reason was the tyrant rule of King Ntim Gyakari and this led to more than half of Denkyiras fighting alongside with the Asantes against him (Ntim Gyakari).

As Komfo Anokye was famously quoted as saying “all the soldiers of Asante cannot be compared to the smallest wing of the Denkyirahene, so I would change the mind of half of their armies in such a way that during the war, half of them will come to help you.” Whatever the truth is, as a Prince of the Denkyira state, what led to the massive exodus of Denkyiras to Asante was as a result of the punitive ruled of Ntim Gyakari not the so-called miracle claimed to be performed by Anokye Komfo.

The first town which changed allegiance from Ntim Gyakari to Osei Tutu was the Abooso people. Abooso was a town which lay in the vicinity of Adansi Akrokeri and Abankeseso. The inhabitants of this town were called Bontwumafo - the red clay people. The Denkyirahene made ten classes of men and women. These men and women were there to offer their bodies as a sacrificed to the King whenever a member of the royal family pass on and these people were called Bontwumafo [Boa(mponsem’s ntwomafo- red clay people]. That was when any royal personage died, 100 men of these Bontwumafo were sacrificed during the funeral and their blood was used as red clay in painting some parts of the body of the deceased and their bodies were placed in the grave on which the coffin was laid.

Ntim Gyakari, a man famously interested in women, took an Abooso wife. Then his mother fell mortally ill. Learning of this, the wife went to Abooso to alert her ‘‘Bontwumafo’’ kin. When news came that the King’s mother was dead, the Bontwumafo and the inhabitants of the surrounding towns immediately fled to escape being immolated in great numbers and sought refuge with Osei Tutu at Kumasi. After the Feyiase War in 1701, Osei Tutu resettled these Bontwumafo in Atwima (now Atwima Mponua and Atwima Nwabiagya Districts) and their leader was made the Atwimahene.

When it was clear that the Bontwumafo were welcomed by Osei Tutu, others from Denkyira followed in numbers. Aboabo was a town near the Oda River. The town was inhabited by Denkyirahene’s shield-bearers (Akyamfuo) and villagers who prospected for gold on the Ofin flats east of Watreso. A conflict arose between the Akyamfuo and the villagers, and in the course of this, the villagers killed some of the shield-bearers. When Ntim Gyakari was told of the matter, he was incensed and summoned the villagers to appear before him. At the meeting the head of the villagers, Owusu Koanyama abused the Occupant of the Bankam Dwa (the Denkyira Stool) saying that the king’s own servants (the shield-bearers) were ruffians who stole everything from the people. King Ntim Gyakari flew in a rage and ordered that Owusu Koanyama should be killed forthwith together with all his family. This was done on the spot. The villagers and the inhabitants of the towns closed to Aboabo escaped to Asante. However, they took council with themselves to return back to their home and beg the King to forgive them. Ntim Gyakari was in readiness to fight the Feyiase war and so he killed them and these scared the others in exiled to return home. Others of Ntim Gyakari’s household servants who also defected were the brothers Akwadan and Nuamoa, the chief hornblowers of the Denkyirahene. They came to Kumasi with their golden horns and their large followers. They were resettled at Asuoyeboa (in Kumasi), and later brought into Kumasi when Osei Tutu created the Asokwa (in Kumasi) stool for them so that they might act as his traders as well as his hornblowers. Similarly, the Denkyirahene’s head drummer, fled to Osei Tutu with his sister Boatemaa Twum and many followers. Osei Tutu appointed him as Nkukuwafohene. There are many others that cannot be mentioned who came to Asante.

The most important of all those who migrated which drastically reduced Ntim Gyakari’s power and his authority over northern Denkyira were the ‘Inkwayulaes or Nkawie people. Nkawie, 20 miles north of Abankeseso, was the second most important town in the Denkyira Empire. Nkawie was itself a state just like Kwaman (Kumasi) state. It was ruled by a lineage that occupied a Stool from which you become the King of Denkyira. Its female stool was also occupied by Denkyirahene’s ‘nieces’, women who were eligible to become the Queenmother of Denkyira. This was to make the enstoolment of Denkyira Kings smoothly after the King’s death, preventing disputed in the Royal family.

In 1660s, the two royal stools of Nkawie were occupied by Asenso Kufuor and his sister Adoma Akosua [Asenso Kufuor was the Great Grandfather of Nana Kwabena Kufuor who was Nkawiehene (in Ashanti Region) from 1901-1931 and later became Denkyirahene from 1931-1941 with the Stool name Odeefuo Nkwantabisa III. Nana Kwabena Kufuor was also the biological father of former President Kufuor’s mother, Ama Kufuor].
In 1694, after the death of King Boa Amponsem I, Ntim Gyakari won over Asenso Kufuor in the contest to succeed Boa Amponsem. Boa Amponsem however, was not from the Denkyira Royal family but came up to take the Denkyira Stool as he was the famous warrior. So after his death the Denkyiras’ gave the Bankam Dwa also called Offin Ba (a child of the River Offin) in turn to Ntim Gyakari, his relative. Ntim Gyakari feared Kufuor may overthrow him, ordered Asenso Kufuor and his sister Adoma to reside at Abankeseso under surveillance. Asenso Kufuor not satisfied with Ntim Gyakari’s conditions threw in his lot with Osei tutu and came to Kwaman. Since he was a royal eligible to become the King of Denkyira, he came with all his subordinate chiefs together with many guns and gold. Several Denkyira people including royals also followed him.
After Ntim Gyakari was killed at Feyiase, Asenso Kufuor was confirmed in the title of Nkawiehene and went to live in that town but not the old Nkawie which is unknown to geography and archaeology. All of Asenso Kufuor’s lands were restored to him after Bantamahene Apraku, successor of Amankwatia charged Nkawie with having failed in its duty to protect Kumasi from Ebirimoro of Sefwi who attacked Kumasi, whiles the Asantes were still fighting the Akyems. When the case was heard by King Opoku Ware I, Bantamahene declared before the King that Nkawie was a royal of Denkyira Stool and was nursing a hope of breaking off from the Asantehene that is to make himself the King of Denkyira in his turn, hence was not a true Asante Patriot. This made King Opoku Ware infuriated, at this turn of events and he fined Bantamahene as it had spoken to reveal the origins of Nkawie which was forbidden by Asante custom as this prohibition was prominent among the so-called ‘Seventy-seven laws‘ of Komfo Anokye. The King of Asante then allowed them to used the old name ‘Nkawie’ and also extended Nkawie’s lands westward over the Offin River as far as Bibiani in the Western region which they still hold up to now. However, up-to-date the Nkawie stool still remains the seat of Denkyira royalty, as Nana Kwabena Kufuor abdicated the Nkawie stool to occupy the Denkyira Stool after the death of the Denkyirahene, Odeefuo Kwadwo Tibu II in 1931. Also when the Denkyirahene, Odeefuo Owusu Bori II was destooled by Kwame Nkrumah in 1950’s for indulging in politics, came and occupied the Nkawie stool after Nkrumah overthrew when his brother was already occupying the Denkyira Stool.
To conclude, both Denkyira and Asante traditions affirm that Asenso Kufuor shift of allegiance detached the largest state after Abankeseso from Ntim Gyakari’s control, and called into question the reliability of much of northern Denkyira. Therefore, at the end of 1701, when Abankeseso faced the Kwaman coalition that was to become Asante, it had many enemies and few friends and hence caused the fall of the Denkyira Empire. (

Economy
Agriculture and its related activities constitute the most important activities in the district.  It provides employment for about 46.0 per cent of the active working population.  The predominant farm practice is mixed cropping.  The main crops grown are sometimes inter-cropped with vegetables and other crops cultivated for both home consumption and for sale. They grow crops like cassava, Cocoa, palm oil trees etc.
Denkyira cocoa farmer drying his cocoa beans

Farmland therefore becomes an important ingredient in agricultural production  and its ownership and use have a significant effect on total output.  The district farmlands are acquired in several ways including individual ownership or inheritance from landowners and mortgage.
The extensive forest has given rise to a large-scale timber extraction and illegal chainsaw operations in District. Apart from lumbering, the other major economic activities include crop/livestock farming and small-scale mining.

Industrial Sector
AGRO-PROCESSING INDUSTRIES
The main Agro-processing industries identified in the district are Palm-Oil Extraction, Rice – Milling and Soap Making, Cassava processing and Akpeteshie Distilling. The major processing activity goes on within the premises of the Twifo Oil Palm Plantation (TOPP), which is the largest in the Central Region.

Industries play an important role in the socio-economic development of the district.  Processing of agricultural and other primary products are predominant in the district.  The industry sector could be grouped under the following sub-sectors.
             a.    Value addition/processing
             b.    B. Construction
             c.     Artisans and craftsmen

SMALL AND MEDIUM SCALE INDUSTRIES

Palm Oil Extraction
This activity is carried out mainly at Mampong, Hemang, Ampenkro Eduaben, Ntrafrewaso, Jukwa and Nuamakrom.  The source of the raw material, which is palm nut is from local farmers in the district.
Denkyira women of Jukwa pouring palm oil

An average of 5 casual labour are engaged in the activity.  The average production of palm oil during the peak season is 10 drums per day and 6 drums per day in the lean season.  The market centers are in Cape coast, Techiman, Sunyani, Obuasi, Kasoa, Accra Tema, Takoradi and Elmina.
Denkyira women showing palm fruit,Jukwa.

Rice Milling
The rice milling activities are located in Aklomah, Twifo Praso, Akwkrom Benponso, Agona, Ampekrom, Nuamakrom, Yao Annany No 4, Asarekwaku, Benpongya.

The raw rice is purchased from one local farmer within the catchment area.  An average of 2 casual labourers are employed and an average of 10 bags of rice are processed a day during the peak season.  The main market Centres are located in Twifo Praso, Elmina, Kasoa and Takoradi

Cassava Processing
The cassava processing industries are located mainly in Kenkuase, Nuamakrom and several parts of the district.  The products, gari and Konkonte use raw cassava as their main source of raw material.  Averages of 2 people are employed in each of the establishment.  Tow bags of gari are produced a day.  Markets for the products are located in Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi, Kasoa and Techiman.

Akpeteshie Distilling
One of the main locally produced Alcoholic drinks in the District is AKPETESHIE which is brewed from palm wine tapped from palm trees. The distilleries are located in Twifo Praso, Agona, Benpogya, Mampong, Hemang, Jukwa, Wawase, and Bukrusu.

Apart from the average of two people who are employed to distill this drink, palm fruit farmers, palm wine tappers and other also benefit from this venture in terms of employment.  The main market centers are in Kumasi, Accra, Cape Coast, Elimina, Sekondi, Kasoa, Sunyani, Aflao, and Lome.

Soap Making
The production of soap is concentrated at Twifo Praso and New Mampong.  This could be attributed to the presence of the raw material thus palm oil in the District.  An average of 6 people are employed with about 7200 cakes of soap produced in a day, employing almost half of the youth in the area.

It is worthy of note that when the youth are employed, they tend to put up their best to attract more investors to the are, enhancing development projects.  This is so because they believe that they can contribute their quota to their district instead of migrating to other parts of the country.

This helps government in its fight to curb the rural-urban drift in the country which has caused the capital cities to be densely populated.  The prevention of this rural-urban drift can, however be achieved through the creation of employment not only for the youth, but the entire people of a particular area.

The cakes of soap manufactured also create employment in areas like Kumasi, Accra, and Lome in the Republic of Togo, Aflao, Ho and Cotonou in the Republic of Benin where the demand for the soaps are very high.

An example of soap manufacturing company in the district is “Yewodze” Enterprise.  With the availability of such raw materials and cheap human resource, the investing public would be most welcomed if they take advantage of these opportunities.

Mining, Quarrying And Construction
The district is rich in mineral deposits including gold, diamond and manganese.  These have given advantage to those engaged in small-scale mining in gold and diamond since they cover about 106 acres of land.

Some mining companies are already operating at Twifo Kojokrom, Twifo Aburochire, Twifo Brofoyedur, Twifo Praso and Atti Mokwaa.  Mining thrives in the District since the District has extensive mineral deposits of God and Diamond that are found at Mfuom, River Botro, and Afiafio with several small scale mining firms involved.  In addition to mining, small scale activities in quarrying are undertaken in the district.

Entrepreneurs in the business rely on rocky outcrops and boulders found on the hills and along the hilly slopes.  Stones are conveyed to the lowlands mainly along the roads and then broken into chips.  The chips are used as aggregate in building and road construction, both in and outside the district.  In addition to these industries are artisans and craftsmen of various types ranging from hairdressers to goldsmiths.

Inheritance
The kinship system is of matrilineal lineage and as such inheritance is traditionally passed on from brothers to their sisters’ children.

                             Denkyira woman

Land Tenure
The land tenure arrangements include owner occupancy where the farmer is the owner of the land on which he/she works and provides all the necessary inputs for production and the other is the share tenancy where a land owner engages a farmer to work on his land and the proceeds shared.
There are six major ways of acquiring land for farming purposes.  There are allocation by chiefs, by family heads, lease, inheritance, private ownership and hiring.

Story of Denkyira Odwira
Origin
In Akan when people say Odwira, it is a reference to the time the paramount stool called “Bankam” descended from heaven. One day after a heavy rain, a fetish priestess called Ayekra Adeboe discovered the stool made by precious beats and gold. It’s believed that the stool is from heaven and the soul of Denkyira. It is so secret that no one can see and touch it except the royal family. The female became the first king of Denkyira and in Akan people say “ebedwiri” hence the Odwira festival, so the festival is meant to mark the descent of the paramount stool of Denkyira. Therefore we can see that it is purely a religious celebration. Odwira is also a period of purification after battles or wars.
Purpose
ü   for feeding the ancestral stools and the gods
ü   for remembering the dead ancestors
ü   re-unions and homecoming for all Denkyira “home and abroad”
ü   for rich display of culture and merry-making
Conclusion:
There are solemn religious and ceremonies to sorrow remembrance of the dead and also merry-making
Before the festival
One week before the festival, all the drums at the palace are brought out to be purified with mashed yam mixed with red oil (Palm oil) and from then drumming and noise-making is banned till everything is over. If a relative dies during the preparations the family is not allowed to have the funeral until after the festival. This period of “Silence” is found necessary in order to give the ancestors and gods of the state the right atmosphere in which they can prepare for the “Odwira”. This period also serves to mentally prepare whole Denkyira state for coming of the festival.
In different places
Everybody, including the youth take part in this preparation before the actual start of the festival at Jukwa (traditional capital) and Dunkwa-on-Offin (the administrative capital). It is a unique celebration because it is the only festival that is celebrated at two places (the traditional capital and the administrative capital).

                   Denkyira ahenema

Sunday – Keep Silence and Firing the Odwira Guns
On Sunday mid-night, a god of executioner “SASATIA” come to Jukwa from the town Abrafo.(about five kilometers north of Jukwa) The residents take their god to the Gyaasehene’s house and inform the Denkyirahene of their arrival. No one is supposed to set eyes on them or lose their life.
    Twenty-one guns fire on top of massif in Jukwa. Seven represent each of the three main traditional divisions of Denkyira-Akomantire, Kyeremfem, and Agona Adontendom. Seven times in three turns by seasonal hunters. Announce the start of the celebration one division after the other. There is a group of people who are specially trained to fire these shots. In fact it is the duty or responsibility of the “Gyaase” divisional chief to assemble these people to give the gun shots. The firing of the guns also calls attention to the ancient wars and brave of the Denkyira and the duty of all Denkyira citizens to obey the ritual.
New Chief Installation @ the Palace of King of Denkyira Kingdom, Ghana, Aug. 2009
Monday – The day of Mourning and Consultation of the Gods
On Monday morning, women wear black and red to show their sorrow to the departed. The elders pour libation for the ancestors by schnapps, and go to the palace where the mourning for the dead ancestors go on with drumming and horn blowing. Also, the chief of the state linguists “Akyeamehene” pours libation at Yentumi shrine, the ancient war god, and use mashed yam to feed the god. In the evening, the Denkyirahene, chiefs and elders dance to music from various state drums and musical groups: Kete, Fontomfrom, the special Asasaa drums (peculiar to Denkyira), Apirede, Ntahera and the Ankobea Asafo. 9:30 p.m. the Gyaase division chiefs assemble at the palace to get ready to visit the river side, “Surowi”. At about mid-night, they made up of only a select few carrying the state stool with bells, other sacred stools and the state gods, move solemnly to the river and wash them.
New Chief Installation @ the Palace of King of Denkyira Kingdom, Ghana, Aug. 2009

Tuesday to Thursday – Period of Relaxation
During Tuesday to Thursday, there are no official programs. Drumming groups such as adenkum, kete, fontonfrom, brass band, bosoe came from different locations to perform for the happiness of all and sundry. Such people were invited to play in turns as in the way of competing among themselves to gain the awards and the fame of the omanhene and his officials (paramount chief and his officials). The period witnesses marriage rites, settling of family quarrels and disputes through arbitration. People display their wealth as they parade, call on neighbors and friends, changing their clothing and ornaments several times during the day. It is also a time for the youth to be involved in the celebration because during rituals the youth are not involved so without these days the youth may feel unconcerned. During this time, all family members get together to entertainment, merry-making, and general relaxation. These activities help express the joy of the people and their gratitude to the gods and ancestors for seeing them through to another Odwira.
Denkyira dancer

Friday – The Climax
This day sees the lighting of the ceremonial fire and feeding of the gods. Not only the citizens of Denkyira, but also those of nearby states participate. During this day, no household or individual should start any fire until the traditional fire chief, the Ogyahene has lighted the ceremonial fire. The Ogyehene first carries a piece of firewood on his head, supported by four of his elders. His other subjects, men and women, all carry firewood and, singing a special song called “Ogyaho”, they parade through the principal streets of Jukwa ending at the stool house. The Ogyahene lights the fire with some rituals including the pouring of libation. The talking drums immediately announce the end to the ban of lighting fire. Individuals can now come to the stool house for fire to light theirs or start them on their own.

The ceremonial fire is used to cool the special meal that is fed to the gods, the various stools and the ancestors for the second and last time during the festival. Mutton, yams and eggs are the main items together with schnapps that chief linguist offers. Whilst a special group of men and women do the cooking, only the men, led by the chief linguist are allowed to enter the residence of the gods and stools to offer the ceremonial food. All the richly adorned chiefs of the state led by the Denkyirahene ride in their colorful palanquins and proceed to the river side, the Denkyirahene alights and personally offers sacrifice of a sheep to the river god as all his chiefs and people look on. After the sacrifices, the Denkyirahene rides in his palanquin to a durbar grounds and sit in state to receive homage from his chiefs and people. Here one observes royalty, dignity, pageantry, valour all portrayed in rich culture. Drums beat, horns blow, executioners recite poems, dance and display in their special robes, all in honor of Denkyirahene as the embodiment of the Denkyira state.
At this crowning durbar, the chiefs, people and invited guests go in a line to shake hands with the Denkyirahene to congratulate him on the sacrifices he has made to ensure prosperity and life for all in the years to come.

The festival might not be fully held yearly
Because there are so many rituals that have to be performed and hence the expense, Odwira might not be fully held yearly. Even the festival is not able to celebrate every year, some necessary rituals are still held. We have mini festivals like “Adae Kesee” and “Mpaatum”. During these mini festivals or occasions the gods are fed but not on a wider scale as it will happen during the Odwira. Most of the rituals performed during the festival are done in the night and they are not to see the light of day and it is a taboo, for example, to whistle during the night because those things would ward-off the gods and the ancestors, so it is believed.

                                      Odeefuo Boa Amponsem and Nana Efua Tweneboah II
Tourism Attractions
The Denkyira people of Twifo-Ati Mokwa District have very attractive sites and houses, one of Ghana’s most important and most visited national tourist sites, Kakum National Park.

                                     Kakum National Park, Jukwa

Being mindful of the importance of the tourism sector to the national economy and encouraged by the success story of the Kakum National Park, the District Assembly Commissioned a team to identify and document all the potential tourist sites in the District with the view of developing and reaping the benefits that the industry offers.  The following are the sites identified for tourism purposes

                                  Kakum National Park,Jukwa

The site where Otumfuo Osei Tutu I  was killed
Anamia Cave                                           - Twifo Tofoe
River Pra Islands                                      - Mintaso
Bonsaben Forest Reserve                          - Twifo Praso
Buraso Archaedogical site                          - Twifo Ayaase
Jukwa Cultural Village                               - Twifo Hemang
The Ancestral Cave                                   - Jukwa
Odum Kwaku Sacred Shrine                       - Twifo Ampenkro
Twifo Oil Palm Plantation (TDPP)                - Jukwa Nyamani
Canopy-Shaped Rock
Akwantufo Bodan
(Strangers Rock House)                            - Frami
Mbem Waterfall                                       - Mbem
Bird Sanctuary                                         - Abrafo
Spring Water                                           - Mfuom
Buomu                                                    - Nuamakrom
Oven-Shaped Cave                                  - Twifo Canaan
Snake like oil palm tree                            - Twifo Canaan
Mighty Rock                                             - Ankaako
Mbem Waterfall
The site is a waterfall on River Sowi (Sweet River).  It is located about 2km from Mbem and gives showers with radius of 100m.  the site has the potential to attract activities like picnicking, educational tours and research purpose.

Canopy Shaped Rock Jukwa Bremang
This is a mysterious rock formation which can provide shade for about 40 people.  It is located in a small forest reserve and it is conserved as a scared place.  The site can be developed for activities such as sight seeing and camping.

The Site Of Otumfuo Osei Tutu’s  Waterloo Twifo Tofoe
This is undoubtedly an important historic site for both the Ashanti’s and Twifo.  The Twifo took custody of most of their account statements some of which have been kept till today.  The people go there periodically to pour libation.  At the site there is a natural bridge across River Pra and it is used during the dry season.  The site can be a very good attraction for visitors and tourists.

Bonsaben Forest Reserve Twifo Ayaase
This is an evergreen forest with some particularly tall trees.  It serves as a great biodiversity of both plants and animals.  It is also the watershed of some rivers.  Indeed the site presents a scientific natural beauty.

It is a historic and sacred place to the Twifo People because it is believed that the Ashanti’s were mysteriously attacked by a swam of bees long ago.  When developed the site would attract activities including camping, hiking, sightseeing, bird watching and picnicking

Buraso Archaeological Site – Twifo Hemang
This is the site where the people of Akwamu lived around thirteenth fourteenth centuries.    It is believed to be where the Aduana/Abrade clans originated from.  Archeological works revealed domestic tools used at the time.  When developed, the site would attract activities including sightseeing and educational tours.

The Ancestral Cave – Twifo Ampenkro
This site is a cave with different apartments.  It is located at the summit of a mountain embedded in a  forest reserve “Bepotenten” Reserve.The cave was used by the people of Twifo Hemang in the olden times to evade attacks of enemies prominent among who were the Ashanti’s.  when this site is well developed, it can be used for activities like caving, trail hiking, mountain climbing, sightseeing, bird watching and camping.

Odum Kwaku Sacred Shrine Jukwa Yameani
This is a mighty Odum tree situated in a small forest reserve.  It is an important historic and religious site.  The tree is believed to have produced gold for the use of the people in the village.  At the moment it still has influence on the people since the chief and elders consult it before taking certain major decisions and pour libation there occasionally.  The site gives a picture of a virgin forest and degraded forest predicted by human activities.

Bird Sanctuary – Abrafo
Located at the entrance of Kakum National Park, the site is located in bamboo growing area.  It is a home to many bird species which have made different kinds of nests.  The chips by the different birds fill the air and they add the abstraction.  The place is a potential site for activities like bird watching, listening to the sound of different species of  birds and educational tours.

Anamia Cave – Mintaso
This is a magnificent rock formation which has a cave with apartments.  It could be a good destination for adventurism and explorers.  When the site is developed activities that can take place there include caving, chumbing, sightseeing and camping.

Akwantufo Bodan (Sstrangers Rock House) Ukwa Frami
The site is a mighty rock with a cave that can provide shelter for many people.  The rock has a beautiful natural shape.  In the older days it provided shelter for travelers/strangers to and from the coast.  When developed, the site will attract activities like caving, trail hiking, and rock climbing.

Buomu Nuamakrom
This is another form of the magnificent rock formation in the District.  It has a cave with several apartments.  It is believed to have been the abode of the god of the area.  The people go there periodically to pour libation.  The development of the site could attract activities like caving, rock, climbing, sightseeing and camping.

Oven-Shaped Cave – Twifo Canaan
This a huge rock formation.  It is an oven-shaped cave that can contain about 30 people.  It is believed to be the home of the god of the area.  The god is seen as a humble tiger which becomes  visible when certain rituals are performed.  The place would attract activities like sightseeing and camping when well developed.

Snake-Like Oil Palm Tree - Twifo Canaan
This is a snake-like oil palm tree located between Bimipong forest reserves and a big cocoa farm.  The site presents a very wonderful work of nature.  The coiled and meandering shape of the oil palm tree affords visitors the opportunity to know the extent to which nature can deviate.  Any development here could attract educational tours and tourists in general to have a look at a wonderful work of nature

source:http://ghanaculture.org/index1.ph
           http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/Africa

2 comments:

  1. Akuapem and Akwamu Chiefs made history after 300 years.
    Mamfe-Akuapem(E/R), Jan. 14, Barnny Tv- For the first time in 300 years, after the Akuapem and Akwamu war, the Paramount Chief of Akwamu Traditional Area, Nana Odeneho Kwafo Akoto II, attended a festival of an Akuapem town signifying peace and unity.

    Odeneho Kwafo Akoto with a large retinue of chiefs and warriors, attended the Mamfe Ohum Asafosa durbar at the weekend at Mamfe-Akuapem.

    Both the Chiefs and people of Akwamu and the five divisional chiefs of Akuapem Traditional Area, who were present at the durbar, drank from the same pot of wine during the festival.

    Since 1733 after the Akuapem- Akwamu war, the chiefs and people of the two paramountcies, although are good neighbours, had never been together at any traditional gathering until last Saturday.

    According to history, the Akwamus were at war with the people of Akuapem during the 18th century and as a result of the might of the Akwamus, the Akuapems then solicited support from Akyem Abuakwa and through their help the Akuapems were able to defeat the Akwamus.

    In appreciation to the support of the Akyem�s, the people of Akuapem gave the land of Akropong to the Akyems to settle and also be their leaders in case of any counter attack by the Akwamus.

    With time, the Akuapem state was founded and Akropong was made the seat of the paramountcy.

    Till date, the paramount stool of the Akuapem state is known as Ofori Kuma, whiles that of the Akyem Abuakwa is Ofori Panin, indicating the traditional relationship between the two paramountcies.

    Another historical feat that was made was the presence of all the five divisional chiefs of the Akuapem state including the Krontihene Osahene Offei Agyeman, Adontenhene, Otoobour Gyan Kwasi, Benkumhene, Osabarima Asiedu Okoo Ababio, Nifahene Nenye Otutu Kono who was represented by Nana Awuku Bram, the chief of Dawu and the Gyasehene, Nana Osim Kwatia.

    For seventeen years, there had been a chieftaincy dispute in the Akuapem state resulting in the five Akuapem Traditional Divisions refusing to pay homage to the paramount chief of Akuapem, Oseedeyo Nana Addo Dankwa, stalling development until the intervention of the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and the Eastern Regional Peace and Advisory Council (ERPAC) to settle the dispute.

    Under the leadership of the former Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo and the Chairman of the ERPAC, Reverend Dr JOY Mante, President of the Trinity Theological Seminary (PCG), the long and winding road to peace in Akuapem began.

    In August last year, the factions in the dispute finally signed a peace agreement which was followed by a peace durbar in December to prove the commitment of the chiefs to the peace agreement which meant that the Akuapem state had once again become united under one paramount chief.

    Osabarima Nana Ansah Sasraku, chief of Mamfe and the Kyidomhene of the Akuapem Traditional Area, briefing Barnny Tv Ghana described the event and presence of the paramount chief of Akwamu and all the five divisional chiefs of Akuapem as historic.

    He said the Asafosa, which formed part of the Ohum festival was a platform where disputes and all scores were settled through the sharing and drinking of palm wine, presented by all traditional leaders in Mamfe and for the fact that Odeneho Kwafo Akoto presented a pot of palm wine and drank from the same pot with all the divisional chiefs of Akuapem signified the re-unification of Akuapem and Akwamu .

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