Kwahu or Kwawu people are hardworking and famous business-oriented Kwa-speaking people that forms a subset of the larger Akan ethnic group living in the south-central Ghana, on the west shore of Lake Volta. Kwahu people who speak a dialect of Akan language called Twi and live specifically in the mountainous Eastern Region of Ghana in the towns such as Abene, Abetifi, Pepease, Atibie, Nkwatia, Obo, Bepong, Tafo, Akwasiho, Obomeng, Twenedurase, Nteso, Mpraeso, Asakraka, Aduamoa, Pitiko, Sadan, Burukuwa, Nkantanane, Ahinasie and Donkorkrom. Macmillan and Kwamena Poh (1965) described the wonderful climate of their mountainous town, Abetifi as “… the Switzerland of West Africa, with nights as cool as May nights in Europe”. According to an associate professor at the Folklore Institute of Indiana University, the Kwahu are mountain-dwellers who are considered to be “wealthy …. very successful traders,.., who reside at the top of a mountain, a location which is somewhat removed from the other Akan groups” (Associate Professor of Folklore 5 Sept. 1999, 6, 10 Oct. 1999).
Kwahu elders in their traditional Akan cloth pouring libation to Nyame and Asaaase Yaa (mother Earth) to commence Kwahu Paragliding

Kwahu people whose slogan is Asase Aban, Yεnte Gyae (Protectors of the Land, We don`t quit) and also Oboכּ (Rock) or Oboכּba (Child of the Rock) are very famous for their industriousness and uncanny entrepreneurial skills. Due to their ability to put up huge buildings and numerous wonderful mansions with expensive and advanced architecture on the mountains most people in Ghana usually accuse Kwahu people of indulging in ritual or blood money (sika aduro). Others say Kwahus use Nziema Bayie or wizardry in making money business. For being modest and being highly economic in any venture they undertake except business that brings them more money, people stereotype them as 'pεpεe' (misers).

Billionaire Kwahu Businessman and founder of Ernest Chemist, Ernest Bediako Sampong at Kwahu Easter

Apart from their success in trade their annual Easter festivity celebration which has now been accepted as part of their culture. The grandeur of the celebration of Easter in Kwahu has become legendary on the calendar of popular celebrations in Ghana; millions of people from all over the country and beyond throng the mountains merely to experience this uncharacteristic festival. 'The annual Kwahu Easter Festival has now become an omnibus event where all manner of people travel to the top of the Kwahu Ridge to celebrate.'

                   paragliding on Kwahu mountains, showing the panoramic view of Nkwakaw

Kwahus use red, black and white as their colours. The red represents the blood of their forefathers (ancestors) that was shed to save Kwahuman. In view of this, red (korbene) is used during funerals. The white in the flag signifies victory, which is normally associated to powder or kaolin. It is also used for ceremonies like birth, marriage, funerals for the aged, and also for festivals like adae in remembrance of their ancestors and heroes. The colour black is also worn during funerals to mourn the dead.
The percussion band
                             Kwahu drummers at Easter paragliding ceremony

The logo or emblem adopted by Kwahu people has the following features: a stool, two crossed tusks of an elephant, a background that depicts the mountains, green vegetation (forest) and a building with a cross.
The two elephant tusks that have been crossed indicate the political strength of Kwahu people. The stool is the seat of the paramountcy which represents the soul of the people. The mountain depicts the mountainous region where the people live. The tree with green leaves shows the rich vegetation Kwahu people have. The house indicates the settlement of the Kwahus. The cross on top of the building signifies Kwahus love for the word of God. hese are symbols that are used by the four (4) district capitals in Kwahu and they are Kwahu South District (Mpraeso), Kwahu West (Nkawkaw), Kwahu East (Abetifi) and Kwahu North / Afram plains (Donkorkrom).

Kwahu woman and Chief Executive Officer of Breast Care International and award-winning breast cancer expert Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addae
The symbol used at the royal house of the paramount chief is a stool with a leopard resting on it. This reveals that Kwahu land is safe, well protected and nobody can destroy it.

                                        Kwahu people dancing

Geographical Background of Kwahu
Kwahu Traditional area is in the Eastern part of Ghana. It is located between longitudes 1° West and 0° 15 East and between latitudes 6°30 and 7°15 North. Kwahu is at the mid-point from Accra to Kumasi on the high way. Kwahu shares a boundary with Asante Akyem South on the Northern part; Atiwa District is also on the Southern part of Kwahu and Birim North which is also on the Western part.

Kwahu lies within the Semi-Deciduous forest zone. The vegetation is dense in terms of tree coverage with most trees shedding off their leaves in the dry season. Trees of economic value like Odum, Wawa, Sepele, etc. are found in the forest. The forest is made of three layers namely the upper, middle and lower layers. A greater part of the natural vegetation has been altered due to man‟s activities on the land. The forest however, remains in their natural state in the five (5) reserve areas namely the Southern Scarp Forest, Oworobong South, Abisu, Northern Scarp West, Oworobong South, Northern scarp West and Oworobong North Forest reserves. Together, the reserves cover a total of 37, 070 hectares of land.


The Afram, a tributary of the Volta, is the major river in the area. It forms Kwahu South district‟s northern border with the Afram Plains South District. Another significant river is the Pra which takes its source in the area. Apart from these, there are some other small rivers and streams.

A relief which shows the variations in the height of the land includes the plains which stretch from the southern Voltarian plateau. The variations range from 60m to 150m above sea level. The forest-dissected plateau consisting of a series of escarpments, notably the Kwahu scarp rises from 220m to 640m above sea level. The scarp has two prominent mountains - Bruku and Apaku, and another forest-dissected plateau consisting of the steep-sided Birimian rocks which rise to heights up to 240m.(Ghana Meteorological Services, 2006)Kwahu land is made up of valleys and mountains that is, lowlands and highlands in the region.

                                  Nkwakaw township

Because Kwahu lies within the wet semi-equatorial region and therefore, experiences a double rainfall pattern, average monthly relative humidity range between 75% and 80% during the two rainy seasons. Mean monthly temperature values, as high as 30oC, are often recorded between the months of March and April,
but this decline to 26oC in August. (Ghana Meteorological Services, 2006)Kwahu comes under the influence of two air masses, namely, the tropical maritime air mass (MT) and the tropical continental (CT).

                                            Mountainous Kwahu town of Nkwakaw

The former hits the district twice a year thereby causing the two rainy seasons from May to August, and
September to October. Between the months of November and March, however, the district is affected by the tropical continental air masses making the area warm and dry. (Ghana Meteorological Services, 2006)
The area‟s relatively higher altitude has a moderating influence on the local temperature. The plateau is relatively cool, an attractive factor for foreigners, particularly those from the temperate world. The Basel Missionaries recorded the following description about Abetifi‟s climate in 1885: “… the Switzerland of West Africa, with nights as cool as May nights in Europe”. (Macmillan and Kwamena Poh, 1965)

                                        Paragliding at Kwahu Easter festival in Nkwakaw

Kwahu people speak an Akan Twi language which is a Kwa language belonging to the larger Niger-Congo phylum. Kwahus are Akan speaking people like Ashantis, Akuapims, Akyems, Dankyera, Bono, Assin, Sefwi and Fantis. Their Twi is slight difference in their language as compared to Ashantes, Akwapims and Akyems.
Our buddy, Oska
                             Kwahu boy at Nkwakaw

Kwahus are fond of using the syllabi ( La), (hunu) and the like. They are noted for ending their speech and pronouncing words ending with "La" sound.  For instance, instead of "saa" the Kwahu ends it with  Saala (that‟s it), yei ala (just this). This makes it distinctive or different from Akans, especially Obos who pronounce words in this way; on the Kwahu language.

                                 Kwahu kids in a village at Mpraeso

Majority of Kwahus migrated from Asante Kingdom from towns such as Pampasi, Kuntunasi, Juaso, etc because of wars, misunderstandings and other issues as reflected in the formation of various townships in Kwahu. Kwahus first settled on the mountains to seek for protection. This offered them opportunity to see their enemies whenever any group was about to attack them. They used to hide in the valleys and roll stones/ rocks from the hill top against their enemies.

                               Kwahu 'Chief of Nkwatia-Okwawu'.  Circa 1888

According to Asihene‟s (1996:22), “Kwahus migrated with Begoros and have certain historical and artistic traditions in common.” Roy Sieber in his analysis of wood carvings based on Oral Traditions of Begoro revealed that “Kwahu Oral traditions record a series of migration which took place about 1700 AD to the scarp of Kwahu on the area south of Kumasi from Adanse during the reign of Ntim Gyakari who was then the king of Denkyira (1695-99).

              Adow Kwame, Chief of Abetifi." Date: 1888 -1890

Nkansa –Kyeremanteng (2000: 36 and 37) gave three (3) analyses and perspective about the formation of Kwahu Townships. Kyeremanteng indicated in his write up that the movements of the three main Kingdoms are Kowu Kingdom, Akoawu Kingdom and Kodiabε Kingdom. Most of these kingdoms were corrupted and became Nkawkaw.

                 Ado-Kwame, Abetifi chief at his palaver hall. Circa 31 Dec 1917

Kyeremanteng states that “Bepong was said to be a formidable Kingdom with heavily guarded mountain passes. The fear the Kingdom evoked got its name “Kowu” which simply means “go there and die”. The name Nkawkaw (Nkכּ-Kowu) was a warning to people approaching the Kwahu chiefdom”.
Kyeremanteng further explains another source about the historic formation of Kwahu, thus Akoawu Kingdom. He stated that Kwaw Baadu was a successor of Osei Twum, one of the nephews of King Ntim Gyakari of Denkyira. Kwaw Baadu sent his scout Kofabra to select a healthier site, for their settlement at Anweam. Kofabra selected Bokuruwa. When he perished, Baadu his servant renamed the healthier site
Akoawu which eventually got corrupted into Koawu/Kwawu.
Chief of Abetifi. Circa 1888

Kyeremanteng continued to describe the third chiefdom or dynasty as Kodiabε. Tena - Bretuo group which is known to be Abene left Adanse to escape from Ntim Gyakari‟s oppressive rule. Some other clan companies (groups) who left Adansi included Nana Amaniampong, Nana Ameyaw (Mposo Frempong) and Nana Adu Gyanemfi, founders of Asante Mampong, Asante Afidwase and Asante Gyamase respectively.
Abene is the place where the Royal seat of Kwahu is located. People from Abene claim to be the first people to settle on the Kwahu land, which is in the valley. However, the people from Burukuwa claim to
be the royals of the land since they said they were the first group to find settlement on Kwahu land. Due to that there has been rivalry between people from Abene and Burukuwa, in terms of the capital where the royal seat should be. The occupant of Kwahu stool is from the Bretuo clan.
Sword bearer of Kwahu Abetifi chief, Ado Kwame. Circa 1888

Dwellers from Kwahu settled on the mountain to seek for protection and because of that the people formed a slogan known as Asase Aban, Yεnte Gyae (Protectors of the Land, We don`t quit).  The other slogan for Kwahu people is Oboכּ (Rock), and their response is Oboכּba (Child of the Rock).
Kwahu Nkwatia chief in front of his house.

Kwahus were never conquered in wars by any ethnic group. Almost all the wars recorded in Kwahu history were brought down from the original settlers and warriors from other ethnic groups who needed new settlements as they fled from their ancestral homes due to unsafe conditions arising from disputes, bad climate and other adventurous necessities. The people had to look for new and conducive settlement.

                              Kwahu Abetifi chief`s compound. Circa 1888

Kwahus are known in Ghana for their hardworking nature and entrepreneurial  skills. In terms of agriculture, they engage themselves in farming, hunting and fishing.Agriculture is one of the dominant occupations apart from commerce, among Kwahu people.  Farmers travel long distances to make farms in the most fertile lands on their mountainous habitat. Ghana`s  Ministry of Food and Agriculture in its 2006 report indicated that about 52.6% of the adult population in Kwahu are mainly engaged subsistence farming. Most of the
farmers do not use modern technology in farming. They usually use simple farm tools such as hoes and cutlasses in their farm work. There are other businessmen who also engaged in commercial farming using ultra-modern farming implements.
Kwahu people grow cash crops and food crops such as cocoa, palm trees, yam, caasava, cocoyam, maize and vegetables. Kwahu is among one of the leading districts that produces food crops in the country. Some of the leading crops include yam, maize, coffee, kola, cocoyam, plantain, vegetables and tiger nuts. The Kwahu forest reserves are used to produce Timber for export.
Man holdingPangolin (live) on road at Nkawkaw,. 2007

Fishing is mainly done by quite a smaller group of people from Kwahu. This form of occupation is usually done at Kwahu North district, especially those in Afram Plains.
Kwahu man (Asaase aban) and Kwame Ofosu Bamfo owner of  the plush Alisa hotel in Accra below

                            Alisa hotel in Accra owned by Kwahu man Kwame Ofosu Bamfo,above
The major staple food for Kwahu people is fufu, since plantain, cassava, cocoyam, yam and water yam are in abundance in the region. They pound fufu with any of the crops mentioned above. Usually, the people prefer yam and cocoyam when pounding fufu.
Kwahu people usually eat fufu with any other soup since various vegetables are available in their locality, for example groundnut, palm fruit, and some plant leave such as kontomire. Kwahus usually prefer green leafy vegetable soup that is Abunabun. Other types of food for Kwahus include ampesi, mpctcmpctc also known as mpihu or nyoma which is a favourite food for Akuapems.
Bush meat (antelope and pangolin) sold along the Nkwakaw road

Kwahu people prefer bush meat  including grass cutter (akranteɛ), bat (Ampan) snails, crabs especially the small ones

                          Kwahu women cooking food

Kwahu people use the matrilineal system. In Kwahu an individual is bound to his mother‟s family. It is believed that the blood comes from the mother. The people inherit the uncle‟s property (wofa adeε). Most people rely on their uncles‟ wealth.

                                            Kwahu hemaa
Puberty for Girls
Kwahus also perform Bragoro (puberty rites) like other Akan societies. It used to be an offence for a girl to become pregnant without going through the initiation rites known as Bragoro. Those who are not able to pass through the initiation rite and get pregnant perform purification rites known as Kyiribra after which she is expelled from the town.
In Kwahu the puberty rite is performed for girls after their first menstruation/ menstrual period. The girl is examined physically to check if she is not pregnant. She is taken care of by an elderly woman who has not experienced death of a child before, to educate her on personal hygiene, home management, sex education, cooking and the like. The girl is made aware that she is now matured.
The girl is quarantined for some days. They bath her and pomade is smeared on her body. The girl is given mashed yam (εto) and some eggs. After the initiation she is sent home and moves from house to house to greet friends and love ones who also give her gifts.
Cultural values derived from puberty rite for girls is enormous. It is a sign of respect, trustworthiness, obedience, humility as well as unify the young girls. The girls are decorated with kaolin white clay on their bodies which is an aspect of body art and at times the designs are made out of combs, circular shapes or fingers.
Also they are richly decorated with various ornaments such as beads which are worn around their necks, hands, waist and legs. The girls are also dressed in a nice kente cloth which is a textile product showing great reverence and honour brought onto the family by the girl. They are gorgeously dressed to look like queens. The earthenware which is made by the potter is used for preparing the mash yam with the aid of the grinder tapole.
The participants are given gift items such as clothing, jewellery, doll, stool, cooking utensils as well as various artefacts. They were taught various vocations like cooking, farming, home management. Examples of items of farming include hoes, cutlass and other sculptural forms.The whole episode or activity is dramatic and it is usually accompanied with music, dance and drama. Orally, the girls are been advised and educated, using
proverbial sayings and other means of communication. Libation is poured as a sign of prayers for the girls, to appease the spirits and ancestors to bless them with more children.

             Nana Yeboah Afari Obuagyan II, Obohene and Nifahene of Kwahu Traditional Area

In the past, most parents betrothed their daughters before they were old enough to marry. Nowadays, parents who choose partners for their children seek the children‟s consent first. In some cases too, the young people make their own choices and inform their parents. It is the customary practice for a man to seek the hands of a woman in marriage. In most communities it is a taboo for a woman to propose love and marriage
to a man.
In our traditional set-up, marriage involves the man and the woman concerned as well as their families. Before the marriage, most families try to investigate each other‟s family background. They do this to find out if there is anything that will prevent a successful marriage. They investigate to find out answers to questions such as these:
a) Are they not relatives or from the same clan.
b) Are there any communicable or hereditary diseases like tuberculosis (T.B.), leprosy, insanity or epilepsy in the family?
c) Had there been any criminal record, e.g. murder or stealing?
d) Is the family quarrelsome?
e) Is the woman lazy?
f) Can the man look after a wife?
It is only after both families are satisfied with their investigations that the marriage can be allowed. In all communities in Kwahu, there is the custom of giving gifts to the bride‟s family, especially the girl‟s mother. There is also a presentation of drinks and an amount of money, but the money involved differs from community to community.
The gifts to the bride‟s family by the bridegroom show his gratitude for allowing their daughter to be part of his, the bridegroom‟s family. The customary drink, the ti-nsa(head wine) of the Akan which is presented by the bridegroom seals the marriage. When there is a divorce, arbitration decides whether a bride-wealth paid by the bridegroom should be returned to him or not.
Types of Marriage
Traditionally Recognised Marriage (Adehyeware): This is a type of marriage that is mostly recognized by Akans. Here, the man goes through the proper channel and performs the customary rites to get a woman as
his wife. In this type of marriage, if one goes outside the marriage to have sex with other people, the other partner can claim compensation for such an act. This is known as ayefare.
Suitor/Courting (Mpena Warε): This is also a type of marriage where a man has not gone to see the family of a lady to perform the necessary customary rites but lives with her as his wife. This is not endorsed by Akans but some couples in this category go to the extent of having children. If a partner dies, the other will not be made to go through a rite known as Kuna (widowhood rite).
Next Of Kin’s Marriage (Kuna Aware): This is a situation where a next of kin (the dead person‟s relative) marries a woman whose husband has died. The next of kin can marry his brother‟s wife and take
responsibility of the woman and her children if he so wishes. If the widow has already gone through such a thing twice, the man (next of kin) would not be permitted to perform the customary rite. The next of kin can only marry the widow after she has mourned her husband for a year, but if the widow does not want to marry again, it is permitted. If the widow agrees to marry, the next of kin performs fresh customary rites to nullify the old marriage and seal the new one.
Slave Marriage (Afena Aware): This kind of marriage is no longer in existence and it faded over a century ago among Akans. This is a type of marriage that takes place between a rich person or a chief and his slave or house-help.  In this marriage, the man does not perform any customary rite to the slave‟s family but they continue to have children and they are called ofie nnipa among Akans. Such children are sometimes used for sacrifices if the need arises. If the lady/slave goes outside the marriage to have sex with another man, the chief /the husband may claim compensation from the slave but if the man does the opposite, the slave cannot claim any compensation.
Awowa Aware: If a family owes somebody heavily and cannot pay the money, they can give their daughter to such a creditor to marry till they are able to pay all the money. If it happens that the man finds this servant attractive, he can marry her without performing the customary rites. But if her family is able to pay off the debt, the man may be asked to perform the customary rites to make it a proper marriage. The lady can leave the man if she does not love him and takes the children with her
Bethrotal Marriage (Asiwa Aware): This is a type of marriage where a grown up man proposes to a young lady or a child (girl). Here, the man spends his time and resources on the girl. He buys clothes, gives her money and virtually does everything for her. When the lady comes of age, the man goes ahead to perform the necessary rites and takes the lady as his wife.
Ayεtε/Nsiananmu: It is also a type of marriage where a lady from the deceased wife‟s family is given to a man to marry as a replacement if his wife dies. This may happen if the family of the lady finds some special qualities in the man. This normally takes place if the wife of a chief or a paramount chief of Kwahu dies. Another situation that can warrant this type of marriage is where the wife of a chief becomes an old lady.

Kwahu Traditional Wedding
 A man, who wishes to marry, first discusses his intentions with the girl concerned. He has to make sure the girl will agree to marry him before he informs his parents. Finding out through secret meetings if they will marry is known as kasasie. The man then tells his mother or an elderly person about his intentions. His mother or the elderly person will in turn inform his father. If the mother feels that the marriage
will not be possible for some reasons, she will discourage him. When the father agrees, an investigation will immediately start into the girl‟s conduct and family background.
When the boy‟s parents are satisfied, the father through a delegation, informs the girl‟s parents about his son‟s intention. It is the boy‟s father who contracts the marriage. This information is known as kokooko (knocking ceremony). The announcement is made with a pot of palm wine or a bottle of schnapps. Some amount of money is added to the drink. The amount paid differs from community to community. The man may add some extra money to whatever custom demands. This is usually to impress his-in-laws that he can really look after their daughter. In some communities, this money is regarded as a (token gift) for the girl‟s
The girl‟s parents ask them to go back and come later for an answer. This enables them to find out if their daughter agrees to the marriage. They also investigate the boy‟s conduct and family background. When they are satisfied, a word is sent to the man‟s family to come forward. It is the custom for a father to pay for the marriage expenses of a son. But these days, most young men give the money to their fathers for the marriage rites.
The father sends a message to the girl‟s parents to inform their maternal relatives to send their representative to the ceremony. On the appointed date, the man‟s father sends a delegation to perform the rites. The important part of the ceremony is the offering of drinks known as tiri nsa (head drinks). In the past, it used to be palm wine, but now it is schnapps. The tiri nsa traditionally seals the marriage. Some money is added to the drink. The amount of money given differs from community to community. There is also a customary fee charged to be given to the girl‟s mother. Her brothers too are given some money known as akontagye sekan. Before the payment of the customary drinks and the fee, the girls formally called before the gathering to give her final consent to the marriage.
After accepting everything as custom demands, the head of the girl‟s family pours libation asking for protection an d blessings for the new couple. He also prays that the marriage should be blessed with children. The rest of the drink is shared among all the people present to signify that they all witnesses to the marriage. Pieces of advice are then given to the couple. The man can then fix a day to take his wife into
his house.
Another important rite which can be performed on the same day or at any time in their married life is the amount of money which is known as ti-aseda or ti-ade paid to the girls family. This is what might be showing the man‟s appreciation to the girl‟s family for giving their daughter to him. In the past, the girl‟s family used
this amount to pay any debt in the family. They believed that using that money to pay such a family debt would give her the peace of mind to enjoy her married life. Where there was no such debt, it was used to buy some property, e.g., a land or a farm for her and her future children. If there was divorce, the husband could claim the ti-aseda or ti-ade from the wife‟s family.
The bridegroom sends a pot of palm wine or a bottle of schnapps to the bride‟s father for permission to take away his wife. The head of family pours libation with it and blesses the couple again. On reaching her husband‟s home, the husband provides her with food items to prepare a special meal for relatives, friends and other dignitaries present. This special meal is known as csεnka or aduane kεse (wedding feast). It is a marriage feast which is followed by jubilation. Traditionally, the csεnka was prepared in the bride‟s home and sent to the bridegroom‟s house where it was shared among relations and friends.
 Divorce
When one wants to divorce one need to sit down with the elders of both families and say the reason why that person wants to break/stop that marriage. The elders of both families meet to find if it is necessary for them to settle the issue that brought the misunderstanding in the marriage. When it fails the person who will refuse
to marry will pay compensation. But mostly the men do not allow the women to pay; rather, they say let her go if she wants to go.
Grounds for divorce are adultery, fighting, quarrel and accusation of being a witch. The person who breaks the marriage will provide the Kεtεasehyε (money) then the male representative will collect sand or ash and throw it on the feet of the woman. This is locally known as wagu no hyire.

Traditional Authority structure in the Kwahu traditional area
 Kwahu Traditional authority structure follows the Akan (Asante) traditional system where each town within the state play administrative and conflict/war roles. The seat of paramountcy is from Abene, where the capital is located and they are from the etena/ bretuo clan. Hweehwee and Dwerebeas are newly created Towns; they stay with the chief and offer the necessary assistance.
Twafo of the Asona clan in Kwahu guarded by Kwahu Tafo, serves as scout and are in charge for planning activities for the various wing chiefs. In times of conflict or war with other ethnic groups, it is Twafo who mount or map up strategies and direct the groups as to where and how they are to move. Administratively, if there is any message to be carried across, it goes directly to the Twafohene.
The Adonten Division is the first group to protect the paramountcy. Twafo division, which is lead by Kwahu Tafo then informs Adontenhene and directs the Adonten Division which is from Abetifi, followed by Bokuruwa, Aframanso and Sadan respectively. They are from the Agona clan.
If there should be any conflict or war, which requires the protection of the paramountcy, the Twafo division is the first group to act by carrying instructions and directions to the other Divisions. They then go with Bokuruwa, Aframanso and Sadan. But if there should be any message or administrative role, the Adonten division which is lead by Abetifihene will receive the message and send it to Bokuruwa through Aframanso, thence to Sadan group.
Sanaa Division is from the Asona clan and is led by Nkwatia. It is mainly in charge of treasury and finance activities. If there should be any contribution or any financial matters about the Kwahu Traditional Council, the Sanaahene becomes directly responsible. He keeps the treasury of the Omanhene.
Nifa Division which is an aspect of the wing chief is led by Obo, followed by Obomeng, Bepong, Asakraka, Pitiko, Dantey, Nkawkaw, Kwahu Praso in that order and are responsible of the right hand side of the throne. They constitute the Aduana clan and have a dog with fire emitting from the mouth as its totem. They are mandated to protect the right side of the paramountcy base on the instructions and directions issued from the Twafo Division.
Gyaase Division which belongs to the Oyoko clan is also been led by Atibie.Administratively, they take care or protect the Omanhene and receive messagesdirectly from the chief or from someone who has been sent by the Omanhene to deliver a message. After receiving the message the chief of Atibie then passes it on to
the chief of Jejeti.
The next division is led by Pepease followed by Twenedurase, Nteso, Ahinase and Nkwantanang in that order who all constitute the Kyidom division and are from the Ekona clan. They protect the seat of paramountcy that is the Omanhene of Kwahu Traditional area when Benkum Division, Nifa Division and Adonten Division are away. They take cover and also send re-enforcement to help the three divisions.
Kyidom is referred to as the supply unit. In terms of administration and relay of messages, the kyidom division receives information through the Pepeasehene who is the head of Kyidom Division. He then passes the information on toTwendurase, Nteso, Ahinnase and Nkantang chief respectively.
Akwasiho is also under Kyidom division according to information gathered.
They support the Gyaasehene to help protect the Omanhene and all who assist the Omanhene. Administratively the Akwasiho chief who has been raised to the same level as Gyaasehene helps to supply information to the rest of the wing chiefs who later send it to their subordinate chiefs.

Customs and Tradition 
The Family (Abusua)
The family system is very wide, that is the extended traced through blood relation. It includes the living, the dead and those who are yet to be born. This usually forms the family genealogy. This has made it possible for an individual to become a social being. The family system among Kwahus include: children (mma), parents
(awofo), grandparents (nananom) and great grandchildren nanakansua, uncles (wofanom) and aunties (nakuma), napayin and nephews (wofaasenom). The family system in Kwahu controls societal relations between people in a given society. It does not allow one to marry a close relative.
Local chiefs

The head of the family in Kwahu is called Abusuapanyin and his spokesperson is called Abusua Kyeame. Fathers are known to be heads of families when it comes to the nuclear system. In Kwahu one‟s father‟s brother is also considered as his or her father. The children call their father‟s sisters as sewaa, on the other hand the mother‟s brothers are known as uncles wofa. The mother‟s sisters are known as napayin. Napayin is the eldest mother and Nakuma, youngest mother.
When one gets married to a person in a particularly family, the parents of the spouse then become in-laws (nsew). The man‟s brothers call their brothers‟ wives as their wives and call the wife‟s brother as akonta. The sisters call their brothers‟ wives as nkuma.  The system made it possible for a person to literally have many fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. The kinship systems even extend to cover the “living–dead” and the yet to be born children.
The family/kinship system has made it possible for the prevention and solution of conflicts, disputes between members of the same family which is usually presided over by the family head. The family acts as an insurance system to support/assist the individual in times of need. When one suffers one does not suffer alone but with the entire family. When he rejoices he or she rejoices with his kinsmen.
Kwahu Totemism
The clan system in Kwahu has some common features like any other ethnic groups. The family has a vertical system which stretches vertically to include the totemic spirits, family spirit and the likes. In this way the family performs rituals to maintain the relationship with their deities (spirits). The clan has some animals or plants which are regarded as having special relationship with the clan. The totem is a visual symbol that mostly unifies the clan. Members of the clan usually regard these totems.
 The Totem of the Bretuo Clan: The leopard is a visual symbol that is used to represent the Bretuo clan. It is believed that a leopard once turned to a man and got married to a woman. The leopard did not settle permanently with the woman. The woman then complained of frequent movements (mabrε ne otuo). This was corrupted to Bretuo. Another saying was that, the name originated as a result of people who were fond of picking mushrooms which became mire tufuo which was also corrupted to Bretuo.
The Bretuo family were Akusiase Agosum and his sister Asiama Nyame. Other elders include Tutu Kwa and Antwi Kurufa Daaduam. The Tena siblings later joined this family at Kububiase (Ahensan in the Ashanti Region). Initially they settled at Pra, Ofe, Oda river Basins, Ayaase and later settled at Mampong and Seniagya. In Kwahu, the Bretuo clan settled at the following areas: Abetifi, Twenedurase, Pepease and Nteso.
* The Totem of the Aduana Clan : The totem for the Aduana clan is a dog, with fire in its mouth or emitting fire from its mouth. It was this animal (dog) which led them to their settlement. They highly regard the dog, and anything that they say often comes to pass. It is believed that their mouth is supposed to carry fire (won ano yε gya).
The following are curses when it is performed or done by an Aduana. That is when they go naked before an ant hill and also when an Aduana squats and sneezes three times against an ant hill.In Kwahu the Aduana settled at Obomeng, Pitiko, Obo and Bepong. The Aduana hold the office of Fotosanfoc hene in the Kwahu traditional area.
*The Totem of the Asona Clan: The totem for Asona is the crow (kwaakwaadabi) or (Anene). It was mentioned that a gongong was beaten to announce the death of Nana Onyankopcn and they needed someone or a clan to go and wake him up. The crow went to where Nana Onyankopon was and started shouting Kwame, Kwaame! (God‟s name). Another clan said to the crow, let ears rest (momma or ma aso nna) which was corrupted to Asona.
It is claimed that part of the Asona came from the Buno kingdom, Adanse Ayaase, Mankessim and Abuakwa (Akyem Ahwenease). In Kwahu, they settled at Mpraeso and Pepease. The Kyidom stool has been in favour of the Asona clan that is the post of the chief spokesman of the Asona clan. This has always been to the Asona clan from Pepease.
*The Totem of the Asakyiri Clan: The vulture (cpεtε) is the totem for the Asakyiri. It is claimed that Asakyiri and Asona were brothers and sisters siblings and were known as Asona ne Akyiri which was corrupted to Asakyiri. Asakyiri followed Asona and settled at Bono Manso. The women adopted the vulture as their totem and the males (men) also adopted the vulture as their totem as they were calm, peace-loving. Later they accepted the vulture as a symbol for the whole clan.
The Asakyiri is said to have migrated from around Lake Chad to the Bono state, and then founded Akyerεkyerε state with the capital at Fomate. The leader was Asone Nyansa. He made his people learn craft. They were defeated and annexed by Dankyira.
*The Totem of the Agona Clan: The totem with which the Asona clan is associated is the parrot (Ako) which is noted for its fluency. Probably that might be the reason why Agonas are fluent in their speech. It is highly difficult to see an Agona who is dumb/ cannot talk.It is noted that Agonas hailed from Dankyira during the reign of Ntim Gyakari and also from the Ayokoc of Asante. There was a war between Agonas of Dankyira
and Ayokoc of Asante as a result of Osei Tutu who was the Ayokohene, cut off an ear each of the toll- collectors of Dankyira.
Kofi Agyei, who was popularly known as Okomfo Anokye, was then the chief priest (traditional) who commanded Ntim Gyakari to sacrifice a fair lady as a sign of victory over the Asantehene (the King of Asantes). Unfortunately the woman (fair lady) that they sacrificed was later discovered to be ckomfo Anokye‟s own mother who was used for the ritual. Okomfo Anokye then turned against Dankyiras and supported the Asante state. This time he said a leader or a general should offer himself to be shot as a sacrifice. The man who offered himself was Tweneboa Kodua. Because of the sacrifice, there is a saying that Kodua de ne ti agye Asante-man.
Ntim Gyakari was unaware and thought victory was almost his so he was released and was playing a draft (oware) with his wife Gyamea when some slaves used to entertain them. These slaves had part of their bodies chopped off particularly their noses, eyes, ears, flesh of their arms and their haunch backs removed. They played music and danced to entertain the King.
It was there that the King was attacked and beheaded. The head was taken to Kumasi as a sign of victory. The Asante king stepped on the head as a footstool. This saw the decline of the Dankyira state and the consequent rise of the Asante Kingdom. The Agonas are the occupants of the Banmu stool. Through marriage some Agonas of Asantes and other ethnic groups and Bukuruwa, which is now a state at Kwahu came to settle at Kwahu.
*The Totem of the Asene / Asenie Clan: The totem associated with the Asene clan is Apan (the bat) which is their totem. According to Koranteng (1997:45), the Aseneε clan was founded at Amakom. They were the next second group that got settled at Kwahu after the Aduana. As warriors their appellation is Aseneε kodi Adcnten. In times of wars the Aseneεs are the scouts, they follow the Twafo group. They are always at the left and right wings at wars.
 Aseneε migrated from the Northern part of Burkina Faso and built Peminiase and other part founded Amakom. Some of the Aseneε clan in Kwahu first settled at Kεsepcn, Tutuso and Abetifi. Others went to
settle at Aboaso, Baman and Agona. But through marriage and migration the Aseneεclan can now be found in other parts of Kwahu.
*The Totem of the Ayokuo/Oyoko Clan:  The totem that is associated with the Ayokoc clan is the Hawk (csansa) which is noted for its rapacity. There is an adage which says that Osansa fa adeε a כּde kyerε
amansan. It tries to exhibit its braveness by showing whatever it picks to the public by lifting it high. The Ayokoc clan is forbidden to eat Buffalo (εkoc) but in the past, during a severe famine, they were compelled to eat it. They were been laughed at for eating buffalo, which they were not supposed to eat. The people used to say Awe-εkocfo which has been corrupted to Ayokofoa. The Ayokuo clan from Kuntunasi in Kumasi during the war were the first to settle at Atibie Kwahu.
Koranteng (1997:45), further stated that another group from Kumasi also migrated from Juaso to Pepease in Kwahu. There was a misunderstanding between the then Asante King Nana Opoku Ware I and Nana Frimpong Manso of Dampon who ruled part of Kwahu, Akyem and Asante. The people got married and also migrated to other parts of Kwahu. In Kwahu the Ayokuo hold the office of Gyaase.
*The Totem of the Ekuona Clan: The totem for Ekuona clan is Buffalo εkoc. It simply means Massiveness. Once again Koranteng (1997:47) wrote that „it was a hunter who discovered a herd of buffalo εkoc which turned themselves into human beings‟.The hunter became interested in one of the female buffalos and took its hide. When they were about to return, one of the females could never discover her hide. The hunter finally came out from his hide-out when the animals left, and took the animal woman for a wife. The descendants therefore called themselves Εkocnafo
It is believed that the Εkocna clan originated near Libya and also Kokofu at Bugyeikrom. The Εkocna clan founded Fomena during the reign of Nana Ntim Apau and Bantua who was then the queen mother of Fomena. The Εkocna clan founded Asckcre, Otikrom, Kwaaman, Faabaware, Sekyerεand Mampcnten. Amoakoa who was the ancestress of Εkuona arrived at Pepease from Fomena. The rest from the Tena Bretuo family at Kwahu and other members migrated and got married to other Kwahu citizens.
Totems are sacred emblems symbolizing common identities. Totems which are visual symbols that represent plants, animals and sometimes natural items are carved or sculptured on a monument as a representative of a particular image of told stories about ancestors, animals and spirits. These are also associated with ceremonies. In totemic rites, people gather together to honour their totem. In so doing they use rituals to maintain the social oneness that the totem symbolizes.

In terms of kinship the paramount seat in Kwahu is from the Etene Bretuo clan who is in a person of Daasebre Akuma Boateng is the Omanhene of Kwahu. The same thing applies to wing chiefs, sub – chiefs, elders as well as citizens of Kwahu. Apart from the Bretuo clan which form the paramouncy (Omanhene of Kwahu) the rest of the clan are Aduna clan, Agona, Asona, Asakyiri, Asene, Oyoko/Ayokuo, ekuona and
each clan has it own Totem.
Benson Nana Yaw Oduro Boateng, popularly know as Funny face, SWAGGON PAPA” others as CHEMU. He hails from Kwahu Abetifi, but was born and bred in Jamestown (British Accra). 

Religious Belief
Kwahu people like all Akans in Ghana and Ivory Coast believe in the Supreme Being and a creator God called Nyame, Onyame kokroko. A lot of names and appellations have been assigned to him such as
Omnipotent ,Onyame kokroko (Almighty God), Omniscient Ahuntahunu Nyame (The All-Knowing God and the All seeing God), Omnipresent (God is everywhere), Onyankopon (Great Friend). He is the creator and sustainer of the universe. As a creator they call him Oboadae. God is invisible therefore the people worship him indirectly through the lesser gods and other spirits and this led to the introduction of traditional religion in Kwahu Land.
In traditional religion, there is a strong belief in the existence of divinities and lesser gods. They are called abosom by the people of Kwahu. Some of the gods and shrines in Kwahu Land include:
Bruku Shrine: Bruku is a mountain that is located at Kwahu Tafo and Kotoso. Because of its peculiar nature some of the Kwahu people worship the spirit believed to reside in it. It is a high rock projection which looks like a spine of volcanic eruption. Bruku komfo stands on the shoulders of men when performing possessive dance. This attracts people to visit the site. Apart from that, people go there to seek spiritual assistance in times of sickness.  Bruku komfo (priest) interacts with people. The chief-priest of Kwahu also consults it on important occasions. Bruku abhors water yam (Afase).

Tigare Shrine:  Tigare  provides assistance and protection to the people of Kwahu. This shrine is
located at Pepease near Nkwantanan (Nkeneku). Because of Christianity people do not patronize it as it used to be in the olden days. Apart from Kwahu people, other ethnic groups  also come to the shrine to seek assistance and protection.
Atia Yaw Shrine: Oral history has it that this shrine which is a mountain at Nkwatia and had a powerful priest called Atia Yaw. Atia Yaw is spiritual being and held in high esteem in Kwahu
land just as Ɔkomfo Anokye was seen by the Asantes. It is recorded in Kwahu oral history that whilst Ɔkomfo Anokye was alive, Atia Yaw was also in existence performing wonders in Kwahu land. As elders say he is an invisible spirit. It is said that when he goes to town people felt his presence with a gunshot and also an umbrella will be seen moving without anybody holding it. He has an uncanny gift for prophesy and whatever he prophesied came to pass. He could predict about in-coming problems, warn the chiefs and elders to take necessary spiritual precautions by performing the necessary sacrifices to appease the gods.  According to history something happened and this super natural being left and somebody tried to pose as Atia Yaw and he was arrested.
painting of Kwahu fetish priest

The Adowa River which is at Atibie is believed to be a habitat of a (god) bosom. Kwahu people believe in it too. They drink from it but do not fetch for others to drink. As a result of its sacredness to the Kwahu people they do not wash nor eat fish from it. Kwahu people revere Adowa River and fear its wrath, so it is only on Fridays that corpse are allowed to cross the Adowa River. Due to that corpses are delayed at the Atibie hospital till 6pm before they can cross the river. It is believe that the day ends at 6pm therefore one can now cross the Adowa River with the corpse.
Kwahu people believe in the spirit of their departed ancestors. Like all Akans, they bring the corpse of their citizens who die outside for befitting burial.

Ghanaian hiplife artist, Daniel Morris a.k.a Kobby of Wutah hails from Obomeng,kwahu.               

Moral Values
Kwahus believe it is godly to be kind, respectful, good, generous, loving and sympathetic to one another. Kwahus are well known travelers and they are jolly careful not to offend anyone. They are quite humble and respect others opinions. As a result of their business and trading activities they are noted for avoiding litigation. They hardly go to court and are willing to resort to alternative dispute resolution or forgive and forget whatever problem that one may have with them. The kinship system in Kwahu shows that in any local group an individual is a brother or a sister. This has really helped to show a high sense of respect and tolerance especially in their family. Relatives, especially, uncles look up to some of these good qualities before they provide for their nephews and nieces.
Children are inculcated with a habit of self reliance and also avoid being parasitic (that is to eat from other people‟s houses or rely on others for support). Vulgar language in Kwahu land is highly prohibited and  anybody who uses it brings disrespect to his or her family. People are tutored to use cultured language and polite words borrowed from their elders at all times. For example when one intend to insult a child or is referring to something degrading, he or she use a polite word like "sεbe."
Kwahu just like all Akans uses Ananse stories (Anansesem), folktales, myths, proverbs, art forms
such as paintings and sculpture, to introduce people to moral values. For instance, an Ananse story says that, Ananse, because of his bad intentions to eat food crops alone in a farm, got stuck to a gum in a farm and the next day was found glued to the gum with harvested food crops near to him, means that we should not cheat, but one should rather be sincere to himself/herself and others.
Hide and seek (atetεatetε) or what Fante Akans called Kwaakwa and moon light songs are played among the people to release sexual desire, for instance they play by saying that one should look for his or her husband "Hwehwε mu na yi wo mpena." This is to release tension for children to get to some level

In Kwahu the people entertain themselves by playing games like Oware, Asoba by women, Agyako, Ndwomkro, etc. The games serves as a source of entertainment and also people acquire knowledge and increases one creativity level. Some games like draft (dammy) and oware are indoor games these are
made by the sculptor with wood.

Taboos (Superstitious Beliefs) Eyirwodea
 Kwahu people has serious superstitious beliefs. This has really helped to control bad habits in the communities and to some extent, improve the quality of life of the people. The people have a notion that one should not shout on top of one‟s voice when mentioning somebody‟s name in the night. It is believed that ghosts and other spirits might hear the name and can spiritually manipulate them.The moral lesson is actually to stop people from making noise or cause unnecessary distraction night.
It is also believed that, one should not sing whiles bathing. It is said that one who fall prey to this act will die. The prime aim was to prevent lather and other chemicals from entering one‟s mouth while bathing.
Another superstitious belief among Kwahu people is that one should not sweep at night. Parents say that one will sweep away his / her success. The idea behind this superstitious belief is to protect people from losing their valuable items since, vision or visibility is impaired at night.
Kwahu people are well known in their trading or economic activities. At night they do not sell items like palm oil, charcoal and other products. They usually put pepper and charcoal in the containers in which they put their money after sales to prevent evil spirits from taking some of the money or when somebody buys with evil money it will not affect their own money.
Again, petty Kwahu traders tear small part of the money that one uses to purchase an item. At times they do not immediately add the money to theirs or the money that they have already collected. These things are done to prevent people from snatching the money that they have used to buy items back. Some of the superstitious beliefs have also contributed a lot to check the moral values of Kwahu people.

                                                    Kwahu tafo waterfall
In Kwahu societies, greetings are one of the most important etiquette that are expected from an individual. An individual or a social group is obliged to greet or show respect, failure to comply shows: disrespect, offence, disregard, disappointment or embarrassment.
Rules of etiquette may vary from place to place. In Europe there is nothing wrong if one does not greet or follow the appropriate direction. Actually there are certain periods that one needs to greet and also when one need not to greet.
An individual or any social group that fails to greet or pay compliment to the chief and his elders, Abusua Panyin, parents, sisters and brothers and the like in Kwahu is usually described as being disrespectful, arrogant and many others.
 In Kwahu the period that a person cannot greet is the time that he is going to toilet (private) or when is going to throw refuse away at the refuse dump (bola) or when he wakes up early in the morning when he has no washed his face and has not pasted his teeth.Usually when a Kwahu person is going to defecate, he may say that I am going to see the chief, visit the chief (mere ko ahenfie), mere ko hunu nananom, mere kc kyea
nana aba, mere ko yε meho yie aba. It is an insult when one greets, when going to such places mentioned above. But rather one can greet after returning from the toilet or after emptying the bin at the refuse dump (bola or sumena).
Morning greetings: In the morning, they usually say good morning (maakye) , me ma mo akye when they
are many and some of the responses are: yaa, yaa oba (child), yaa nua (siblings or for age group), yaa agya (father), yaa εna (mother), yaa odo, yaa asew, yaa amu etc. The respondents sometimes add this after responding to the greetings due ne awo.
Afternoon: In the afternoon they greet maa aha (good afternoon). For instance, when greeting fathers they normally say: agya maa aha oo, mothers; εnanom me ma mo aha, friends; anuanom me ma mo aha and family members; abusua or abusuafo me ma mo aha. Response: Yaa, yaa cba, yaa agya, yaa εna, yaa cdc, yaa ascn, yaa krontc, yaa obogya, yaa ahenewa, yaa abraw etc. The respondent can further say “due ne awia”.
Evening: Good evening (ma adwo) for one person and when they are many, me ma mo adwo, Father; agya me ma wo adwo, mother; εna me ma wo adwo and family members; abusua me ma mo adwo. Some responses for evening: Yaa, yaa egya, yaa εna, yaa mu, yaa ahenewa, yaa cdc, yaa cba etc. The respondent
then says, Due ne enwinu
Seasonal greetings: During Christmas, Easter, New Year, festivals and the likes: Kwahus normally greet like any of the Akan speaking people, that is, Afehyiapa, me ma wo afehyiapa oo, yε ma mo afehyiapaoo etc. The response is that afe nko mmε to yεn, afe sesεε na yεte ase.
Birth Greetings: Tirinkwa (Luck), one person is me ma wo tirinkwa” and for many people yε ma mo tirinkwa. The response is then mi ti daase(my luck give thanks) for one person and yε ti daase for many people. Also they greet afiremu, ye ma mo afirimu or me ma wo afirimu.
Marriage: On an occasion like marriage they usually greet awareso oo (Happy marriage) or me ma wo awareso ( I wish you happy marriage) or yε ma mo awareso oo (we wish you happy marriage). They sometimes greet tirinkwa.
Success: When one comes out successfully in a programme, Kwahus do greet by saying Tirinkwa.
Funeral: How to greet when one loses a relative : hyε den (take heart), me ma wo hyε den, yε ma mo hyε
den, yaa ko, me ma wo yaa kc, ye ma mo yaa ko, due ne wo ba, due ne wo kunu or due
ne wo yere. The response is usually yaa.
Working Greetings: When one is working: The people usually greet by saying Adwuma (Work) or adwuma oo. The response is Adwuma yε! (Work or labour is good) yaa ayei. Greetings: Kitamu, the response is yaa or yaa nua and another greeting is mo ne adwuma, and the response is me da ase (thank you).
Returning From Work or Journey Greetings: theyare usually said by Kwahu people when one is returning from work, function, or journey: Akwaaba (You are welcome), Akwaaba oo, yε ma wo Akwaaba,
me ma wo akwaaba. The response is Yaa, yaa anua (thank you my sibling), yaa odo (thank you my love), yaa ekunu ( thank you my husband), yaa εyere or  yaa obi adeε etc.
When one takes a lead in anything, in a function, at work, programme and eating they greet: Adikan, me ma wo adikan, yε ma mo adikan. The response is normally yaa, yaa cdc, wato me, yaa nua etc.
Eating – words of invitation Greetings: To invite a person to eat one may say “wato me” or “wato meoo” literally meaning you have met me. The response is mesa wom (my hand is in the food), ma ne nko (let it go), koso (go on) or me da ase (thank you). Also they invite by saying Afriyie, wa firi yie, wo nim nante or wo nim nanteε you know how to walk. Also the person who meets the one eating can say adikan.
When a person is going to eat, he/she usually says: merekc yi me nsa aba, mere kc ka me nsa akyi aba or “mere kc ka mano aba. When one sends another to go and call someone to come and eat they normally say: bε hwε adeε, mama sε bεhwε adeε that is, come and look at something.
Sleeping – some common words used: The people say: mere kc da, mere kc yi mani so, this simply means I am going to sleep. The response is da yie, sleep well.
Greeting chiefs/elders – some common words used: When chiefs, elders and other groups are seated, the greeting is: me ma mo atenase, Nana, agya ne εna me ma mo atenase or mpanyinfo me ma mo atenase (I wish you well seated, Nana {chief}. fathers and mothers I wish you well seated or elders i wish you well seated). When they are many they greet: Nananom, mpanyinfo, Agyanom, εnanom ne anuanom me
ma mo atenase. One needs to bend or bow to the chief in a gathering when greeting. Children or teenagers or even adults are not supposed to wave their hands in greeting a chief for it does not show a sign of respect.
Women can put their hands on their laps, go on their knees and also wave their hands to the elders. Men can greet chiefs and elders at a gathering by lowering their cloth to their chest, bow and wave the hands to the chief and elders.The most important thing to note is that the people greet from the right hand side. This is the procedure Kwahu people follow to welcome and listen to people.

Kwahu people dress like any Akan group. The women usually put on Kaba, Kente and others. Men wear danta, twakoto, lamp cloth just to cover the private part; it is worn in a special style. Married women put on kaba, slit and another piece. This was referred to as Esoro ne fam kaba. Unmarried women and young girls also used to put on kaba and slit and it was also known as (baako ne kaba). These women usually wear the other piece by putting it around the neck.
Kwahus have also adopted some aspect of other Ghanaian tribal cultures. As a result they now put on clothing which includes fugu, batakari commonly used by the chief priest. Suit and various types of clothing are now used because of foreign influence and other modernization.

        Yaw Bediako Sampong, son of Kwahu businessman, Ernest Bediako Sampong of Ernest Chemist
Ceremony (Adae Festival)
Kwahu people have a calendar for sacred day. For instance, Adae. This is a period for ancestral veneration. At this time prayers (libation) are offered to appease the ancestors, the gods and other spirits of the land and the people as well. People come together to seek favour from the gods and ancestors. The chief priest and his people offer food, meat and drinks for the spirits of the land every fortysecond (42nd) day.
The days found on the Kwahu calendar are: Fcdwoc, Efidamu, Benadapa, Awukudae, Ayawadae, Fida, Fofie, Benada Kwabena, Memenda Dapaa and Akwasidae. Kwahus have selected few of these days from the Akan calendar. Since Kwahus are noted to be hard-work and are business oriented people they do not want obstructions to affect their business activities.
During Adae Afahye, the chief, elders and the public put on white and colourful kente clothing which is a product of textile. They do not ware mourning cloths. It is believed that the past chiefs are not dead but rather gone to the village and are using this great opportunity to wake them up from their sleeping place. Some of the clothing they wear during such occasions have names like Obo nkwatia Aso bayirɛ dɔtɔ yede nam n’ayi nam dua koro gye mframa ebu.

Ornaments such as earrings, rings bracelet, necklaces, etc are worn or possessed because they are thought to be beautiful more than their usefulness. Ornaments are used on the body for various reasons like protection, beautification, sex differentiation, as a decorative measure, rank or status in the society.
Ornaments are usually worn during occasions like social gatherings such a durbars, funeral festivals (Adea, Easter which has now been accepted as Kwahu culture). Kwahu chiefs also appear at durbars with a lot of artifacts which show his wealth, power and protection in the society. The chief is therefore regard as a walking gallery since he is decorated with a lot of artifacts i.e. his clothing which is worn on the body, indigenous, sandals, jewellery, amulet, talisman, headgear, such as (aduasa, apim) hat

Kwahu Easter
Kwahu people have replaced Adae Kɛse especially afahye [ with Easter (Yesu amanehu) and funeral (ayieyo) because of social and financial challenges. They come home to meet friends, relatives and also
use that period as an opportunity to rest.
Most Kwahu citizens come home on Thursday the day before Easter Friday to meet with their family. On Friday they go to church and take part in church activities. In the evening they come out to the street to meet friends.

On Saturday the whole community meets with the chief and elders of the towns in front of the chief‟s palace or community centre. They discuss the welfare of the towns. If there is any project the people come together and contribute money towards it. They also organise communal labour to clean the town.
There is also life band music which is played and meant to entertain the crowd till daybreak. People use that opportunity to introduce new product and sell different items to the public.
They have been able to modify the programme by showing films to educate the youth about HIV, moral values, Girls child education and the like.

Paragliding now forms part of the Easter festivities. This is where a lot of people visit the tourist site at Odwen Anoma for the paragliding. This is a project that was initiated by the ministry of tourism by Honourable Jake Obetsebi Lamptey and the late Samuel Ayim who had a fatal accident on Accra to Nkawkaw road. This project was introduced by some white men. They use the opportunity to
exhibit and sell some items at Odwen Anoma Mountain in collaboration with Rockia.
Soaring with Emi

The paramount chief Omanhene of Kwahu Daasebrε Akuamoah Boateng II organise a durbar to meet the citizens of Kwahu where the President of Ghana and his Ministers attend the function.

In Kwahu, music can be organized and sung during occasions such as festivals, durbars, birth, marriages, funeral et cetera. Kwahus are known to be gifted in music such as highlife and ordinary music.
Music refers to an organized sound that may be accompanied with musical instruments or without any instrument. It could be done by clapping, tapping the foot, drumming, singing, humming, ringing of bells, blowing of wind instruments such as flutes, trumpets and the like.
Kwahu man (Asaase aban) and ace Ghanaian all-time best highlife superstar,Nana Kwame Ampadu

Other instruments they use for their music are bamboo, rattle, bells, apirempirensua, afrikyiwa, apirede, etc. Their music is arranged to suit the occasion or the period especially joyous music are arranges during festive occasions.

                          Kwahu man and musician, E K Nyame

Some important musicians found in Kwahu are E.K Nyame (E.K‟s), Obouba J A Adofo, Nana
Ampadu, Obomeng Mireku, Ahima, Kwasi Ayaah, Oheneba Kissi, Kwodwo Antwi, Naa Agyeman and the likes. Their music is meant for entertainment, religious worship, healing, listening for pleasure, relaxation,
attraction and inspiration.
Kwahu man and Ghana highlife superstar, Obuoba J A Adofo

The indigenous dance forms in Kwahu include Kete, Adankum, Ashuwa, Aboma and Adowa (indigenous dance form). Like the performance of music, dancing is usually performed in ceremonies involving birth, puberty, marriage, death, festivals, durbars and other social gathering. The people sometimes put on costumes when dancing and others dance bare footed. In Kwahu people dance to entertain the crowd,
help to relax and for people to express their appreciation to loved ones.
Adowa dance

When an important guest/personality gets to the floor to dance, people raise their hands and stretch the second and third fingers upon the person or guest who is on the floor dancing.
Dancers at the opening ceremony
                                             Kwahu people doing traditional dance
Some sicknesses are also healed through performance (Music, dance and drumming). The (traditional priest) ɔkomfo or (herbalist) dunsini usually perform various rites and rituals to heal the sick. Libation is usually poured to appease the gods (gyabom). For instance, when a spell is cast on someone, gyabom is usually placed at the entrance of a palace to ward off any evil spirit or someone with bad intension. All the powers are suppress immediately the person with an evil intention passes by.

Chieftaincy in Kwahu
The numerous townships in Kwahu have chiefs who govern or rule the people in their localities. The paramount stool is at Abene, which is the Tena/Bretuo lineage monitor who is currently in the person of Daasebrε Akuamoah Boateng II is the paramount chief. His mother, Nana Gyamfuah is the queen mother of the Kwahu traditional area. She is the longest and youngest queen mother ever known in the history of Kwahu and entire Ghana. There are other wing, palanquin chiefs and queen mothers in Kwahu. They have been able to ensure peace and development in the locality.
Kwahus in general do not take keen interest in party politics as compared to other ethnic groups in Ghana. They are known to support any government who comes to power. They know that if they oppose the government in power their businesses are likely to collapse, since they engage in all sorts of businesses.

The occupant of the Kwahu stool must come from the (Tena/Bretu) clan. The person who is to become a chief must come from the royal home. It is the elders of the royal family (abusua mpanyinfoc) and the queen mother who nominate the one who is to become a chief in Kwahu land. Yet the nomination is to be approved by the citizens of the Abene Town.
Such a person must have good character, but knowledgeable, respectful and all the good qualities a chief or king must possess. Kwahu chiefs sit on stools and the title of the paramountcy is Daasebrε. After the choice of a suitable royal person, the chief is quarantined where he is educated on the customs and traditions of the land. He is also taught how to speak in public, dance and walk majestically.
The chiefs are blindfolded and are allowed to go to the stool room where all the past chiefs‟ stools have been kept. The one that he touches becomes his stool name. For example if he picks a stool bearing the name Daasebrε Nana Akuamoah Boateng II, he uses it as his stool name.
In some cases the chief can marry the wives of the dead chief. It is the chief who decides who to marry. He only has to inform the elders and the queen mother. During durbars and functions, the chiefs dress nicely in Kente cloths and regalia.

 Destoolment
A chief is destooled if he misbehaves or disobeys the laws of the land. For example if he sells stool lands. The chief‟s sandals are removed when he is being destooled. This is announced to the public. Destoolment can be done by the queen mother.

 Funerals for Chiefs
When a chief dies they do not announce it in public. It is the wing chiefs who are first informed. Later they send drinks to inform the other chiefs and elders. Later, a date will be fixed for his burial ceremony. Nobody will be permitted to have a funeral until the chief is buried. This picture shows a chief at another chief‟s funeral with a gun. The firing of a musketry with a grass or leave in his mouth, it signifies that we are in a bad mood therefore we do not speak with one another. His appearance depict that if death was like a war to be fought they would have fight for him to prevent his death. This event is so dramatic which is an aspect of art.
A goat is slaughtered and shared among those who are closer to the stool to cleanse them. For two (2) weeks all the citizens mourn the chief and put on black cloths (Kuntukuni). The wives and children, cousins or relatives close to the stool are shaved and their shaved hair is used as a pillow. Anybody at all can do the shaving. It will be placed under his bed where he will be laid in state. It signifies that if death could be fought by men all the people who shaved would have gone to war with the death to save the dead chief.
At the last day of the burial a shed will be erected in front of the palace then there will be firing of musketry (firing of gun). The special place where the chief who is the occupant of the stool is laid to rest is known as Kwayε Kεsim (virgin forest).
The wing chiefs, paramount chief and elders will be informed about the burial. A day before the burial, at 12.00am (mid-night), no commoner or an ordinary person should be seen around. They then pay or swear an Oath of allegiance at the place where the chief is buried. After the burial the new chief that has been elected is kept in a room. If everybody agrees and there is no dispute surrounding the chieftaincy they can install the new chief immediately.
He is then carried on shoulders and then placed on the stool three times. Powder is then poured on him. His real changes to the stool name and one cannot call him by his former name or insult him. He is then addressed with the stool name

 Death and Funeral Ceremony (as a sign of respect)
Death concludes the life cycle. It is considered a change from a physical life to a spiritual life. It is believed that the dead person leaves the physical world for the spiritual world. Therefore, when a person dies, the traditional Kwahu person, like other Ghanaian believes that he is making a journey to the next world, where he may live as an ancestor. Death is said to be a bridge between the world of human beings and that of the spirits. Therefore, when a person dies, it is believed that he continues to have contact with the living. Thus, the ceremonies and rituals performed for the corpse emphasize the unbroken family relationship between the living and the dead.

Rituals for the Dead (Respect/ Togetherness)
When a person dies, relatives perform funeral rites. They give the dead a fitting burial and later give offerings of food and drinks to the spirits of the dead. The dead on their part are believed to play an important role in the lives of their families. Their role is to guide and protect them. They are also thought to serve in the spirit world as the elders of the family. Wherever there is death there are carefully planned ceremonies and rituals. For example, there are rituals for the burial, funeral and the dead. The traditional Kwahu person believes that unless the proper rites are performed the spirit of the dead will not be able to join the spirits of their ancestors. But if the proper rites are performed they would be welcomed.
When death comes, it concerns everybody in the community. Although there are differences in the ceremonies and the rituals performed for the dead, communities in Kwahu treat the corpses according to sex, age and status. For instance, among most communities, the funeral of a child is different from that of an adult. There are few rites and little weeping. Funerals of chiefs and queen mothers are different from those
of ordinary people. Among some communities, when a person dies through an accident, child birth, or suicide it is considered to be (a bad death). People who die in any of these ways are not given the usual burial and their funeral rites are not performed. When these are done it is believed that such incidents will occur again in the dead person‟s family.
Kwahus observe funeral anniversaries as important ceremonies for the dead. They are considered memorial days on which rituals are performed. Such memorial days are observed at different intervals. Some celebrate it there, four, eight, fifteen, forty or even eighty days after death. Others observe it six weeks or a year after death. There are stages in a funeral celebration. Each stage involves special performances of

Preparation of the Corpse
When a person dies, the corpse is washed and then dressed according to the age, sex and status of the person. The body is then laid in state for mourning. The washing, dressing and laying in state of the deceased are mostly the duty of the elderly women in the family. The public is not allowed to see them washing corpse they are believed to be sacred.
The corpse is dressed in a rich kente cloth with a gold chain. However, they remove and replace them with a simple dress before the corpse is put into the coffin.

i. Pre-Burial Mourning
There is pre-burial mourning when the body is laid in state. The body is laid in state in the family head‟s house, the father‟s house or the deceased‟s own house. Some people lay the body in state in an open porch in the house or in the sitting (living) room.
Whilst the body is lying in state, relatives, friends and other sympathizers come to mourn with the bereaved family and to pay the last respect to the deceased person. The arrival of mourners to the funeral grounds mostly involves wailing. The women in particular sing dirges that tell how sad it is that the deceased is no more. Usually, a close relative is selected to sit at the bedside to receive sympathizers.
It is the custom in most communities to present gifts while the body is lying is state. Gifts such as coins, handkerchiefs, cloths, rings and a calabash are (presented) to the dead person. It is believed that since the deceased is traveling to the spirit world, he needs money for his or her fare and other expenses. The calabash, for example, will be used for drinking water.

ii. Burial
The time of burial is the most dramatic and sorrowful period. There is much wailing and singing of more dirges. All this is because the people feel they will not see the deceased person again. Some Kwahus pour libation to Asase Yaa (Mother Earth) to ask for permission to dig a grave for the burial. The grave diggers are given drinks such as schnapps, money, fowls or sheep depending on what custom demands in the
Putting the corpse in a coffin is seen by only a few relatives. In some communities, it is this time that special parting rites are performed to break the relationship between the deceased person and the immediate relations: widower, widows and children in particular. The coffin is usually provided by the widower/widow or the children of the deceased person, or any other persons as custom demands. Gifts presented are put in
the coffin. In some communities, the last person to present a gift is the widow or widower. Gifts such as coins, calabashes, small piece of cloth and rings are put in the coffin before it is covered.
In some communities among the Kwahus, widows or widowers of the deceased are not allowed to join the funeral procession to the cemetery. They only do so up to some distance and return. At the grave-side, a relative of the dead person pours libation before the coffin is lowered into the grave. Among the people of Kwahu, any mourner returning from the grave-side is expected to wash his hands. For this purpose a container filled with water in put at the entrance to the house. It is believed that if this is not done the person might bring some bad luck from the cemetery.

iii. Mourning after Burial
In most communities, mourning goes on for at least eight days after burial. During this period, very close relatives fast. They stay away from the main food of the communities and may live on drinks, eggs, kola, porridge and so on.

iv. The Funeral Day
Formerly, the funeral day was different from the day of burial. It was a day
usually set aside by the family to mourn and remember the dead. This day was a great
social occasion. The day was announced to all relatives and friends. Nowadays, the
funeral takes place in the day of the burial of the corpse. During preparation for the
funeral, people hire chairs and canopies, invite band groups, provide drinks and food
for visitors and mourners. On the night before the funeral day, wake is kept. During
this time, there is singing of traditional songs, dancing and firing of musketry. On the
funeral day close relatives sit together at a particular place where they can be easily
recognized. They wear black, red, any dark-brown or adinkra cloth. Some Akan
widows and widowers wear raffia around their elbows. This signifies that since the
spouse is dead there is nobody to depend on. In fact the widower is compared to the
raffia which is light. Mourners in other communities may put leaves between their lips
to signify that with the death of their partners they have nothing to eat. In other
communities, sympathizers do not shake hands with the widow or widower. In the
past, some close relatives like children, widows and widowers were shaved.
On the funeral day, when sympathizers arrive, they go round to shake hands
with members of the bereaved family who are seated at one place. All sympathizers
give donations to help to pay for some of the funeral expenses. Such donations are
announced to the public. Death is the inevitable end of a man, but it is believed a
transition from this present earthly life to another life in the spirits or the spiritual
word Asamando.
Kwahus are like Egyptians who believe in life after death and pay attention to
the dead. They call the deceased person because of that Kwahu people give a befitting
burial to the dead. They try as much as possible to bring the dead person body home
for burial. It is difficult for them to bury their citizens outside Kwahu.

Types of Death
i. Natural Death (Owupa)
This is a type of death where an individual grows to a considerable age before
dying. The person may die of some sickness.

ii. Accidental Death
This is a kind of death that occurs as a result of accidents. The following may
be some of the causes of accidental death: motor accidents, snake bites, trees falling on
an individual, etc.
iii. Suicidal Death
This is a type of death where an individual intentionally commits suicide. Here,
a person uses a knife, poison, etc to kill himself / herself.
4.31 How Kwahu People Handle the Dead
When someone is at the point of death, it is the custom of Kwahu people to give water
to the person. Because they believed that the person will be thristy since he will travel
a long distance to reach the underworld.
In Kwahu when one finally dies, the body will be kept in-door for the
necessary planning to be done by the elders and abusua panyin. They would use that
opportunity to go round and inform the relatives abusuafuo and friends. Normally, if
the death occurred in the morning or afternoon the body would be sent to the cemetery
amusie for burial. Also if the person died at night or in the evening the people would
keep wake, inform relatives the next day and bury the body.
On the other hand the body could be kept for three to four days after which
they would bury the person. They used to embalm the body. Some years past, they
used schnapps, cement, corn doe and also special herbs which helped them to preserve
the body. They smeared it all over the dead body. Sometimes they put the dead person

on a bucket or chamber pot which served as container to store the fluid that would
drain or come out from the dead person.
This was done to enable them go round to inform the elders, chief mourners,
abusua panyin, relatives and friends of the deceased person. They use to give people
drink (pito) when they were going to inform them about the issue at hand.
First and foremost, the lineage head, Abusua Panyin is immediately informed
about the dead and then the father of the deceased person is also informed.
The elders of the family of the deceased person have to take drinks and money
to the Chief‟s Palace Ahenfie to inform the chief and his elders.
 Minor / Children
It is the duty of the father to make the necessary arrangement with the elder for
burial. If the person is the first child of the parent to die, they do not need to make any
big funeral. It should be something simple just to mark the ceremony. Also, it is a
custom for them to wear white clothing adinkra instead of black (birisi) that they
normally use for funerals. This is usually done just to prevent frequent death of
children in the family. It is believed that when you make it big then death would
always knock at one‟s door. It is the duty of the abusua panyin and his elders to bury a
person in a family who is not yet married.
 Death of a Wife
It is the responsibility of the husband to defray the cost of burial rite when his
wife dies. The husband has to buy the coffin, unless he did not marry her properly.
Even that, the (husband) will perform the marriage rite before the woman will be
buried. The husband has to bring the wife‟s body home for burial if it occurred outside
her hometown. That is why elders sometimes encourage people to marry from home.
 Death of Husband
The situation here is quite different when the husband dies. It is the children
who buy the coffin only if they are grown. Other than that, the man‟s clan will take up
the responsibility to bury their relative (dehyeε).
 Burial and Funeral
In Kwahu when one dies the body is normally laid in state on Friday in the
evening. This is known as wake keeping and it depends on one‟s religion. Adventists
have their wake keeping on Thursdays or Saturday evenings. One is not permitted to
cross the river Adowa at Atibie with a corpse if it is not passed six in the evening to
the mountains. Usually relatives wait at Nkawkaw or at the Atibie Government
hospital until 6.00pm before they cross the river with the corpse.
Now, in Kwahu they have set a period in which they have their funerals. The
people call it ayida and usually the period is one month with the exception of Obo that
celebrate funerals frequently. This is to help Kwahu people not to travel every
weekend for funerals. Also the elders assume that during that period or the ayida other
friends, relatives and sympathizers would be able to attend the funeral. But if families
have the means they can have the funeral on any day that they want. Some people
prefer to have it alone.
Those who do not have the means and cannot keep the body for long can bury
the corpse on any day but can wait to perform the funeral rite during the ayida where
they will have the opportunity to have a lot of people to mourn with them
On Saturday a religious service takes place when prayers are said for the
deceased person if he or she was a Christian. Tributes about the deceased are read by
relatives and friends on Saturday in the morning. It is the children of the deceased
person who dig the grave for burial. They take the coffin with the body to the cemetery
for burial. On their return from the cemetery water is placed at the entrance of the
house for people who went to the cemetery to wash their hands.
 Funeral: (Ayieyε)
After the burial which usually occurs on Saturday, people pay their last respect
to the dead person. People get to the funeral grounds with wine or drinks as a token for
the bereaved family. The wine nsawa would be put in a gourd and shared for the
Still some people donate drinks – soft and strong together with money to the
deceased person‟s family instead of wine. Probably the dead person left relatives that
need to be taken care of.
During the funeral the bereaved family serves food and drinks of all kinds for
the relatives and friends since they have sat long and might be hungry. There is always
a master of the funeral ceremony nea cte ayipaso. Now it has been modified, there is
an announcer who keeps people informed about what goes on at the funeral grounds.
People then listen to music and dance till they close.
In Kwahu the funeral ceremony comes to an end exactly six o‟clock in the
evening. On Monday, the Abusua Panyin, elders, relatives, children and family
members of the deceased person sit down and deliberate on issues about the funeral.
The elders look for a successor to replace the deceased so that he/she will be
able to take care of the things the deceased has left behind. The heir (odiadefo) can be
selected from the same lineage, the same house or from another house of the same
lineage. For example if the husband dies, the eldest brother in his house or other clan
of another house can be selected to replace the deceased and take over his property.
If he left behind a wife/wives or children, his brother can marry the wife or
wives and care for the children as his own. Also his brother can decide not to marry
his brother‟s wife or wives. They also calculate the cost that was incurred during the
funeral celebration. If there was any loss they will share it among the family, and the
children. After the funeral rite the family members or relatives, go round and thank
friends and sympathizers who came to assist or mourn with them.
The family members finally go to their respective places where they came from. After
forty (40) days the relatives open the deceased trunk or box (adaka).

What is the function of the “Queen Mother” tradition among the Kwahu people of Ghana?

Social organization in all Akan kingdoms is based on matrilineal descent. Within kingdoms, the basic group is the clan, of which there are eight in total, with members of each clan often occupying every town and village (Encyclopedia of Worm Cultures 1995, p. 11-12; Associate Professor of Folklore 6 Oct. 1999). Each town or village has a royal family (the family that first settled there), and from this royal family the chief and the queen mother are selected by the elders of the royal family, the chief, or the queen mother (Associate Professor of Folklore 6 Oct. 1999). Occasionally the chief and queen mother are related to each other as mother and son, but more often they are uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, cousins, etc. A carved wooden stool is the symbol of authority, and the chief and queen mother are “enstooled,” as European monarchs are enthroned (Stoeltje 1997, p. 51; Associate Professor of Folklore 6 Oct. 1999).

Queen mothers are the “most important” officials involved in selection of the chief and are–sometimes called the “supreme king makers” (Encyclopedia of World Cultures 1995, p. 12; Ofori 11 Nov. 1991). The queen mother is knowledgeable of the clan genealogy, and she may have her own court and be assisted by other clan officials (Encyclopedia of Worm Cultures 1995, p. 11-12; Ofori 11 Nov. 1991). “One of [the queen mother's] major roles, and some would argue that it is definitively her major role, is to advise the chief on all matters” (Stoeltje 1997, p. 52).

There are instances in which “outsiders,” including American researchers, activists, and Winnie Mandela, have been enstooled as queen mothers (South Wales Evening Post 5 June 1998; New York Times 5 Oct. 1997; Ethnic NewsWatch 16 July 1997; Ethnic NewsWatch 21 May 1997; Ethnic NewsWatch 27 April 1996; Ethnic NewsWatch 21 May 1994; AP 24 Nov. 1994). Non-citizens of a community must first be adopted into the royal family and elders of the locality deliberate and propose the possibility of the individual’s enstoolment to the people (Ethnic NewsWatch 21 May 1994).

There are queen mothers of varying ranks. The queen mother on the local town or village level has a lesser status than the “paramount queen mothers,” who have lesser status than the one head queen mother in the kingdom (Stoeltje 1997, p. 52). Each town and village is different–for instance, generally it is not allowed that the queen mother and chief in a locality be mother and son, but in some areas, such as Juaben, near Kumasi, this is still allowed. These differences, however, “do not alter the overall system” (Associate Professor of Folklore 5 Sept. 1999).

Various religious beliefs and activities co-exist and are practiced side by side among the Akan (Encyclopedia of Worm Cultures 1995, p. 11-12). Christianity has been a strong influence in Ghana since the 19th Century (Associate Professor of Folklore 6 Oct. 1999). Islam also has a long history among the Akan, and Akan royalty used Muslim scribes for court duties (Encyclopedia of Worm Cultures 1995, p. 11-12). Yet there are many in Ghana who still practice indigenous religion. Although many Ghanaians are comfortable practicing Christianity and ancient custom together, there are those whose devotion to one precludes any adherence to the other (Associate Professor of Folklore 5 Sept. 1999, 6 Oct. 1999).

According to the associate professor at the Folklore Institute at Indiana University:

The rites of passage which functioned to recognize a girl’s transition to adulthood have ceased to be practiced as a result of the influences of modernization (Christianity and education, for example). These rites honored a young woman through feasting and through serving her; she was taken to the queenmother for public recognition of her new status. Although the rites are no longer performed, many individuals continue to inform the queenmother of the onset of puberty (10 Oct. 1999).

The queen mothers’ authority has always rested (and continues to rest) in the perception by themselves and others that they possess knowledge and wisdom in important areas such as tradition, legal and political matters, and genealogy. Queen mothers are still viewed as keepers of tradition and “king-makers,” and in their continuing role of safeguarding women’ s welfare, they have taken up growing “modem” civic issues such as child care, education for women, drag addiction, and teenage pregnancy (Ofori 11 Nov. 1991; Associate Professor of Folklore 10 Oct. 1999).

What would happen if a woman were to refuse the Queen Mother position?

American and Ghanaian scholars in chieftaincy issues who were consulted on the question of possible harm to individuals who refuse the position of queen mother did not know of any instances of such harm (Assistant Professor of Linguistics 13 Sept. 1999; Associate Professor of Folklore 5 Sept. 1999; Associate Professor 5 Aug. 1999; Associate Professor of Linguistics and African Languages 12 April 1999). According to the associate professor at the Folklore Institute:

For a wide number of reasons, some individuals may be reluctant to accept the position of queen mother (or chief). Therefore, sometimes negotiations can become protracted over time. Reasons for this reluctance may include the exercise of personal choice in matters of career or marriage, and/or personal feelings about religion as well. Many Ghanaians practice Christianity and Custom simultaneously, but others choose one or the other, so feelings about religion could be among the reasons an individual chooses not to accept the position of queen mother. It is important to note that religion, the kinship system, the political system (known as chieftaincy), gender roles, the legal system, the ritual system, are all integrated; the term “custom” refers to the entire socio/political/cultural indigenous system which functioned prior to colonization and continues today though it has been much affected by modernization (10 Oct. 1999).

An associate professor at Indiana University stated that “there are several people wanting to be chiefs and queenmothers so refusing to be a chief or queenmother is a welcome news [sic] to [those who make the chief/queenmother selection]. This helps to reduce the often crowded contestants” (Associate Professor of Linguistics 13 Sept. 1999).

According to the professor at the Folklore Institute:

A particular family may try to persuade a woman to sit on the stool, and they may be disappointed if she doesn’t. However, it is very unlikely that such an individual would be ostracized to the point of complete isolation from the community or destitution for refusing to become queen mother. In most instances in which a person is reluctant to serve, it is because she has developed another career and family life that would be disrupted by assuming the role of queen mother. They almost always have removed themselves…from the town or village already and have become part of another community though most Ghanaians maintain strong links to their hometown (6, 10 Oct. 1999).

In the known rare cases where violence has flared up in queen mother and chieftaincy issues it has been when someone wants to be enstooled as chief and someone else thinks that person should not be chief (Associate Professor of Folklore 5 Sept. 1999). The associate professor at the Folklore Institute said that “feelings can run high when it comes to questions of succession to the position of chief, in particular, and occasionally violence erupts in the midst of a chieftaincy dispute, but it is very rare” (5 Sept. 1999, 6, 10 Oct. 1999). “Even when hostilities develop, they do so around factions because these issues usually involve lineages, or families, and though one individual may be the focus of the dispute, people do not isolate the individual. The rare instances in which a person can be isolated do not occur in conjunction with disputes over chieftaincy” (Associate Professor of Folklore 10 Oct. 1999).

The associate professor at the Folklore Institute also stated:

Today many chiefs are very well educated people with university degrees, some of which have been earned in Ghana and some in Britain and in the U.S. Often they are lawyers, engineers, accountants and businessmen. Fewer queen mothers are as well educated, but there is a widespread effort to persuade educated women to take the position of queen mother and bring education and development into the village or region. Due to the effects of modernization and education for over a century, many precolonial laws, rituals, and practices have been changed or have long since disappeared” (10 Oct. 1999).

                                Dr Beatrice Addae

Kwahu man Mr. Kwame Ofosu-Bamfo (Sikkens), industrialist and businessman (right)

                              Obrafour, Ghana hiplife artist

E K Nyame


  1. Just come yesterday from a wedding in Kwahu. Great hospitality, friendship, fun and traditions. Lovely people in a wonderful fresh scenery of mountains and forest.
    Graziano Spiandore

  2. Waiting for asantes I have heard so much about them

    1. one luvli people try going there too and u will luv it.

  3. my luvli people, home sweet home,gone are the days when we use to wake up very early to fetch water from d3d3m in nkwetia before praparing to sch with ma sibling. some lovely memories aaaoooowwww i miz home.

  4. am a kwahu woman myself..and we are a proud people!!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.


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