Cape Coast, also known as Cabo Corso by the Portuguese and Oguaa by its Fante natives is Ghana`s first capital town and the Central Regional coastal city and fishing port, and the capital of Cape Coast Metropolitan District.

                         Beautiful Cape Coast Fante kids in their traditional dress

Cape Coast which is situated on its south to the Gulf of Guinea was originally a Guan settlement that has been swallowed by Fante people and now see themselves as full blooded Fantes has from the 16th century changed hands between the British, the Portuguese, the Swedish, the Danish and the Dutch.

             Oguaa traditional priests procession during Oguaa Fetu festival in Cape Coast, Ghana

Some of the towns within Cape Coast are: Cape Coast (Pedu/Abora)»  Cape Coast (Cape Vars/Ola) »  Ekon »Nkanfoa »  Kakomdo »  Effutu »  Akotokyere »  Ankaful Village  »  Anto Essuekyir »  Kokoado »  Amamuma »  Nyinasin »  Duakor  »  Koforidua »  Mpeasem »  and Amisano etc
The traditional vernacular name of Cape Coast is Oguaa, from the Fante word "Gua" meaning 'market.'  The traditions of origin of the indigenous inhabitants of the town assert that the Fetu state, of which Cape Coast, Oguaa, is the principal town, was founded by the Guan, probably during the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries.  More recent immigration of Fante from the Techiman area took place during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries.

              President Obama and her family at Cape Coast Slave Castle being led by Mr Fritz Barffour.

It is believed that Michelle Obama, U.S. First Lady, considers Cape Coast as her ancestral home, and on 11 July 2009, she took the rest of the first family to tour Cape Coast Castle as part of her husband's trip to Cape Coast.

                              University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Cape Coast is known as the Citadel of Education in Gold coast (Ghana) and West Africa and is the seat of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana's leading university in teaching and research. Cape Vars, as it is popularly called, lies on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It also has one of the best Polytechnics in Cape Coast Polytechnic (C-POLY).

                           Adisadel College, one of the Cape Coast finest and best schools in Ghana.

The city also boasts some of Ghana's finest and best secondary and technical schools: Wesley Girls' High Schoo, St. Augustine College, Mfantsipim School (Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan attended this school), Adisadel College, Aggrey Memorial Senior High School, Ghana National College, Holy Child Secondary School, Cape Coast Technical Institute and many more.

                                  Cape Coast people dancing at Fetu festival

The area is dominated by batholith rock and is generally undulating with steep slopes. There are valleys of various streams between the hills, with Kakum being the largest stream. The minor streams end in wetlands, the largest of which drains into the Fosu Lagoon at Bakano. In the northern part of the district, however, the landscape is suitable for the cultivation of various crops

                                  Cape Coast mmensoun (horn) blowers

Demographic Characteristics
Settlement Pattern
The Cape Coast Metropolitan Area had 71 settlements in-1984. Cape Coast was the only noticeable urban centre in the Metropoli tan area in 1984 with a population of 65,763. The 2000, Population and Housing Census returned a figure of 82,291 for the town.

                    Oguaa people at Cape Coast Beach

Ekon (3,443, Nkanfoa (2,995), Kakomdo (2,628) and Effutu (2,214) are the other fairly large settlements but do not possess any urban status as yet. Smaller service centres are also emerging such as Apewosika (1,547), Ankaful (1,592), Kwaprow (1,473), Essuekyir (1,453), Akotokyere (1,605) and Anto Esuakyir (1,557).

                                                        Kakum National Park
The Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly area is synonymous with a City District. This is because Cape Coast is the most populous settlement in the district with a hierarchy of functions that make it the nerve centre of economic activity for both the district and the region. About 6% of settlements in the Metropolitan Area including Cape Coast, Ekon and Nkanfoa and Kakomdo account for nearly 85% of the population of the entire district. Out of the 71 settlements in the Municipal area, 54 or 76% of them have population less than 1,000 persons and account for only 10% of the district’s population. Thirty of the settlements (43%) have population less than 100 persons.
This segment of the settlements accounts for approximately 2% of the total population. Table 2. gives a summary of the 20 largest  settlements in the district. It is clear that quite a few settlements have thrived whilst others have had their populations reducing slightly.

                                    Kotokuraba market, Cape Coast
Housing is relatively a number one problem which the CCMA needs to tackle tactfully, promptly and efficiently to enable the municipality and the entire Central Region to be abreast with time. Residential land area constitutes a sizeable portion of the land use of the Municipality.However, there are distinct variations in housing quality among the various residential areas. The first class residential areas are mostly located in land areas that are state owned.

                      Ariel view of old Cape Coast settlement

These substantial residential areas , including the Ridges, the University of Cape Coast and the various estates developed by the  State Housing Company (SHC) Limited are better serviced with relatively good roads, adequate power supply and good water services.  Plot sizes are large with good landscape designs as well as clean environment.This is to be contrasted with the older parts of the metropolis as well as the rural areas where houses are generally of low quality and environmental conditions are unsatisfactory.  The areas are poorly serviced in terms of water, power and telecommunication facilities.

                               Cape Coast Legion beach near the Castle

Plot sizes are very small and characterized by unplanned development, high state of disrepair and dirty surroundings.  Most of the structures have outlived their age and purposes and are now a blight to the surrounding areas.  These have largely been the domain and habitation of the poor and require upgrading through sound planning and infrastructural provisions.

It is believed that the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Housing Project for workers at the neighbouring Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem District would go a long way towards ameliorating the current housing problem facing the Assembly. However, the vision of the CCMA is to attract private sector partnership for accelerated growth of the housing industry.  The State Housing Company (SHC) intends to provide more affordable and alternative forms of housing, particularly for the Municipality’s ever-growing population.

                                        Kotokuraba Market Road, Cape Coast

The CCMA is looking for private investors and real estate developers to play a significant role in housing construction in the Municipality, including a City Centre Development Scheme with planned parking and recreational / leisure spaces.  There is also immense investible opportunities for Home Finance, Production of Housing materials, Plant Hiring Facilities and the provision of services.

                                  Fetish priest, Cape Coast
Population size
The population of the Cape Coast Metropolitan area (excluding Aggrey Memorial Zion Secondary School) was 54,123 in 1960 and 69,495 in 1970, giving an inter-censal increase of 28.40%. In 1984 and 2000 the population increased again to 84,477 and 118,106 respectively, indicating a substantial increase of 39.8% for the 14-year period. The population grew at a rate of 22% between 1960 and 1970, dropped sharply to 13% between 1970 and 1984 and then rose to 20% between 1984 and 2000.
In 1984, the population of the Metropolitan area was 7.5% of the Central Region’s population, but this declined slightly to 7.4 in the 2000 Population and Housing Census. Giving the present rate of growth of the population, it is projected that the Metropolitan area’s share of the Region’s population would not change significantly in the few years ahead. Cape Coast Metropolitan with its 82,291 inhabitants has a disproportionate share of the Municipal in terms of both landmass and population.
The town has expanded since 1984 when it  returned a population of 65,763 compared with 56,601 in 1970. The expansion has virtually engulfed both Pedu and Abura; two previously satellite villages that are now almost part of the urbanised area. The whole Metropolitan area is constrained by availability of land for farming and development. The situation is worse in Cape Coast town because of its hilly and undulating topography.

                                     Fisherman mending his net at Legion Mpoano, Cape Coast
Age-Sex distribution
The male/female ratio is 94.4:100. In 1984, there were 42, 855 males as against 42,583 females in the Municipal area, giving a sex ratio of 100 males to 101 females at the time. In 2000 the figures were 57,367 males and 60,741 females.
Although the larger female population reflects the national pattern, the phenomenon in this metropolis may be attributed firstly to a higher male out-migration rate; and secondly, to the rapidly urbanizing nature of he Metropolitan area which encourages economically active females to stay back and engage in small-scale economic activities. The population pyramid indicates that the Metropolis is largely characterized by a youthful population with those under 15-year accounting for 42.2% of the total population. Females fairly out-number males in each age-cohort except that of the 0-14 age cohort. The ageing cohort (ie.65+) is relatively normal with a tapering of the pyramid at the top, signifying a general bell-shaped pyramid characteristic of developing areas. The nature of the population requires that programmes are youth-centred. However, this does not preclude the provision of programmes for the aged such as social security, pension and welfare schemes.

Settlement Pattern
The Cape Coast Metropolis has 71 settlements.  Cape Coast Township (core) was the only noticeable urban centre in the Metropolis in 1984 with a population of 65,763. The 2000 Population and Housing census returned a figure of 82,291 for the township.  Ekon (3,443), Nkanfoa (2,995), Kakomdo (2,628) and Efutu (2,214) are the other fairly large settlements but do not possess any urban status as yet.  Smaller service centres are also emerging such as Apewosika (1,547), Ankaful (1,592), Kwaprow (1,473), Esuekyir (1,453), Akotokyer (1,605) and Anto Esuekyir (1,557).
The Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly area is synonymous with a City District.  This is because Cape Coast Township is the most populous settlement in the Metropolis with a hierarchy of functions that make it the nerve centre of economic activity for both the District and the Region.About 6% of settlements in the Metropolis  including Cape Coast, Ekon and Nkafoa and Kakomdo account for nearly 85% of the population of the entire Metropolis.  Out of the 71 settlements in the Metropolitan area, 54 or 76% of them have populations less that 1,000 persons and account for only 10% of the metropolis population.  Thirty of the settlements (43%) have populations of less than 100 persons.

Rural-urban split
The Metropolitan Assembly area has a peculiar rural-urban scenario. Cape Coast has been the only urban centre in the district since 1960. By 1984 the rural-urban split for the district was 32.3:67.7 as against 71.2:28.8 for the region and 63.1:36.9 for the nation.
In the 2000 Population and Housing Census, the rural-urban returns changed slightly to 30.3:69.7 for the metropolis, 62.5:37.5 for the region and 56.2:43.8 for the country. These figures indicate that the Metropolitan Assembly area is more urbanised than the region and the nation respectively, and any development plan ought to take this into consideration in formulating its activities.

Drinking Water
Safe water supply and sanitation are essential components of any intervention programme designed to secure sustained family health. Lack of potable water predisposes the population to various preventable diseases.
 Fortunately, the Metropolis is quite well served with potable drinking water. All communities in the metropolis are served with pipe-borne water from the conventional treatment plant at Brimsu. Rural supplies form just 1% of the drinking water system in the Metropolitan area and these areas are also well catered for.

                                        Cape Coast woman
Symbol and Appellations of Oguaa (Cape Coast)
Fantse Kasa (language)                                                     English version
Oguaa Akoto                                                                    Oguaa Crabs
Akoto dwerdwerba a                                                        Tiny nimble crabs
Woda ban etu ano;                                                            guarding their hole
Eduasa a wanye apem koe a,                                             The thirty that fought with thousand, but
Apem enntum hon.                                                             the thousand could not triumph over them.
Eyee Oguaa  den                                                               What would you do to Oguaa
Na Oguaa annye wo bi!                                                     And Oguaa would not do to you?

                           Oguaa Akoto symbol at London Bridge, Cape Coast

The Crab In Oguaa’s Appellation And Its Emblem
Oguaa Akoto literally translated, means Oguaa crabs. Small, sagacious crabs; the thirty that triumphed over thousands. What would you do for Oguaa that it would not return in kind? This lucrative enterprise developed along a stream referred to as "Kotowuraba" or crab stream. The dealers in crabs referred to the "Bentsir" area in front of the castle as "Gua" or market while the inland village was named "Kotokoraba." Literally, "Ban" means Wall /Castle and "Tsir" means Head or Nkum which is coined from "Nkotum Ekum" or "you cannot kill me."  Hence, the town’s residents decided to give credit to the crab and its trade, which established the town-not gold-thus "Oguaa Akoto." Having regard to the nature of the "Kotowuraba" or crab stream, "Nana Kotowuraba" became one of the earliest gods of Oguaa, which were reputed to care for the well being of the people.

                          Twafohembaa of Cape Coast

This stream is now a big drain running from Kotokuraba through London Bridge, Anaafu, and into the sea. Though not given much prominence these days, legend has it that the slaughtering of the bull during the Oman Purification Rites at Prapratam was instituted to commemorate a historic event when a young man sacrificed himself in "Kotowuraba" to atone for the sins of Oguaa in order to abate a plaque which had beset the town.
The crab also symbolizes military tactics used in the wars against the Ashanti in 1806, 1811, 1814, 1816, 1823 -1824, 1863, 1873 -1874 and 1896. These culminated in the claim of the thirty that triumphed over the thousand. It is this ability of the crab to defend itself with cunning and bravery that is symbolized in the Cape Coast Crab.

                              Osabarima Nana Kwesi Atta Oguaa Manhen

As Osaberima Kwesi Atta Oguaa Manhen explained "We are very hospitable but can also become vicious when attacked. We gave lands to whites to build the castle and schools, but also led the struggle towards the attainment of independence. Further, we were the first seat of government and represent the cradle of education in Ghana. What will you do to Oguaa that it will not return in kind"?

                                     Queen mother (Twafo division) of Cape Coast in her Palanquin
Background History
One school of thought claim that the traditional name of Cape Coast, ‘Oguaa’, which is still in use, is derived from the Fante word ‘gua’ (market). During the time of Portuguese colonization, Oguaa was named Cabo Corso (Short Cape).  Later the name was changed by the English to Cape Coast.

                                      Cape Coast Kotokuraba Road. Circa 1910

However, the more convincing evidence shows that Oguaa was a Guan settlement and later got assimilated by the overwhelming industrious Akans from Bono kingdom who later became known as Fantsefo.  "Oguaa kingship, it has been explicitly claimed though not substantiated, was patrilineal until the deposition of Omanhen (King) Kofi Amissa in 1856, after which matrilineal succession became the vogue..."

                                  "Cape Coast, road to Kotokraba (Hausa town). Circa 1911

Indeed Oguaa was founded by a Guan (Fetu/Efutu) hunter by name Gua, who first witnessed the sea "from the Hill on which the Wesleyan Chapel stands." The word Oguaa evolved from "egua" in the Awutu-be (Effutu) or Guan that means a market or market place. In fact, the site where Bondzie Osimpam and his Awutu-abe people after migrating from Dwoma (Mumford) camped upon reaching Simpa (Winneba) Tsitsitsii eguaso or the ancient market-place or site. The "egua": word proved that Fante language is a borrowed one from Awutu and Etsii people the fante came to meet hence their name "Fa etsii kasa fo" now corrupted to Fantsefo.

                               Cape Coast chief with his wife and subjects. Circa 1911

The collapse of the ancient Ghana Empire in the Sudan, west of the Niger bed, set in motion a wave of migration southward around the 12th century.  Among the various groups of people that moved southward in search of habitable lands were the Fetu (Efutu).
                                      Cape Coast native Fante pastors of Wesleyan Mission. Circa 1910

The kingdom they eventually founded after moving southward through Techiman and Adansi (Akrokeri) dates back to the 14th century, with Efutu which is situated about twelve miles north of present Cape Coast as its capital.
Legend has it that an early king of the Fetu had as his chief delicacy, crabs which he tasked his people to provide in copious quantities.  It was in search of this delicacy to please the king, that his people stumbled on a sheltered bay at the beach, protected by rock outcrops and by small running water filled with fishes.
Here, they found sufficient quantities of crabs they desired.  Some of the people later settled down here and named the spot ‘Kotoworaba’ (crab hamlet), now adulterated to ‘Kotokuraba’.
The rock was given the name Tabir (or Taabi) and till today one of the seven titular gods of Oguaa (Cape Coast). As time went by, a small settlement and a market developed at Kotokuraba at which the exchange of other commodities came into being besides the crab catching occupation.
Cape Coast fashionable woman with a unique hairstyle. Circa 1910

The name of Kotokuraba survives till today as the biggest market in Cape Coast.  As a result of this development, large numbers of traders from far and near converged at the area to sell and buy wares, and the name of the settlement became Oguaa.

It must be stated that the Fantes that first made incursion to Oguaa were mostly Anomabo people who can be found today from Anaafo, Jejemu, Savoy,Enyitsewdo, Papratem, to Legion, London Bridge and Kawanopaado areas. The Eguafo, Kommenda and Elmina (also Guans but now Fantes) people also came to settle around Brenu Akyiam, Ola beach side, Bakaano, Asokyeano and University of Cape Coast surroundings. Then there was influx of Denkyira (especially Jukwa) and Twifo people who later came to settle in Abura (where Fantes from Abora where already settled) and areas around Wesley Girls High School. This explained why some Cape Coasters bear Akan (Twi) sounding names.
Aristocratic Cape Coast Fante Woman. Circa 1897

All these migrant engaged in trade until 1555 when the first English manifest reached the Gulf of Guinea, and William Towerson landed at Oguaa.  He initiated a period of trade between the Europeans and the people of Fetu. Around 1600, a Portuguese group acquired a plot of land at Oguaa for 64 shillings, paid for in goods and built a Castle on the Rock, Tabir which was a sand structure.
Cape Coast woman with her awesome hairstyle. Circa 1910
In 1637 the Castle was occupied by the Dutch who eventually extended it.  For the following 27 years it was occupied in turns by the Swedes, the Danes, and again by the Dutch until finally in 1664 the English took possession of it, with Robert Holmes as leader of a joint force of English and Danes.
Cape Coast women. Circa 1910
Between the 17th and 19th centuries, at the height of the Slave Trade until its abolition, Cape Coast Castle which was one of the main trade posts, played a very important and historic role.

                     Cape Coast Muslims, Circa 1910

Besides their duties as warriors, the members of the asafo companies were often assigned to undertake civic responsibilities and also detailed for civil purposes during peaceful periods – they still exist today.
With the occupation of the Castle by the English, the importance of Cape Cast as an administrative and commercial centre increased rapidly.  Several merchant organizations established their headquarters there.

The 18th century was relatively a quiet period of consolidation, during which Cape Coast enjoyed growing wealth and expansion.  However, contrary to this development, the situation in Cape Coast became insecure due to the increasing growing in importance of the Ashanti Kingdom inland with its capital Kumasi.  And in 1805, the Ashantis conquered Cape Coast town, but they failed to capture the Castle.

The late Governor Maxwell, Hausa troops returning from Kumasi  to Cape Coasti after 2nd Ashanti Expedition 

In order to halt any further inroads into what they considered their protectorate, the English built two more fortifications, Fort William (first called Smith’s Tower) on Dawson Hill in 1820 and Fort McCarthy on a hill northeast of the Castle in 1822.  Fort William still exists, and is referred to now as the ‘light house’ because the Railway and Ports Authority later used it  as a Light House.  Fort McCarthy has however vanished.
Under Governor McCarthy, the English tried to drive the Ashantis back, but the troops were defeated and Cape Coast town fell a second time in 1824.  At Dodowa in 1826, however, the Ashantis were defeated, and under Governor McLean, Cape Coast recovered entirely and expanded again.

                              Cape Coast Ashanti Road. Circa 1910

The headquarters of the Wesleyan Mission was then established in 1835, and many substantial buildings including the Wesleyan Chapel were subsequently bult. In 1850 the English acquired the Danish prosperities in West Africa and in the Treaty of Breda in 1872 the Dutch also ceded their possessions to the English, who eventually made a strong expedition under Sir Garnet Wolseley against the Ashantis in 1873, leading to the capture of Kumasi in February 1874.

                         Stylish Fante woman of Cape Coast. Circa 1897

Despite this important victory albeit, the years after saw Cape Coast deteriorate to an extent the effects of which are still being manifested today. Under Governor Dr. Rowe, from 1876 – 1877 the seat of the Colonial Government of the Gold Coast was transferred to Accra due to climatic and other reasons.  The first railway project in the Gold Coast (running from the Castle one mile in the direction of Kumasi) was abandoned.

                             Cape Coast Back road. Circa 1911

Another important catastrophe to befall Cape Coast was the construction of the Sekondi Harbour in 1888, and the railway link between Sekondi  and Kumasi in 1903.  until this time, Cape Coast had been the most important port of the Gold Coast for the exportation of cocoa; but after this event, its importance diminished.  In 1963 the port was finally closed down.

                                Mr Kwesi Brew, famous poet from Cape Coast

The establishment of the first Secondary School, Mfantsipim in the Gold Coast at Cape Coast seems to have given a signal of another hope of development which gives the town a different importance and identity as the major educational center of the nation.

Language, and Culture
The people of Cape Coast like all other Fante people on southern and coastal part of Ghana speak Fantse (Fante) language.  They are part of a larger ethnic group of people classified as Akans in Ghana. People who belong to other Ethnic groups and are mostly immigrants like the Ewes, Gas, Adas, Krobos, Nzemas, Twi-Speaking Akans, and others from the Northern Ghana reside in the Municipality as farmers, fishermen, traders, government workers, commercial drivers, fishermen, traders, government workers, commercial drivers, and artisans, among others.  The entire Municipality constitutes one traditional area with the Oguaa Omanhen as the paramount chief.

The matrilineal system of inheritance is practiced.  The extended family, otherwise known as “ebusua” or clan, is the basis of their social structure.  The “odikro” or chief is the political head of a town or village.   The main festival celebrated in the Municipality is the Oguaa Fetu Afahye, which is celebrated in the first Saturday of September every year, is watched by people from all walks of lives, both far and near.

Centre For  National Culture
The Cape Coast Center for National Culture moved into its present premises in 1994.  It is located on the Accra – Takoradi main highway, directly opposite the Parks and Gardens’ offices.

(A)  To promote, preserve and project Ghanaian Culture.
(B)  To provide facilities for recreation and entertainment.
The main units of the Centre are an audio visual consult, gramophone museum, eco-tourism consortium, a library, and a theatre for performance.

The Centre has, in addition, telephone services, a reception, and conference rooms, facilities for performing artists and offices for the personnel. The Centre also hosts the Biennial Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST), which brings Africans both at home and in the diaspora together.
The Centre normally rents out the theatre for commercial programmes at going economic rates.

This is the annual festival of the people of Cape Coast (Oguaa Traditional Area).  The origin of Fetu Afahye dates back to the Fetu Kingdom of the 17th century.  The climax is observed on the first Saturday of September of every year, but every other year, it is merged with the PANAFEST Celebration.

It is usually a week long celebration that precedes the harvest season.  Its main purpose is to give thanks to the spirits of Fetu religion for the plentiful catch from the sea and the fruits of the earth, and for their guidance and protection in the past year. This year 2013, saw the Friday before the main Saturday procession of chiefs, was declared as "Ekutu Da" (Orange Friday). On that day everybody wears orange dress and send parcels and gifts in orange colours.
Oguaa girl dancing at Fetu festival

Activities / Functions:
The ‘Afahye’ has its spiritual, cultural and social significance.  Spiritually, it is a time for pouring libation to the 77 gods for the harvests from the earth and the sea; a period of spiritual renewal for the community; and a period for the renovation for the shrines.

Culturally, however, it is a period for exposition  and outdooring of all traditional / social organizations.
Thus, the Asafo companies, seven in all, in their multitude of colourful arrays, troop through the streets of Oguaa, with their acrobatic flag bearers and Asafohenfo, or battalion commanders, drumming and dancing and contorting to intricate drum rhythm.  Again, for a week, there is singing, drumming and dancing in the streets of Cape Coast – a real festive occasion for the entire community.

Socially, it is a time for friends and family re-union.  There is also a week-long period of carnival and merrymaking celebrated with boat races, a state ball, dances, political speeches, a masquerade, a church service, a marathon walk and a football match.

The festival has taken a new look in modern times, with visitors from all over the world being permitted to participate.  This means, a much larger number of people converging into Cape Coast and its surrounding towns and villages for the week long ceremony.

                            Elder holding Schnapp to make libation whenever necessary to appease the gods
Regalia of Chiefs
Regalia of chiefs are important artifacts in the Chieftaincy institution and in Ghanaian society. The use of regalia (ornaments of gold and other items of splendor) make the chiefs look unique when they sit in state on occasions such as a durbar of chiefs, festival celebrations and other social gatherings.

                         Festival Carnival

To present the wealth and pageantry associated with Akan chieftaincy, the Cape Coast Castle Museum commissioned the replication of regalia for chiefs and queenmothers from the Denkyira area of the Central Region.

These replicate regalia included jewellery, sandals, crowns, umbrellas, fans, linguist staff (of various designs with meanings), and palanquins.

                     Chief with his full regalia

Other original examples of royal regalia exhibited at the museum are state swords, “asimpim” chairs, stools and royal drums drawn from the museum’s permanent collection.
These can also be found at various palaces of chiefs.

                                                         Oguaa drummers

Drumming and Dancing
Drumming and dancing form an integral part of the lives of the people in the Central Region, Cape Coast Municipality and its environs. There is no durbar of chiefs that drumming and dancing do not take place to crown the occasion.
                    Oguaa woman performing their latest traditional teasing dance

Similarly, it will be incomplete for the annual Festival, “Fetu Afahye” of Oguaa Traditional Area to be celebrated without “asafo” companies trooping out in procession attired in their colourful splendor.  For instance, during the ’Afahye Festival’, the seven Asafo companies, in their multitude of colourful arrays, troop through the streets of Oguaa.
                                                Oguaa women in their Takua

Starting from company posts, with their acrobatic banner bearers and Asafohenfo, or battalion commanders, they drum and dance contorting to intricate drum rhythms.  The drums talk, and the banners are tale-teller of ancient glories.  This offers entertainment to the community and visitors who are largely tourist.

There are various kinds of drums used by the Fantes (Cape Coasters) which are played on different occasions.

                                Traditional (Fetish) priest and priestess

For example, the “ompe” drums are for entertainment on secular, public occasions and for informal relaxation after a day’s work.  The drums are played by specialist drummers, many of whom are fishermen. There are drums that also accompany community choral societies on religious occasions like church services such as the “tomtom” drum used by Choirs.

                               Fontomfrom drummers

Apart from these, calabash rattles, bone and ivory side-blown horns, iron gongs and a variety of other drums and instruments are played in the municipality for secular and ritual occasions like “Afahye Festival" and funeral celebrations.

Birth and Outdooring
The birth of a child in every society is a joyous moment in the lives of family members and the community at large.  Cape Coasters in particular hold birthday and outdooring ceremonies in high esteem.
It is an Akan custom to present the new born child to the community on the eighth day following the birth.

The “outdooring” and naming ceremony starts when an elder of the father’s family pours libation.  The child is placed on the lap of the family elder who dips a finger three times into two glasses of water and gin or schnapps (the preferred libation offering) and puts drops on the tongue of the baby.  Each time he drops the liquid, water or alcohol on the tongue of the child the elder says “nsu a Nsu”, Nsa a Nsa”, meaning if water, water, if drink, drink.
                                                      Oguaa girl with nyenye spiritual leaves

This statement exhorts the child to be truthful, honest, objective and firm, calling a spade, a spade.  The elder also exhorts the child to live an honest and upright life.  He then announces the child’s name publicly. The child then receives the gathering’s congratulation; gifts are presented and food and drinks are shared
among the gathering.

                                      Cape Coast chief stool carriers
Funeral Rites
The funeral of the dead are highly revered and deemed inseparable from the lives of Ghanaians. Death is seen as a natural phenomenon which is everywhere and a part of the cycle of life.  An Akan proverb confirms this:  “Owu adar nndow faakor”, meaning, “the cutlass of death does not weed in one place”.

                                Cape Coast Asafo dancers

The communities’ mortuary practices are characterized by a prolonged period of mourning and a series of rituals that mark the transition of a deceased from the living members of the family and the community to a revered ancestral spirit, whose ties to the living are very much intact.

In contemporary Fante community (Southern Ghanaian) mortuary rites, it is common practice for the body to lie in state for a day or more days (though modernity is changing the trend to few hours or at most a day).  While the body lies in state, mourners file past to pay their last respect and offer symbolic gifts (usually money, but can also be gold, soap and cloth) to the deceased for his / her afterlife.

                                              Cape Coast young girls
Traditional Administration
Traditional Administration of Cape Coast dates back to the 1660s, and is composed of the Omanhen (Paramount Chief), Ahenfo or Mpakamufo (chiefs of various grades or subordinate chiefs), Tufuhen (master of arms), Apanfo or Omanfo (counselors), Asafo-Mpanyinfo (heads of the various companies) and Akyeame (spokesmen).

The Omanhen is the paramount chief of the town.  Originally, the line succession was patrilineal, but this was later changed to matrilineal.
Oguaa   Ahenfo (Chiefs)      
Dates                                                   Rulers (title Omanhene)
1729 - 1770                                        Nana Brempong Codjo
1770 - 1780                                        Vacant
1780 - 1793                                         Nana Aggrey I
1793 - 1794                                         Nana Botty
1794 - 1800                                         Nana Aggrey II
1800 - 1814                                         Nana Aggrey III
1814 - 1851                                         Nana Joseph Aggrey IV            (b. c.1774 - d. 1851)
1851 - 1856                                         Nana Egyir Ansah
Jan 1856 - 28 Jan 1856                        Nana Kofi Amissa
28 Jan 1856 - 20 Feb 1856                  Nana Kweku Atta                  (d. 1856)
"Ornocke Ata [Quaccoe Attah]. King of Cape Coast." 1856 -1857

16 Mar 1856 - 1865                             Nana Kweku Enu (1st time)
Feb 1865 - 1866                                   Nana John Aggrey V
1866 -  3 Feb 1868                               Nana Kweku Enu (2nd time)
1868 - Jan 1887                                    Nana Kwesi Atta I                (d. 1887)
1887 - 1888                                          Nana Kojo Mbra I (Albert Ogoe)
1888 -                                                   Nana Aggrey VI
.... - ....                                                  Nana Mbra II
.... - ....                                                  Nana Aggrey VII
.... - ....                                                  Nana Aggrey VIII
.... - 1933                                              Nana Kojo Mbra III               (d. 1933)
1933 - 1942                                          Nana Kojo Mbra IV
1942 - 1948                                          Nana Aggrey IX
27 July 1948 - 1996                              Nana Kodwo Amra V                (d. 1996)
1996 -                                                   Nana Osabarima Kwesi Atta II

The Omanhen is assisted by a council referred to as Beguafo in his day-to-day administration of the town.  The council’s membership comprises certain hereditary chiefs, supported by persons elected on merit.  The traditional name for these hereditary chiefs is Mpakamufo who are by right the counselors to the Omanhen.

The head of the Mpakamufo is the next to the Omanhen.  He is called Ohema-ose-aman-ye-nan (the chief that bears the feet of state).  The Omanhen is entitled to ride in a palanquin or apakan likewise the mpakamufo.

                          Benkumhembaa of Cape Coast in a palanquin

Traditionally, Cape Coast is divided into seven Asafo companies.  These are Bentsir, Anaafo, Ntsin, Nkum, Brofomba, Akrampa and Amanful.  Each asafo company is headed by a superior captain (Supi) and under him a captain (safohen).  Each company has its own complete organization.  In the olden days they were known as the “town soldiers” who fought enemies of the state in times of war.

                               Asafo Frankaatownyi

All the seven companies have fetish priests and priestesses who are responsible for the spiritual needs of their members and the company as a whole.  These priests and priestesses take care of the 77 gods (every Fantse town has 77 gods and 77 names for God just like Jews) of Cape Coast and all rituals pertaining to the gods are performed by them.  In times of war they carry the god of war to the battle field.

They are also heavily involved in the Fetu Afahye, the festival of Cape Coast. The Tufuhen (master of arms) is the leader of the asafo companies and is regarded as the ‘General Captain’ with the responsibility of giving orders and directing affairs when war breaks out.

A history scholar once described the asafo companies as a “para-military organization of the town youth” to meet such communal needs as warding off aggression, reaching out to community members and cleaning public places.  These days, these asafos are mostly only seen in their full attire during the Afahye period.

The apamfo or the Omanfo (Councillors) are selected based on their intelligence and integrity and always join the Chiefs in settling disputes as well as in the general management of affairs of the town.

                                        Oguaa divisional chief dancing

There are seven major clans or Ebusua in Cape Coast and their heads play  a role in the traditional administration of Cape Coast.  The head of each clan is called Ebusuapanyin.  The seven clans are Twidan, Nsona, Anona, Ntwaa-Abadze, Aboradzi, Kona-Ebiradzi and Adwenadze.  The Omanhen comes from the Kona-Ebiradze Ebusua.  Each indigenous inhabitant of the town belongs to one of these clans.

                                                   Asafo Frankaatownyi

Contemporary History Of Oguaa Fetu Afahye
"Once again the great and historical OGUAA FETU AFAHYE is upon
us. Our festival reminds us of the yield from mother earth and the bounteous resources provided by the sea. Therefore, let us give principle thanks to the ALMIGHTY GOD who has graciously spared us our lives and given us the abundance of the land".

"Afahye time is an occasion for pouring libation and sprinkling yam to our forebears and the seventy-seven (77) gods of Oguaa for the part they played during the past year in bringing us abundant yields from the land and sea, and for warding off misfortune that would have befallen the Oguaa State".    

As the citizenry of Oguaa Traditional Area celebrate the 42nd milestone of the recommencement of the celebration of Fetu Afahye Festival after it had been banned for more than three decades by the colonialists, it is significant to amend here certain mistaken descriptions that have been attributed to it by earlier writers, mostly Christians or Moslems who associate it with fetishism.

This contemporary history is aimed at correcting the misconceptions our colonizers gave our cherished traditional religion and festival. The most popular of these false attributions is its reference as "Black Christmas." According to the late Osabarimba Kodwo Mbra V, Okyeame Ekow Atta (reigned from 1948 to 1996), this is a misnomer because it has never been an occasion for Africans to mark the birth of Christ as Christmas does.

Rather, it is similar in terms of its temporal relation,  as a new calendar year follows Christmas, the beginning of our African Traditional and religious calendar year is celebrated during Fetu Afahye.

The late Okyeame Ekow Atta also confirmed that it was out of ignorance that the colonial governors and their missionary allies tagged this important event "Black Christmas." They did so in an erroneous attempt to interpret the religious significance of the festival.

Using this biased knowledge, they vainly tried to ban its celebration and often attempted, without success, to have it moved to the same period as the Christian Yuletide in December.  Fetu or Efutu was the name of the Oguaa Traditional Area (Cape Coast) until the capital was transferred from Efutu town to Cape Coast at the close of the seventeenth century.

Afahye is observed among the Akan community. Various Akan sub-groups refer to the celebration using different terms. The Fante community, for example, refers to the celebration as "Ahobaa" while ethnically Ga groups as well as neighboring communities call it "Homowo."

Early scholars likened the Afahye to the Hebrew feast of Passover in the Old Testament, whereby Hebrews governed by events within the sacred year or changes between agricultural seasons gave religious significance to such events by conducting certain commemorative festivities.

However, recent research demonstrates that it is the Omanhene’s Yam Festival held during late July or the first week of August (when the crops are in blossom) that bear religious and ritual similarity with Passover.

Notably, Fetu Afahye’s only similarity with Passover is that it claims to mark the beginning of the new year according to the sacred agricultural calendar or "Afehyia" which in Fante means circled around and returned to starting point. Similarly, Passover marks the first month of the sacred year.

The other similarity is the festival’s purification aspect as Afahye could be aptly compared to the Feast of Pentecost (shahouth, Lev. 23:15-21), which was celebrated after harvest time, when animals drank and cereal offerings were made to God as a means of giving thanks and to seek His blessing for another propitious year.

As earlier stated most onlookers, especially Europeans, wondered as to what significance this ancient custom held for the inhabitants of the Oguaa Traditional Area. To begin, its celebration in the beginning of September is significant as this month marks both the fishing and yam harvest time. Outsiders, however, attributed its origin to fetish worship.

Imperialist governors did not encourage its celebration because of the firing of musketry near their castles. Any provocative act by one Asafo Company against the other could spark off fighting at any point in the celebration. Therefore, the colonial administrators were always in a state of apprehension as they questioned whether the musketry being fired was done so in funfair or war.

During an exclusive chat with the late Okyeame Ekow Atta, the Chief Linguist of the Oguaa Traditional Area, the Afahye’s multiple functions were described. He explained that most of the rituals were imbued with social, economic and religious connotations.

He began by saying that Fetu Afahye represents the period in which "the Efutu Year has circled around and is once more with us." This is expressed by the term "Afehyia" which was later Anglicized and thus referred to as "Afahye" by Foreigners.  The Fetu Afahye programme commences with the Omanhene’s Yam Festival, which is marked by the appearance of new tubers and when the first yield of farms present itself. In the case of fishing communities this time signifies the beginning of the herring season. This depends on the sacred year, but most often takes place in late July or early August.                                  

The following week, the ban on drumming and fishing in the Fosu Lagoon is imposed. This year, these ceremonies occurred on Tuesday the 24th of July and on the 31st of July, respectfully. On the same day the confinement of the Omanhen ends. The ban on drumming enables the Omanhene and others to repair their drums properly for the impending festival.

More so, the traditional elders, who by this time may have taken a break from courtly activities, will be meditating and preparing for the occasion. Since they are accustomed to being summoned by drums, they ought not to be disturbed with any noise of this sort. For the same reason, quiet solitude is required within the community to enable elders to concentrate on the impending festival.

This also accounts for the ban on funerals as most elders are family heads, and as such are expected to break their resting period to head affairs of the bereaved and its attached commitments. Thus, it is important to conduct funerals after the festival in order to allow uninterrupted rest for elders and others who are preparing for the celebration.

Since harvest time is a busy period, the ban on drumming strives to reduce the funfair to the  barest minimum to enable the citizens in the various vocations to maximize production.  When there is no music and no booze, all that is left is work. Okyeame Atta also added that the ban on fishing in the Fosu Lagoon enables the parent tilapia and other spices to lay eggs and have them fertilized since during this period, they will have reached their reproductive stage. In this way the ritual activities conducted during the festival enforce aquatic agriculture as the fingerlings are given ample time to mature for consumption.

Moreover, herrings are in abundance during this time, so why not preserve the Tilapia and let them reproduce more? Such religious sanctions have further practical significance. For example, as a result of frequent rains during this time the lagoon  may become flooded making it unsafe for daily activities.

According to Okyeame Atta, the purpose of the Omanhen’s 3 confinement is to enable him to meditate and prepare himself spiritually and mentally for the task ahead. It must be noted that when the ban on drumming is lifted, the one on funerals is imposed.

This ceremony is marked by the Asafo companies, beginning with the Bentsir No. 1 drummer, who will signal to the others with his drums.  This is followed by the cleansing and renovation of shrines or company posts and the burning of refuse in bonfires to clear away evil spirits.

This act can also be explained in terms of environmental and human sanitation as the clearing of drains, cans and tins prevents the breeding of mosquitoes that cause malaria. In ancient times such ailments  were described by certain medicine men as the attack of evil spirits.

After the cleansing and white washing of company posts (this year this occurred by 29th August), the Ahenfie will be officially opened and visitors who now wish to call on Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II are able to do so.

Friday, 25th August represents the first formal  harvest of the year. This is marked by a procession there. On the same day Asafo Companies No. 4 and 7 conduct their clean-up day, which is followed by bonfires at their various posts.  By Monday 28th August, activities start warming up as the crowd starts trickling in. This can be measured by the people who patronize the vigil at Nana Fosu’s shrine, which starts at 8:00 p.m. with traditional priests and priestesses dancing and invoking until the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Tuesday marks the "Bakatue" or lifting of the ban on fishing in the Fosu Lagoon and is celebrated amidst firing of musketry and colorful pageantry. After libation is poured, the Omanhen’s net is cast to declare that the lagoon is now open for fishing. Great attractions accompany this event such as a boat race and regatta. Okyeame Ekow Atta added that before this ceremony the Lagoon, which may have began to overflow its banks due to rains making fishing highly dangerous, might have had its sea end dredged to release part of its excess contents into the sea.
Oguaa Asafo frankaatownyi (flag dancer)

The great Thursday market day with its array of farm and sea products is supposed to be a final market day for inhabitants before the festival. Currently the market has been converted into an agricultural show and bonanza demonstrating its growth and modernization as diverse array of products are readily available.

Thursday night also witnesses a great vigil at the Papratam shrine by traditional priest dances in order to invoke the ancestral spirits and that of the 77 gods of Oguaa for success of the annual meeting of the Traditional Area, which is meant to solicit their guidance in the coming year.

Okyeame Ekow Atta noted that "Papratam" literally means open space for gatherings or meetings.   Osabarimba Kodwo Mbra V explained that the population growth of the Traditional Area in recent times has made the Papratam look too small for the purpose it is meant to serve but attributed this to the fact that when they first arrived at Cape Coast or Oguaa from Efutu the town was small, stretching from Nkum around present day Victoria Park to Anafo and lower areas such as Amanful, etc.

During this era the Papratam tree was the biggest arboreal product that had wide shades so they adopted it as the sole meeting ground that was traditionally recognized. Thus, all important decisions and meetings were held there. In fact, when a chief was enstooled and was going to swear his oath of allegiance it was to be done at Papratam.

Hence, Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II on his enstoolment on Saturday, 25th July, 1998 made his first appearance in state and swearing at the Prapratam.

On the death of any Omanhen, after a cow has been paraded through the principal streets of the town, they finally come to slaughter it at the same place. This was exemplified during the funeral of Osabarimba Kodwo Mbra V in 1997. Osabarimba Kodwo Mbrah V confided again that even when he was a child before his enstoolment, his fore-bearers notwithstanding, political and secular concerns resolved by the Traditional Council that all other vital meetings were carried out under this great tree. He emphasized that no meeting is valid if not convened there.

He also explained that out of the recognized seventy-seven (77) gods of Oguaa Traditional Area, Nana Papratam is regarded as one of the eldest and was therefore thought of as deputizing for the others. During the era before the advent of Christianity with its concomitant maxim that Jesus Christ was the mediator between man and God, the belief was that it was necessary to pass requests to the supreme or Almighty God through lesser gods.

Thus, the present generations have inherited and are stoutly maintaining our culture and customs as handed down to us by our fore-bearers.      

On this same eve of Afahye day there are bonfires all the Asafo companies for newly installed Asafohenfo. This does not take place at their posts like events, but at some of the numerous school parks scattered in the municipality. For example Intsin No. 3 company holds theirs at the A. M. E. Zion School Park at Aboom.            

During these bonfires, new Asafohenfo are expected to display and confirm their combatitive spirits or bravery as well as their readiness to lead their people in times of crisis. This is demonstrated by jumping over flames with others ostensibly being possessed by their ancestral spirits while performing spectacular feats by walking through the embers of the fire barefooted as was the case in 1989 by the African-American Asafo Akyereba.  The following day, people were really amazed to see her on the durbar grounds with no bums on her feet!

While the bonfire shows are in progress, various brass bands and Kolomashie songs (local folk music constituted by band instruments playing indigenous rock music) will be playing through the streets of town. Bands move from spots of one bonfire gathering to another, providing others with live music to ginger up their spirits for a change.

The Afahye day takes place on Saturday, the  1st of September. This is preceded early in the day (by 8:30am) by the colorful turn out of the Asafo companies in the procession of the Omanhen, Chiefs, and people of Oguaa

Traditional Area from Mfantsipim junction through Kotokuraba Road, connecting up through Commercial Street, then wind their way past Royal Lane to Victoria Park, the durbar ground. On arrival at the Durbar Grounds, the Omanhen goes around to acknowledge seasonal greetings and cheers from the guests.

He later sits in state to receive the special guest speaker. After Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II and his chiefs have returned the Guest Speaker’s felicitations, there is the pouring of libation by Omankyeame followed by the Omanhen’s welcome address. The guest Speaker then addresses the gathering with the colorful display of Asafo companies bringing down the curtain on this well acclaimed Grand Durbar.
Modernization has brought about the introduction of the special Afahye State Dance at the Cape Coast Town Hall with the crowning
of Miss Afahye during the peace of the night when folkloric dances of the old times play on the Saturday evening of the Afahye. Following Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II with all his traditional chiefs, Asafohenfo and elders will round off the festival with a Thanksgiving Service at the Chapel Square on Sunday.

Later in the afternoon there will be a football match at Siwdu Park, which is most often between local rivals, such as the Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarfs and Cape Venomous Vipers. Another fun event that takes place on Sunday is the beach party. The whole Fetu Afahye celebration is then rounded  off with a meeting between Osabarimba Kwesi Atta II, the Afahye Committee and the various representatives of the Oguaa Akoto Societies.

This modern interpretation of our cherished festival has become very important in the face of recent confrontations between religious groups, especially Christians and Muslims, because when it comes to the observation of certain rites concerning our traditional festivals, they claim these observances are fetish.

However, it is hoped that this contemporary exposition will go a long way to disabuse this notion. Further, they should understand that during ancient times when there were not any security force or police to enforce socio-political norms, Asafo Companies maintained peace and security. During this time there was a need for these norms and taboos to be backed by religious sanction (as Asafo Companies were) in the absence of police in order for laws to be obeyed and accepted by society.

Emancipation Day Celebration
The Emancipation Day is a day set aside to commemorate the incidence of injustice and atrocities meted out to all black people in the diaspora and all other human being through any form of slavery during the period of the abominable Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  Hitherto, the day had been commemorated mainly in the Caribbean countries.

Ghana has thus become the first African country to mark Emancipation Day.  This was made possible during a visit to the Caribbeans by a Government delegation when the idea for Ghanaians to commemorate the day was discussed and approved.

Emancipation Day essentially dwells on the memorable August 1, 1834 when the British Government by an Act of Parliament, abolished Slave Trade and slavery in all its colonies.  This legislation brought to an end this barbaric and inhuman activity.

Abolishing the slave trade meant slaves were being further emancipated from physical (beating with hot irons); mental (banning of native language, culture, religion and history – changing the way of perceiving things); social and genetic (raping women with the added ill of turning children of raped African women against their own family members) and tortures.

Ghana’s Emancipation Day was first celebrated with a series of week-long activities between 25th July and 2nd August, 1998.  As part of the activities to commemorate the event, a “Matyrs Day Interment of the Runaway Slave” was held at Assin Manso in the Assin District of the Central Region on 31st, July 1998.

Assin Manso was selected for its long history with the Slave Trade and its identification as the location of the slave market with evidence of the activity in several unmarked graves and the Slave River.   The town is also inevitable as a landmark on the Slave Route Project to link the slave markets in the north and other places in Ghana to the Cape Coast and Elmina Castle, as the central point during the slave trade.

With Assin Manso and the district now placed on the map of the World, the area will continue to attract visitors all over the world to the town, the District, the Cape Coast Municipality and Elmina. Emancipation, however, is very much participated in by Africans, African-Americans, Jamaicans and other blacks in the diaspora, who recognize Africa as their ancestoral home, and Ghana as their place of  embarkation into the world at large.  Unlike PANAFEST, Emancipation is held annually.

Tourism Attractions
Ghana’s stocks of historic and traditional buildings are second to none in the Sub-Saharan Africa.  These monuments are protected by legislation, and are properly cared for by the GMMB, in whose custody they are.  Of those national monuments, two groups have been designated by UNESCO, under the World Heritage Convention [to which Ghana was one of the first African countries to subscribe], as World Heritage Monuments: the groups of forts and castles in the and the group of Asante traditional buildings [Obosomfie, or ‘fetish houses’].

Of all the cities and towns of Ghana, Cape Coast, the capital of the Gold Coast colony until 1877 has the most extensive surviving historic core of pre- 1900 building, and the greatest potential for revitalization and economic regeneration through repair, rehabilitation, and where necessary, reconstruction, of the existing building stock.  A Visual survey carried out some years ago, in association with the Urban Conservation Study commissioned by CEDECOM from the Department of Architecture of UST, Kumasi, identified about 750 no longer habitable rooms in the existing housing stock in the historic core, contained within Beulah Lane, Aboom Road, Aboom Wells, Kotokuraba Road, Ashanti Road, Sam Road, and the coastline between the Town Hall and Amanful Methodist Church.
Cape Coast is an ancient and historic town: and its role in Ghana’s history a long and honourable one, despite its still evident associations with the slave trade.  Although a dependency of the Fante state of Fetu in the 16 century, the market of Oguaa was flourishing when William Towerson , the English navigator, visited ‘Don John’s town’ in 1555, and when Paul de Marees documented it in 1600.  Future generations of Ghanaian school children ought to be able to study the roots of their country’s development as a modern nation by visiting its historic sites, and places associated with key figures in Ghanaian history.

For many years, the Castle has served as an educational resource, a role being significantly extended and enhance under the present Natural Resource Conservation and Historic Preservation Project, funded by USAID, as part of the Central Region Integrated Development Programme.  But the town, that has grown up over the past three hundred years, outside the walls of the Castle, has hardly begun to be exploited as an educational resource.  There is therefore the need for an integrated tourism and local economic development programme to be developed for Cape Coast to harness the potentials of the town.
Besides the Castle and Forts and related Historic Buildings and attractions, the Municipality could also boast of an Ostrich Farm at Efutu Mampong, Wetlands for birds at Duakor, Crocodile Pond at Bebianeha (Hans Cottage), Lagoons and Good beaches available for development.

Tourism is a service-based industry and, as such, has been an important factor in service-sector growth. Tourism is also a composite industry product, which has very strong linkages with many sectors of the economy. In Ghana, tourism is the most rapidly growing sub-sector of the service sector. In 1993, the services sector’s contribution to GDP was 46.5% as against 41.5% for agriculture. In 2002 the service sector grew by 4.7%, the same for industry but more than the 4.1 % registered by agriculture.

Tourism, which in the 1970’s was completely insignificant in the national accounts, has now grown to be the third largest earner of foreign exchange, after mining and cocoa sub-sectors. Indeed, it is now the largest growing industry in the services sector.

The tourism industry provides about 10% of total annual foreign exchange and has engaged up to 400,000 people in direct and support services. Ghana’s serious approach to developing tourism potential is manifested in her annual tourist arrivals.

In 1994, Ghana’s tourist arrivals of 208,000 was second to Senegal in the West African Sub-region. In 2001 the number rose to 400,000, bringing in around $400 million. In the African region, Ghana ranks eight in foreign exchange earnings from tourism and ranks third to Namibia and South Africa in the rate of growth of the tourism industry. The Central Region has a comparative advantage in tourism potential. This is seen mainly in heritage tourism, including the following:

Historical heritage efforts and castles along its coastal line,
Ancient traditions, festivals and artisan products,
Unique natural heritage of pristine ecological systems that have been preserved as National Parks for eco-tourism promotion, e.g. the Kakum National Park.
The Cape Coast Municipal Area is fortunate to be the central focus of all tourist activitiesof the Central Region. Activities either emanate from Cape Coast or they end in Cape Coast  resulting in the improvement of the local economy through tourist expenditure.The Cape Coast Castle is one of three of Ghana’s World-Class historic structures. The other two are Elmina Castle and Fort St. Jago.

Other tourist activities are far advanced towards enhancing total tourism development in the region. Some of these are the protection of 360sqkms of tropical forest known as Kakum/Assin Attandanso Forest and Game Park.

Current Tourism Development in Cape Coast
Tourism in the Central Region is based on two important regional resources -the historic castles and forts, and the Kakum/Attandanso Natural Forest and Park. These major attractive sites give rise to the demand and patronage of hotels and restaurants.

The Cape Coast Castle is one of three castles and forts given the World Heritage protection, conservation and preservation status. This was done through a grant of $5.6 million signed on August 27, 1991 by USAID/GHANA and Mid West Universities Consortium for International Resource Conservation and Historic Preservation Project (NRCHP).

The Kakum/Attandano Natural Forest and Park is under the National Resource Conservation component of the project whilst the Castles and Fort St. Jago comprise the Historic Preservation Component (HP). The Cape Coast Castle in particular, has undergone a lot of physical development focusing on exterior wall rendering, lime washing and replacement of windows.

The most significant interior development has been the preparation of museum rooms. No doubt visitors of different nationalities and categories continue to be attracted to Cape Coast and Elmina castles. In 2001, expatriates in Ghana accounted for nearly 10% of the total domestic visitors compared to 5% in 1995. Generally, it has to be said that visitations to the two castles have improved substantially since 1994.

Cape Coast town boast of illustrious sons and daughters that were movers and shakers of Gold Coast and now Ghana`s socio-economic and political powers. Some of their people are:
 Rev. Dr. Philip Quarcoo: 1741-1816; first African clergy of the Church of England.
Dr. Samuel George Duker: 1905-1994; LRCP Edin LRCS Edin LRFPS Glasg; pioneering physician
Hon. Robert Hutchison: 1828-1863; statesman, soldier, philanthropist.
Hon. John Sarbah: 1834-1892; educationist, merchant, industrialist.
Rev. Mark Christian Hayford: 1863-1935; author, founder of Gold Coast Baptist Church and the Christian Army of the Gold Coast.

Rev. Samuel Richard Brew Attoh-Ahuma: 1863-1921; clergyman, nationalist, pioneering Pan-Africanist.
John Coleman de-Graft Johnson: 1884-1956; secretary of Native Affairs, anthropologist.
Prophet Jemisimiham Jehu-Appiah: 1892-1948; founder of Musama Disco Christo Church in Africa.
William Esuman Gwira Kobina Sekyi: 1892-1956; lawyer, politician, author.
Thomas Frederic Edward Jones: 1850-1927; petitioned Queen Victoria about Lands Bill.
Hon. James Cheetham: 1834-1902; merchant, member of the Legislative Council of the Gold Coast.
Thomas Frederic Edward Jones: 1850-1927; petitioned Queen Victoria about Lands Bill.
Rev. Andrew William Parker: 1840-1912; conscientious nationalist, fought in the Ashanti Expedition.
Joseph Peter Brown: 1843-1932; patriot, statesman.
Prince James Hutton Brew: 1844-1915; solicitor.

Henry Van Hein: 1858-1928; President of the Aboriginal Rights Protection Society.
Hon. William Ward-Brew, OBE: 1878-1943; lawyer, VP of Aborigines' Rights Protection Society.
George Edward Moore: 1879-1950; recipient of the Ashanti Medal, executive member of the Aborigines' Rights Protection Society.
John Mensah-Sarbah 1864-1910; barrister, author, published Fanti Customary Laws.
Charles Emmanuel Graves: 1884-1929; musicologist, composer.
Sir James Henley Coussey, KBE: 1895-1958; High Court judge, chairman of the Coussey Commission, president of the West Africa Court of Appeal.
Kofi Bentsi-Enchill: 1895-1948; textiles tycoon, philanthropist.
Dr. Henry Mercer-Ricketts: 1895-1980; MB ChB Edin; pioneering physician.
King John Aggery Essien: 1809-1899; King of Cape Coast, pioneer Pan-Africanist.
Chief James Robert Thompson: 1810-18-86; pioneering educationist

Adisadel College

Some kids dancing