To Betray or Not to Betray: One Story of Our African Elite.

“I am of opinion that all kings should have the same religion, therefore I accept the Church of England and am willing to attend same.” ~ Nana Agyeman Prempeh I.

The problem with traitors, like the more-educated-than-his-ancestors (the Metha), is that he is unaware of his treachery. In fact, the Metha believes that his treachery is, in particular, the salvation that his people need. Traitors are fully convinced, often under pressure, or they make themselves believe under some pressure, that the result of their act is to free their own people or to teach a lesson to their people when in fact the truth of their act is selfishness.

For this reason, traitors are not sane. They either mistake their own unforgivable treachery for patriotism or they force themselves to believe that their mischief is in fact, justified.

Let’s get down to some concrete matter in order that we can solidify this idea in practice. I have a few places to turn to make a pure example, but I shall choose some very old narrative from the Asante Kingdom on the erstwhile Colonial British Gold Coast in West Africa. This example is bound to get me in some trouble and so to avoid any disturbing outrage of ethnic sentimentality I shall only enlist an Asante historiographer for the full effect.

In the interim, before I make my point, let’s recall the old narrative about Okomfo Anokye of the Asante Kingdom that has been told in countless ways. The gist, however, remains a thing of conspicuous marvel and complete admiration. The Asantes, who were dominated by the Denkyira up until the end of the seventeenth century, became a remarkable kingdom in West Africa ever since. How did they do it? In order to throw off the yoke of Denkyira, Nana Osei Tutu (who is regarded as the first king of the Asante Kingdom) enlisted his Chief Priest, Okomfo Anokye, to do the unimaginable.

Out of all the political transformations that took place under Nana Osei Tutu to unite the Asantes, nothing was more profound than the actions of Okomfo Anokye. The Priest employed his spiritual influence, via the charming of the Golden Stool (out of the Skies, or not), called the Sika Dwa Kofi, to transform the entirety of what has come to be known as the Asante Kingdom. That stool was the divine throne of Asante, and the key word here is divine. That divinity sat on its own throne, the Hwedom Dwa. The Golden Stool was in sum the soul of the Asante Kingdom, and without that stool, there was no Asante Kingdom.

Where, you might ask, am I going with all of this stuff? In Asante, in those days, there was no bigger traitor than one who betrayed the Golden Stool. Essentially, one can only meet his death for daring to betray the divine throne of the Asante Kingdom. It was not that the divinity was blood-thirsty, but if religious rules in Asante were absolute rules, then the full commitment to the Golden Stool was paramount. End of story.

How then, according to Prof. Adu Boahen (1932 – 2006) —an astute Asante historiographer himself—has the Royals of Asante now become predominant members of the British Christian Cult, the Anglican Church?

Let’s get to it: Perhaps few have raised this political and spiritual confusion at play with modern kingship in Asante for fear of some ethnic backlash. And so I ask, and this is my point: Can the King of Asante still swear allegiance to the Golden Stool and still occupy the first pew of the Anglican cult in Kumase?

I don’t need an answer. Not necessarily. What I want is to paint the picture of our traditional elites’ political and spiritual genuflection before colonial British impressions. Prof. Adu Boahen explains that, “If today the Oyoko family of Kumase and its descendants are predominantly Anglican, and if the Anglican Church in Kumase is more or less their official church, this is because of the conversion and religious activities of Agyeman Prempeh.”

How on Mother Earth, can a man, an Asante king himself, but who is exiled and kept on a concentration camp in the Seychelles still manage to convert an entire royal clan from the divinity of the Golden Stool to the divinity of Yahweh—Jesus Christ—and The Ghost of the Anglican Church? How?

It is simple. The work of Nana Agyeman Prempeh (who ruled Asante from 1888 until his death in 1931) on the entire royal family of Asante, way down from Seychelles, where he was kept as a prisoner of war, was not so much an issue of spiritual conversion from the Stool to Jesus per se. This is important but not actually significant.

It was a re-alignment of the Asante royals, at least in the mind of Prempeh, with the British royal family that even Prof. Adu Boahen completely missed. It was an abandonment of Asante. An abandonment of the soul of Asante by the royals. It was a betrayal.

According to the same Prof. Adu Boahen, “… upon his [Nana Agyeman Prempeh’s] arrival in the Seychelles, Anglican and Roma Catholic priests rushed to convert him and he asked them: “What religion is the king of England?” The Anglican Priest replied quickly. “Oh,” said Prempeh, “I am of opinion that all kings should have the same religion, therefore I accept the Church of England and am willing to attend same.”

This is how the colonial Anglican cult became the “official church” of the royals.

It should therefore, not confuse the humble reader that when our African elite act as though the plight of the masses don’t matter—when they act as though Galamsey, which is destroying every river, lake and water body in Ghana today does not matter—it is not entirely out of ignorance. It is often a matter of an (unconscious) unceasing genuflection before the royals of Europe and Euro-America. Some of our elites, some of our traditional royals, truly believe in the wild imaginations of W. E. B. Dubois that they are in fact the so-called “Talented Tenth”. That they, and only they, should sit with the feudal kings of Europe and divide up the continent for their utter consumption.

Such elites are traitors. But we hardly muster the courage to notice or even call out the treachery. They, like Prempeh received some mission school education. They are more-educated-than-their ancestors, the Metha. These traitors are fully convinced, often under pressure, or even disillusionment, or they make themselves believe under some pressure or cynicism, that the result of their act is to free their own people or to teach a lesson to their people when in fact the truth of their act is to save themselves and their coterie. For this reason, traitors are not sane. They either mistake their own unforgivable treachery for patriotism or they force themselves to believe that their mischief is in fact, justified.

Prempeh (baptized as Edward, after the British feudal king by the same name) truly believed in turning Asante’s royals from the divinity of the Golden Stool, conjured (or not) from the Skies by Okomfo Anokye (a founding partner of Asante), to the divinity of the holy trinity of the colonial British Anglican cult. Prempeh used his own son, John, to embark on this Anglican Mission—this betrayal of the Golden Stool. Within this context, and this context alone, how can one say an Asante still exists? How can one even take seriously the traditional rituals of the Asantehene?

The rest of the matter, about our abandonment at the hands of our Metha elite, is only an ejaculation outside of the hard facts. Did Prempeh and those who came after him betray the stool or not? You bet! Yet, this is only one story of our proud dying past—of a brave, but dying African elitism, the likes of the Anokyes.

117 COMMENTS

  1. Dont write about that which u know little about. You only deny your image. You dont understand the Asante nation or its history refrain from showing ur ignorance please

    • Ekow Stone he definitely has a right to criticize and his views represents the views of a section of us Asantes.

    • Ekow Stone he’s right in every sense. Everything written is a clear demonstration of a deep comprehension Asante history and what Asante stood for.
      Narmer Amenuti peawwwwww

    • Gyamfi Okumanini I’ve often maintained that the strength of a culture resided in its ability to allow criticism both from the inside and outside of it.

      Criticism should never be indicted, he made his submissions devoid of disrespect and that shouldn’t be discouraged.

    • Ama Owusuah Boateng and Gyamfi Okumanini. My only “ethnic” connection to Asante is merely distant. And so I appreciate the proper Asante support. It seems to me that in our part of the world, ethnic politics makes it exceedingly difficult to enjoy interpretations of our proud historical past. Thanks!

    • Narmer Amenuti regardless of your ethnic affinity, ASANTE is supposed to show leadership in the decolonization battle considering it’s history. You’re spot on.

  2. Ekow Stone Are you still to the oblivious that The Golden Stool has been tempered and therefore our Asante souls have been traded for christianity? We have been betrayed.

    Im an Ɔyokoɔ, but surely my clan, by way of the Asante Royals have let The Entire Asante Nation down.

  3. Gyamfi Okumanini. Asante has not showed any decolonisation battle from it history with the recent one being the nlm.

    • Gyamfi Okumanini hahahaaa…read the book mission from gold coast to ashanti and you will see the demand of the otumfou and comoare with what Narmer Amenuti is saying.

      they crave for whiteman things as their own.

  4. Narmer Amenuti u know the torbgi dzikpi which among evveh families.

    Ekow Stone but the europeans understand the history?right…?

    • Kwame, I’m thinking about some of the points you raised when we talked yesterday.

      I really didn’t look at Agyemang Prempeh’s conversion this way until I chanced upon Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II’s allegiance to Christ video that circulated social media sometime ago. Aside from the sense of disappointment I felt, the toils of Okomfo Anokye and Otumfuo Osei-Tutu I, and those who died for the Kingdom came to mind. Did they die for that? Has it ever a been a tradition for a King to swear allegiance to a deity, never mind a foreign deity? Did Otumfuo Osei-Tutu I (one of the founding fathers, if not the founding father) swear allegiance to Okomfo Anokye to the point of implying that Anokye was the overall ruler?

      For many Asantes, and non Asantes like me, the authenticity of the kingdom of Asante has been a source of pride, especially those of us who love to think that we would have managed nicely without western interference.

      But how authentic can a tradition be if its soul is foreign? How authentic can it be if the European still managed to trick your most revered leader to see your deities, that which bound the spirits of the nation together and made it stronger never mind making it come into existence, as inferior?

      Maybe Asantes of the Christian faith see nothing wrong, and they are entitled to feel that way, but you cannot believe in tradition, especially our chieftancy institutions (Kingdoms of old), and still believe in a foreign concept of God. It’s got to be one or the other, for those institutions have their umbilical cords tied to our own deities – our own concept of God. They (the institutions) existed because of them therefore they exist because of them.

  5. You put it better Mr Boadu, I myself smell a bit of Asantephobia from many socalled afrocentrics so I hasten slowly when it comes to them but we cannot deny the fact that all is not well ideologically at our top echelons. I was discussing how our king recently chastised queen “mothers” to know their place.

    In the bygone days how will he have dared? Because in our culture the nation belongs to the women, the men even leaders are managers to put it in simple terms. Christianity has affected everything

  6. A lot has changed and I am always having a mental battle on the effects of western culture, Christianity et al on our social fabric as we see it today.
    Have we lost it?
    Asɛm sɛbɛ!

  7. Kwame Boadu Kissi Kwame, you are on point, especially with regards to the message conveyed in the photo you referenced; in centuries past, that would have caused a political crisis in the Kingdom. So point well taken. Things, however, are more complex than how they are portrayed in the main post. The writer doesn’t understand the Asante state ideology. Let me put it that bluntly. Asante has never been about race or ethnicity. It’s rather an ideology that from its inception has been eclectic and open to ideas and cultural and religious practices from all over. That actually has been the philosophy of all great nations and empires. Casually observe how England and Italy adopted and customised the religion of the Middle Eastern people into state religions. So much so that people now see Christianity as a European religion. Asante has been doing that from day one. The Tano gods , Tigari and many others were not native to Asante. In fact, some like Tano, are from enemy jurisdictions. The Kramos were , and have for centuries being part of the motley collection of religious personnel catering to the spiritual needs of Asante as a nation and its King’s welfare. They offer prayers and rituals at the palace every Friday. I used to go to the palace to eat the Maasa they offer on such days to children for the protection of the Asantehene’s soul. These foreign religions have always existed apart and simultaneously as Sika Dwa which itself is more a political and ideological deity than a religious one, strictu sensu. The sanctity of the Stool and its significance has always been independent of the private and even office-related beliefs of the Kings. The Stool has its rituals, and as long as a King performs them, there is no wahala. Osei Kwame was destooled only because he refused to perform Stool rituals because of his inclination towards Islamic beliefs. But for that none would have minded his flirtation with Islam. There is actually nothing like religious apostasy in African religious contexts. We , unlike the Middle Eastern peoples, have always been promiscuous in our religious allegiances,and have had, and still have traditional priests who go to church but still observe their duties as traditional faith practitioners. Prempeh I and successive Asante Kings relate to Christianity in like manner. Our religions and gods don’t ask for undivided allegiance, and the Kings have always known and behaved as such. Prempeh I remained polygamous, poured libation and indeed honoured all traditional rites and holy days after converting to Christianity. The conversion was political,and nothing else. But for that modernity and education in particular wouldn’t have penetrated Asante. The Kings had hitherto resisted against the introduction of western education in the Kingdom, and that was because they understood it as an instrument of ideological indoctrination. Prempeh I however saw the evolution of the states and peoples in and around Asante, and realised that something had to give. I cannot elaborate on everything here, but suffice it to say that the embrace of Christianity in the tokenist sense he did, saved Asante from imminent implosion. I shall be back. Forgive all typos

  8. Yes, submitting the spiritual systems of your people to a foreign deity is treasonous. I’m not sure the abosom that were imported to Asante came with the cultural values of the people of their place of origins like Christianity does. Look at how they begun to take English names upon conversion? Vomit-worthy!

    Our Kings have become exceedingly powerful over our Queens and other unconscionable things people think it’s normal these days because of the fraud that is Christianity and then the artificial constitution of the state we’ve become a part of, an amalgamation of and with a group of people we may not have shared the same cultural values with

  9. Ama Owusuah Boateng Ama, it wasn’t treasonous in the sense that it didn’t interfere with the King’s duties and responsibilities to the state and peoples. The Kings don’t even attend church service except on rare occasions. You would struggle to find anything Christian about them. For me therefore, the relationship btgry have been maintaining with the church is merely pragmatic and an acknowledgement of a historical reality. And it served a very useful purpose at the time. I shall send you an audio note on that. And yes, I agree with you about the content and import of your general submission in the second paragraph. Driving. Later

    • Kwame, I don’t know if you saw it but the pronouncements of Otumfuo in the video, for me, undermine the importance and inviolability of the kingdom.

      Also, how can a true Christian King perform the appropriate rites for the Sika Dwa authentically as tradition demands without falling short in what is expected of him on each side of the divide? Is it safe to say that a king might just go through the motions while performing religious rites for the Sika Dwa? The Sika Dwa might not be about religious ideology but it had rites that can be construed as religious that came with it which, I am sure, are still relevant today. How does a Christian king marry these two without selling one short as I feel the king did with his pronouncements?

    • Kwame Kyei-Baffour it really is treasonous. It was not met with the resistance and chastisement it should have been met with because we were already a broken people. Our morale had been crushed and things we held dear had been compromised 😔 😔 😔 how the mighty fell!

    • Kwame Kyei-Baffour your explanation isn’t right.
      Why would Asanteman leadership troop to the Anglican Church in Kumasi on Sunday after Akwasidae for a Thanksgiving Service to the foreigner’s deity after paying homage to their own forebears for a number of days?
      Who do they think they’re deceiving?

  10. Ama Some of our practices are tied to our belief systems thus moving away from them puts these practices in danger. Similarly, different belief systems come with different practices a lot of which are bound to overcome or override some of these traditional practices, an example is what you cited concerning the treatment of Queens.

    In my opinion, adopting a foreign religion that comes with you adopting foreign names, knowing full well the importance of (the tradition behind) our names, is never a clever thing to do. Adopting a foreign religion and names is capitulating to that foreign power, it has nothing to do with preserving the continuity of the kingdom but pure about survivability of oneself. Such poisoning of the mind is why most true leaders prefer to take their lives rather than be taken as POWs.

    If religion was such a good thing and not a brainwashing tool, the colonial powers would never have used it as a tool on their POWs. The aggression in Agyeman Prempeh was never going to be the same on these foreigners after the brainwashing section was over. That was what the enemy was after.

  11. Kwame Boadu Kissi even in modern times many military generals and top leaders will rather be killed by friendly or enemy fire than to be taken as POWs as you said because they recognize how they could be used to compromise the collective cause of their people. Akan men today fear independent and tough women because of Christianity.

    Before that, women were the fountains of creation and their role in nation building was never undermined on the basis of their gender alone.

    So we realize that taking on the spiritual systems of our enemies(and they were our enemies I’m sure we are clear on that) eventually is what destroyed us from within.

    Many things make a state powerful, sometimes the strength of its collective ideology and so to destroy the state you must first attack it.

  12. To be frank with you the day I saw Otumfour kneeling infront of the anglican priest I wept. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Just how did the conquerors become this conquered?

    Komfo Anokye must have turned in his grave.

  13. Papa Abakah why do you people keep making this mistake? Show me anything in or about applicable Asante laws that says that he is not allowed to have any non-Asante god . Show me. Don’t drag people into your Pan-Africanist view of the world, the one that allows you to do everything like a white person while condemning similar things about others. Papa, the Asantehene is supposed to govern according to the laws and traditions of Asante. Show me the principle or law he is violating with attending church. I am waiting

  14. Kwame Kyei-Baffour why do you attack the lifestyle of people anytime a problematic aspect of our history or current subservience to white supremacy is interrogated? Granted you are right that we live like white people, does it not strengthen our argument about the need to decolonize rather than discredit it? 🤔

  15. What explanation do you have for the CULTURE of Asanteman? Does it include their customary practices? If so, would it be feasible to pay homage to another deity introduced by foreigner interlopers to their land whilst paying similar homage to nananom?

  16. Ama Owusuah Boateng I am not attacking anybody’s lifestyle…just reminding you all that people sin differently(assuming there is a sin). We can’t be doing the same things others are doing and be casting them as shallow-minded and indoctrinated . And I do not deny the existence of white supremacy and its obnoxiousness. It is how it is conceptualised that I have an issue with. Not all white people subscribe to that ideology, and as you have been seeing on Facebook, too, not all black people believe in its existence or find it objectionable. The world is not made up of good black people and evil white people. my point

  17. Papa Abakah Read my first post on this thread. As I explained in there, there is nothing like religious or spiritual apostasy in our neck of the woods. Our gods are not like those of the Jews or Arabs: they do not demand undivided allegiance or loyalty. All that matters to them is the need to observe their taboos and requirements. And yes, Asantes have been adopting gods from enemy jurisdictions. Tano is one of them.

  18. Kwame Kyei-Baffour our forefathers or let me say foremothers weren’t as liberal as you’re projecting them, they saw the difference between mortal enemies and enemies of circumstances. Unlike the enemies we had in our immediate neighborhood whom we still recognized as our brothers nonetheless(Akyem for example) we saw the invading white folks as mortal enemies and for good reason, evidence of that is found in the very name we called them by which is abrɔfoɔ.

    Also Asante didn’t exist in a vacuum, it is a product of a wider Akan race with its own cultural values and spiritual systems in which we draw legitimacy of many of our systems of power from many of these things we presently look at through the filtered lens of Christianity and so can’t get a better picture of.

    Christianity is the natural enemy of Akans as a people period!

    • Conversation with Baffour Amisare II, Chief and Custodian of Tano Shrine
      at Tano Oboase11
      “Abosom” or deities are attached to every important stool in Akan societies;
      this point was repeatedly affirmed in our conversations with traditional elders
      regarding the role of shrines in the history of Ghanaian culture. Among the Akan
      of Ghana, the stool symbolizes political authority because it is believed to encase
      the ancestral spirits of previous rulers (Sarpong, 1971; Quarcoo, 1990). It provides
      legitimacy to political rule. Thus, the history of deities and their importance to society
      are intrinsically linked to that of prominent traditional families or settlements. Both
      deity and the traditional state prefer tranquility. The role of deities as protectors
      of the traditional state and as agencies for the assurance of stability and peace are
      therefore a part of the national history on tolerance.
      The narratives about relationships between deities and states are preserved
      in the context of various local oral traditions. Examples of such accounts relate
      to migration stories, the discovery of better settlement sites, as explanations of
      religious and/or political changes in the affairs of the community, in interpretations
      for the outcomes of past military encounters in the earlier state formation period,
      and/or as explanations in customary precedence.12 Of the several interviews
      conducted at traditional palaces and shrines across the country, the conversation
      with significance on the subject of religious ecumenicism was held on 15 July 2008
      with Tano Oboase chief Nana Baffour Amisare II. Present at this palace interview
      were the following traditional officials: Nana Adomako Akyeampong (Nifahene),13
      Tano Komfo Oppong Kyekyeku (traditional priest), Okyeame Nana Yaw Boadi
      (Linguist), and Tano Oboase Tour Guide Mr. Osei Tano Brempong.
      It is essential to report that during this period of interviews, Dr. Emmanuel
      Akyeampong and our late colleague Dr. Yaw Bredwa-Mensah were also engaged
      in research at Bono Manso, a site known for its links to the powerful Bono state.
      Later in the week, we joined Dr. Bredwa-Mensah to visit the historic village of
      Tano Oboase and toured the ruins of the historic Tano site from where several Akan
      groups trace their ancestral migrations.
      In the conversation with Nana Amisare II and his elders, we learned about
      how Tano Oboase became part of the Asante nation, how the royal house of Tano

    • Oboase became responsible for attending to the shrine. We also learned that the
      river-deity is called “Taakora”14 – for the fact that the spirit of the river does not
      condone evil and untruthfulness. In a chronological fashion, it was stated that it
      was rather the spirit of the river-deity that possessed one Afua Akoma, who was
      the ancestral grandmother of the Tano royal family, indicating how nature-deities
      predated the founding of settlements. Since she could not effectively attend to the
      deity during her menstrual cycle, she transferred those priestly duties to her male
      counterpart, the chief. Thus, technically, the Tano Oboase chief is a traditional
      priest who “lifts the shrine” when he is in the company of the King of Asante
      (Asantehene). On any other occasion, a fulltime Tano priest (bosomfo) performs the
      day-to-day responsibilities of attending to the shrine.
      In addition to describing his duties as chief and attendant of the shrine,
      Nana Amissare II also identified himself as a Christian and a member of the local
      Catholic Church. However, he did not see his roles as chief and custodian of the
      shrine to be in conflict with his membership of the Catholic Church and his faith
      as a Christian. Asked, if on the other hand the Church has any concern that, a
      member of its congregation is not only a traditional chief but also an officiant of an
      indigenous shrine, Chief Baffour Amisare II responded as follows:
      Look, I go to Church and I pay my membership dues. The Church says “thou shall
      have no god besides the Lord” and we know that the deities believe in God and
      we believe in this one God (authors’ emphasis). I have chosen on my own accord,
      however, not to attend the communion but in my heart, I do not see any conflict
      or disagreement between serving the shrine and worshiping God at the Church
      because the deity derives its power from the same God. So, I am not concerned
      about what humans will tell me regarding a possible conflict between these two
      ways of serving God. I go to Church and nobody chases me out from worshiping
      there. Moreover, on the occasions when I perform our duties regarding the shrine,
      they (the people from the community) come to join us. Besides, no Pastor of the
      Church has ever assumed the leadership of the Church in this community without
      coming first to greet me before he takes his post (Owusu-Ansah, Field interviews,

    • Papa Abakah that is the truth. You are judging the issues with your westernised mind. Please read the article.

    • When did we embrace the warped philosophy that our forebears venerated the same deity as the one the Europeans introduced?

  19. Papa Abakah the mindset has always been the same. The traditional African mind is embracing of multiple identities and experiences. And here is the irony: those professing to be defenders of Africa’s traditions are doing so with a westernised mindset and worldview

  20. The miseducation of the negro has deeply permeated the heart of ASANTE. This is a very unfortunate betrayal.
    Thanks, Narmer Amenuti.

    • I tell you Gyamfi Okumanini. Getting to the root of this miseducation with words alone is like navigating a fully fledged civil unrest. Thanks!

    • Narmer Amenuti we’re in this battle together, bro. We have to fight the system with intellectual arguments like yours. Keep it up.

  21. Brilliant write-up. But our ancestors always believed in a supreme God. It’s the way to him that separated us from them. So were we always going to stick to the Okomfo Anokye ways or move to that of the colonial masters, or blend the two? Were the people going to follow blindly, in a democratic era like we have?

    Sometimes, we must accept the times that we’re in, and make the word ‘progressive’ our watchword. Else, we may see the King using a laptop as a betrayal.

  22. Surely, we have been betrayed. The revolution has been tempered right from the source.

    Royal Traitors to our tradition. Christianity has always been taunting against African traditions and the ancestors, so why then should a great African Traditional sect like The Asante Sikadwa befall under such insults.

    Things gotta change to the normal now.

  23. Kwabena Ohene Reborn I am saying that you are judging the issue with your concept of betrayal and religion.

    • Kwame Kyei-Baffour If the post and my comment is of any contrary to the reality, let me know please.

      We can delve into the logical way of bringing the facts out.

      Thus religion and betrayal.

    • Kwabena Ohene Reborn how does Prempeh I’s adoption of Christianity amount to a betrayal? By whose definition of the term and in relation to what law or expectation?

    • Kwame Kyei-Baffour Hope you are not oblivion to the fact that Christianity is our enemy’s religion in the first place?

      Or are you now telling me that Nanahemaa Yaa Asantewa a wanya ne baabi kɔ and the then Asante kinsmen were fools fighting them?

  24. They did that to protect their thrones because the people had converted. They had to conform to the beliefs of their people to protect their throne.

    • Musa Ayaamatanga part of the historical context- the Asante renegades on the coast who were on the ascendancy in Asante following the King’s forced repatriation to Seychelles.

    • Musa Ayaamatanga Prempeh was actually forced to convert in the Seychelles or he wouldn’t return to Kumasi again. The spectre of Yaa Asantewaa dying in exile also influenced him to play ball.
      Once he’d “converted”, it was easier for his people to follow suit.
      Most of our chiefs were coerced to conform or risk being exiled. Some even were exiled to Freetown and other places because they opposed the new dispensation. Conversions of our traditional rulers were deliberately conducted via public baptisms for their subjects to witness. This public humiliation served to reinforce their powerlessness and motivated their subjects to follow suit. The Europeans undoubtedly were aided by their local collaborators to influence the people to abide by their imperialist designs.

    • Papa Abakah all these don’t apply to Prempeh I. He voluntarily accepted to be baptized. And he wasn’t the first Asante to do so; neither did Asantes convert to Christianity because of him

    • It wasn’t “voluntary” just because of the “historical” account narrated by Adu-Boahene et al.
      It was at the behest of the colonialists who dangled a return to Kumasi as a tantalising prospect before him.

    • Papa Abakah have you read his book? The ‘conversion’ certainly played a role in the decision to allow him to return to Accra. But that was only after several petitions by key personalities in the Gold Coast.

    • Have you also read about how most of our traditional authorities metamorphosed into adherents of the “Christian” faith?
      As an aside, how and why did King Prempeh end up becoming “Edward” and how did that decision influence his subjects to begin taking up European names?

  25. Narmer Amenuti You hit the nail right on the head in this write up. But I extend the reasoning you applied in this piece to the entire geographic space called Ghana and indeed to the entire African continent.

    If Asante, a great kingdom could drop the ball in this way, couldn’t the other great nations like the Ewes, the Gonjas or any of the others defy the trickery of European colonialists? Couldn’t they have stood tall and remain loyal to their own deities? Because in present times, traditional chiefs, the supposed custodians of the culture, the leaders of the religiois shrines of the the people are openly Christian and it is well and okay with everyone. I dare say, all of this must have began from somewhere just like for the Asantes, Nana Agyemang Prempeh blazed the trail. If Asante sells it’s soul, why should the Ewe nations or the Denkyiras do same? Is this not rather because of the effectiveness and potency of the strategies adopted by European colonialists among which religion plays a pivotal role?

    My point is, not only Asante sold the soul of the Golden stool, it’s very essence by switching allegiance to a foreign unknown deity, betraying the sacred golden stool, losing a sense of self and place in existence while replacing all of that with a false sense of self and security.

    Or is your point that, Nana Agyemang Prempeh’s actions set off a snowball? Because Nana Agyemang Prempeh accepting the Anglican Christ, has nothing to do with Torgbui Sri and his coterie now gallivanting in church houses praising Yahweh!

  26. A lot of history uncovered. The Otumfour Osei Tutu I & Okomfo Anokye’s trick worked on the British. Yes, they ended up taking Prempeh I away since 1895, but his own plea in 1918 to return to kumasi, after all the mother, father & brother had died.
    History tells us, we have had 16 Asante Kingdom Personalities. I wonder how the names are chosen.

  27. Narmer Amenuti you make a compelling argument. That single decision by the King is indefensibly treasonous in my view as it killed the soul of the Kingdom in many ways. Unfortunately none of the subsequent Kings or leaders have been bold to attempt to reverse this curse. Finally many may read such critical piece as an attack on Asante which obviously will change the important conversation you have raised.

    Have a good week.

  28. Ama, tag your uncle AAAA here. He posted an article here once praising opemsuo’s affiliation with the Anglican church. I need his view on Narmer’s article.

    • Kwasi Kristo oh he’ll just come and defend and subtly attack Narmer. That crazy man worships the king as God and defends his infallibility. On our Asante whatsapp group page I’ve had countless exchanges with him and his lackeys many times.

      He’s even better as compared to his lackeys, they de3 they saw me as an obnoxious young girl who may never get a man to marry because of my sharp tongue. Funny many secretly were interested in me. 😂 🏃 🏃 🏃‍♀️ 🏃‍♀️

    • Ama, aaaah. But is he aware Asanteman is owned by women and they pick and choose our kings and chiefs? Yeiyiada.

    • As I said our very ideology upon which we draw legitimacy of the state has been compromised by Christian values

  29. Narmer Amenuti have u heard of greater kumasi?i think they exhibit a mark of inferiority complex but they learn fast the wrong things

    • massa, do not make this a tribalist issue. who in Kumasi calls it “greater kumasi” besides the president? how would you feel if someone labelled Ewes with that tag since most of them have moved to Accra and Tema?

    • Greater Kumasi is actually a thing, the fact that it makes you uncomfortable rather speaks a lot about YOUR inferiority complex. Dude doesn’t even know what inferiority complex mean. You’re the Kofi with Agbenyo as a surname yet is speaking of inferiority complex. Anokwa! 😂

    • Ama Owusuah Boateng These discussions go on in private chat rooms before finding an intellectual representation in public forums. Those who were on Say It Loud would know what I am talking about. The issue being discussed is more pervasive on the coast and in Northern parts of Ghana.

    • Kofi Agbenyo how did you get the name ‘Kofi’? This is the second condescending comment I’ve read from you today. Don’t be silly!

  30. At this point, too, one may also ask how the situation is with other Kingdoms and chiefopms on this matter , and why the constant citation of Asante for the illustration this argument? Just asking. Narmer Amenuti Ama Owusuah Boateng Kwame Boadu Kissi

    • Very simple, Kwame. Asante was a powerful, if not the most powerful, empire among all that occupy the country Ghana today. Asante assumes this air of pride in being a good keeper of customs and traditions – values that almost all the kingdoms and chiefdoms in present day Ghana have lost, so we look up to you in admiration. To whom much is given, much will be required so the scrutiny comes with the territory. Why was Prempeh taken as POW and not just anyone of the lower chiefs?

    • Kwame I think Asante is expected to show leadership when it comes to the effort at decolonization but don’t also totally dismiss Kyei-Baffour cos there really are Asantephobes that masquerade as Afrocentrics.

    • Kwame Boadu Kissi I don’t think that is the reason. You may have this regard for Asante , but I doubt whether that view is shared by all. Let’s even say that it is true: why not discuss it as a Ghanaian problem and probably cite Asante as a typical case? And it is not as if Asante presents the worst example in this regard. And trust me, Kwame: the Kingdoms in the North are equally powerful and influential. Many of them are older than Asante

    • Ama, I know but sometimes Asantes are a tad overly sensitive at the slightest criticism of their Royals – always ready to pounce no matter what. I like to take the truth wherever it may come from. That is how I deal with issues surrounding Bill Gates too, for example. I know there are people with an axe to grind with him but that doesn’t mean that they don’t raise legitimate points for me to ponder and question. I do that with the clearest of intentions.

    • Kwame, that is definitely my opinion. But how long did it take before the kingdoms in the North fell to the colonial Brits? Who stood up to the colonial idiots the longest? Which of our empires are known by many outside of Ghana today? So Asantes will be the ones many put under the microscope. You have to take the good with the bad.

    • Kwame gyai kasa tenten no, nyansafo te anibo. There really are Asantephobes. We know them paa. Y3 ny3 nkwadaa

    • Kwame Boadu Kissi Kwame, one cannot impose a duty on Asante based on one’s own subjective interpretation of history. Asante has never purported to be the cultural representative of Ghana. But again, let’s even say that all that you are saying is true; how does that make the other ethnic chiefdoms with worse records on this issue not even worth mentioning? Look at the comments been made on this thread. We have whole powerful, ancient Kingdoms totally islamitised , and the example we want to give in this context is a King who is only a Christian in name only?

    • Kwame, because none of them are relevant. What are you going to say about them that we don’t already know or have guessed? That they sold out to foreign powers so eagerly? That they weren’t a match for them? That the foreign powers didn’t even acknowledge them because they deemed them too weak? Asantes have had many powerful kings. It goes without saying that a couple of them are likely to be put under scrutiny over certain aspects of their lives as far as bravery is concerned. Empires are studied… for better or for worse.

  31. It is also interesting what we see and don’t see. There is a message in the photo. Look at the feet of the Asantehene , and you would find it…

  32. Kwame Kyei-Baffour, I think your initial question deserves an answer. I write about every group (Ewes, included, together with the Ga-Dangme), and I use whatever is relevant to me as an example. I am more familiar, or dare I say more comfortable with the history of the people of the South, Middle and the East. Trust me, I have been threatened with all kinds of fires sent in the middle of the night under the cover of birds and snakes. I have repelled them all.

    You have to admit that I am not the only writer of Ghanaian extraction on these matters, and I too have my biases. So I accept any charge of bias. My work is not devoid of them. However, neither are your own criticisms of my work devoid of your biases as well. I accept those criticisms nonetheless, particularly if they have to do with the subject matter.

    Although the charge of why I should choose to focus on Asante now and then is neither logically sound nor appropriate. For, I need not have to speak of other peoples to make the Truth Value of what I write about legitimate. My taxes, my father’s taxes, my grandfather’s taxes and the taxes of all Asantes were all instrumental in the education I received in Ghana about the Asante Kingdom. I will not let those taxes go to waste. I intend to speak only my mind with the conscious reservation that my mind is not perfect.

    Here are some examples of other groups I wrote about: (1) http://grandmotherafrica.com/they-are-far-too-christian/ and (2) http://grandmotherafrica.com/the-ewe-reality-the-past…/

    Now, if you also read all my narratives of Ntoaboma, they are criticisms of the culture I grew up in. In them, I indict many members of my own family and I label them as the Metha.

    And so to answer your initial question directly, about why I pointed the finger at Asante, there’s nothing unique about the Prempeh Issue and the Oyoko Clan’s conversion (and this is my thesis) to Anglicanism (to which the Queen of England is now the Head, not the Asantehene). It happened in other places too! Yes. Prempeh was in fact Christianized (Baptized and Confirmed) with other captured ex-kings from all over Uganda, Kabrega and Mwanga . And your point? If I don’t mention the others, that invalidates my scrutiny of some history of the Asantes?

    • I am happy that you admit to having your biases. That is normal, but things don’t end there. What a person constantly sees or points out about a particular people , race , or ethnicity also may leave room for reasonable speculation and query. So I think my question is legitimate, given especially that you would like your readers to view your essays in an intellectual light. The issue you have been discussing with particular reference to Asante( I have not seen you do that about any other ethnic chiefdom or Kingdom) is pervasive in Ghana , and is much worse in the North and some parts of coastal Ghana. So the question reasonably arises as to why you constantly focus on Asante and in very pejorative, contemptible terms, too. And it is not as if you discuss things in context! I have seen numerous instances of such scholarship from Afrocentric Ghanaians from some particular parts of the country; hence my query. I am very sure that you have been reading my submissions on this thread. Be slow to judge, brother. The rush to ridicule others is unbecoming of a scholar. The other time it was the pillorying of mission-educated Africans and those who marry white women! That is so wrong! Have a good evening!

    • And please get it right: the Oyoko clan never converted to Anglicanism ! It was Prempeh I who did . Subsequent Kings have maintained the relationship with the church in responses to courtsies extended to them by the church. That is again, common In Ghana. Many churches reserve seats and privileges for important personalities , chiefs included. Prempeh I’s conversion to Anglicanism was political. There was no Asante Kingdom to talk of that time. The former Kingdom was then firmly in the grips of the ‘collaborators’. It was partly through that strategic move that the Royal Family managed to seize back control of the Kingdom, and the restoration of Asante to a statyus more enhanced and secure than it was at the time Asante was annexed by the British with the able assistance of the collaborators from the Colony.

    • As for your sentiments about what I write and why I choose to write what I write, they are acceptable and they remain entirely your own. Believe it or not, I understand. I do not expect, and will never expect that all Asantes would agree with my particular interpretation of the works of Prof. Adu Boahen. In fact, I do not believe that all Asante historians ever agreed with or agree with Adu Boahen’s works. All that back-and-forth is human.

      The part that you keep bringing up about Afrocentrism, marrying white women and such are not my preoccupation. Let us focus on the matter at hand.

      It is my view that Prempeh’s Conversion to Anglicanism (and his submission to the kings of England) represented a political and religious paradigm shift in the affairs of Asante. The corollary to this interpretation of Prempeh’s Conversion is that the Anglican Cult of the Colonial British Regime became the “official church” of the Oyoko Family. (This is Adu Boahen’s own words, not mine).

      If you need a reference to this effect, please ask. I will provide it. But stop letting your own interpretation of the English language that Adu Boahen used mask your idea of the fact of the literature.

    • Narmer Amenuti that was Adu-Boahen’s personal interpretation, and I wouldn’t begrudge him that. Oyoko is not just the Asante royal family. I guess you know that. WE have them all over Asante. I grew up at Manhyia and attended school with some Manhyia Royals. Never saw or felt that they were all Anglicans by faith. Prempeh I’s conversion itself was cosmetic, largely a ploy for the Asante Monarchy to seize control of the modernising agenda already afoot in Asante in his absence. He kept his numerous wives and observed all traditional rites and rituals expected of him as a King! That would be violating the teachings of the Anglican church! The traditional African mindset wouldn’t see anything wrong with the syncretic spirituality. That, my brother, is what I have been trying to tell you. You are judging things with a mindset that is unafrican, to put it mildly. Asante Kings have always been receptive to all forms of spirituality, Islam included. Before and during any war, they would consult deities and spiritualists from all jurisdictions. I hope you have seen an Asantehene in a battle dress before. Guess the contents of the talismans in it! Charms from various deities and Koranic verses! It is not as black and white as you portray it. The white Missionaries judged African traditional religions and its devotees in the same manner you are doing. It pays in such contexts to look at things from the perspective of the actors. Cheers

    • Again, look at the photo again. The Asantehene has some object close to his right foot. And he is supposed to be partaking in a Christian worship, right?

  33. Kwame, don’t make me laugh seff. Obviously the said “pot” has yet to keep the Asantehene’s soul from the corruption of the Anglican cult. Whatever!

  34. These arguments are less about any specic debate about who recognizes whom. Rather, they relate to religious tolerance – a subject that is often treated and dened by scholars of religious conversion in such terms as syncretism and eclecticism. The most appropriate topic of discussion in this case of religious encounters is embedded in the phraseology of the “weight of tradition” – a subject that Akyeampong evaluated in the portrait of Asantehene Agyemang Prempeh I, c. 1888-1931, as a Christian and a modern man, but also as a traditional ruler. Akyeampong’s essay recounts the story of an Asante king, who is transformed into a “modern” man while in British exile on the Island of Seychelles. The king learned to read and write the English language; he accepted the teachings of the Anglican Christian denomination; and yet, he held on to his traditional responsibilities as king (both in exile and upon his return). He attended to the traditional stools of the ancestors; abided by the sanctions of the most sacred object of the state – the Golden Stool; he practiced polygamous marriage upon his return from exile and was unwilling to abolish the royal harem, and yet remained Christian. Akyeampong’s portrait of this modern Christian king is about a person who did not abandon traditional ideas, principles, or ideals totally. To ask whether this king was indeed a Christian would be equal to questioning whether the more than 60 percent of the Ghanaian population that responded in the 2010 census to be Christians had ceased belief in and practices of elements of traditional religion. What is clear, however, is the high degree of religious tolerance that Prempeh demonstrated through his afrmation of traditional obligations while he attended Church and managed matters of the traditions of the Asante nation (Akyeampong, 1999)

    • The successful Asante northern military expeditions of the mid-18th century, which led to the incorporation of territories in the Volta Basin, also brought Asante into contact with Mande Muslim communities whose history of commercial travels to the fringes of the Akan forest dated back to the heydays of the Trans-Saharan trade. Consequently, Asante ofcials took advantage of Muslim services that included their knowledge in the making of prayers and Islamic talisman. Even today, a particular group of Muslims still visits the palace of the king and makes prayers regularly. All Asante rulers since 1903 see themselves as Anglicans, and, yet, see no conict whatsoever in continuing the tradition of having Muslims and traditional priests of the Nsumankwaa perform prayers and rites at the palace (Akyeampong, Interviews with Nsumankwaahene aodl.org/islamictolerance/asantehistory//object/3C-18C-B).

  35. Kwame Kyei-Baffour, it is incorrect that you say that “He [Prempeh] kept his numerous wives and observed all traditional rites and rituals expected of him as a King!” although he converted to Anglicanism.

    No, he did not remain a polygamist. I have seen you make this comment once or twice, but I thought it insignificant to my thesis that I ignored it. But if you would like to bring it in to invalidate my interpretation, then I shall address it adequately.

    Prempeh, and this is also according to Adu Boahen, sent away his two wives, notably, Akua Morbi and Amma Kwahan, back home to Kumase, to conform to the principles of his conversion by not having three wives. Prempeh actually paid these wives off (120 rupees each, plus 20 rupees per day each) on the day his wives were repatriated from Seychelles to Kumase.

    The reason it took until the intervention of the Governor for Prempeh to be Confirmed into the Anglican Cult of the Colonial British Regime on 28 December 1920 was that Prempeh by default, and by his former religious persuasion, had not been married to only one woman ( a requirement of the Anglican Church). To the Anglican cult, the was a sin Prempeh could nto undo until the British Governor of the Gold Coast interceded on his behalf.

    Now, you say that I have been “judging things with a mindset that is unafrican, to put it mildly.” How wrong that you are, even on the facts of the literature of Asante history. (But, I am sure here too you will disagree with Prof. Adu Boahen’s facts).

    Now, pardon your constant refrain to say you know the Oyoko clan more than I do. That may be true, yet. But I know them too. My own uncle, my father’s younger brother, enlisted into the British Armed Forces straight out of Kumase. He was married to an Asante, Oyoko proper woman, which makes all my five direct cousins, with whom I grew up, members of the Oyoko clan. I too have some connection, wai, so “yen fa dat nto nchen!”

    • Just lost a long reply to yours. Keeping it brief, I would refer you to Professor Kwaku Akyeampong’s article I cited and quoted from in earlier submissions on this thread. Not only did Prempeh I remarry his wives when he returned to Kumasi; he added to them. The man’s conversion to Anglicanism was political. Please read the article by Kwaku Akyeampong; you would end up admiring the King for his dexterous religiosity. Also listen to the interview posted on this thread. You would get a full picture of what religion means to Asantes and their Kings. Imagine this: The Asantehenes have since 1803 been having their own Kramos! I will post the link to the full interview here. That would show you the source and nature of the mindset with which you are judging these issues.

    • Thank you. Post every thing you have. I promise I will review all of them and I shall make it known once that is complete.

  36. And the real tragedy of the betrayal is not in the facts of the past but in the reality of today’s failure to reform and assert self. For how long would the buttocks of the true occupant of sika dwa Kofi continue to warm the first pew of the Anglican ‘cult’? What is he learning at the ‘cult’ that sika dwa Kofi does not know already?

    • it may help if you could try not to make your problem the Asantehene’s. His mindset may not be the same as yours.Thanks

    • Kwame Kyei-Baffour Thank you sir. My mindset is not the same as his or yours. My mindset is mine and l have only expressed it democratically as you have countlessly done yourself. Again, thank you.

    • Boakye Boakye None forbids you from exercising your right to free speech. The democratic context in which it was exercised also includes the right of others to judge your mindset in the same way you did about the Asantehene’s right to freedom of worship. It is also not intellectual;y sound to judge another person’s actions by your own subjective thoughts without any regard to the person’s own thoughts for doing what he mkighty be doing. Cheers

    • Samuel Ahiabor the problem with our brother is that he’s deliberately ignoring the bloody fact that images are powerful tools with which societies are shaped and influenced.
      Imagine what would happen if Nana Asantehene decided to do away with the affiliation of the royal family to the Anglican Church and reaffirmed Asanteman’s commitment to focusing on paying homage solely to nananom. That would be a very powerful statement bar none.

    • Kwame Kyei-Baffour My brother, the simple point you appear to be missing all along, in my view, is that the Asantehene, like any other traditional ruler, is not just an individual. He is an institution to which others belong, not just as subjects, but right bearers. What would be your attitude if after the ‘permissible’ Anglican conversion of the 19th century the instant occupant, applying the powers of his forebears, further converts to homosexuality, for example? Would you still see it within the context of personal freedoms? Good morning.

  37. Thank you Sankofa Asante for having the courage to deliver this post. This has been a subject that is shied away from. To who do you owe allegiance if you worship the God of your colonizers?

    • Kwadwo Oppong-Wadie Nana, you are spot on. If you read earlier views expressed by Kwame Kyei-Baffour you would find that he is an unfortunate victim of considerable confusion. He argues that Nana Sir Agyeman Prempeh 1 remarried the women he divorced, in order to become an Anglican, upon his release from the Seychelles. This view is not only false, it is an insult to royalty. In any event, is it reasonable to suppose that the King would have told the divorced women to await his possible return to his kingdom, in the event of which they stand the chance of remarriage to him? What is even more sad is that he portrayed the institution of the Asantehene as the centre for the endless collection of religious artifacts and charms from everywhere any can be gotten, including Islam. He speaks of an object on the feet of the Asantehene, claiming it protects the soul of the King. So, his specific thesis is that anytime the Asantehene enters St. Cyprian’s chapel in Kumasi it is with his soul’s protection on his feet. He worsens his case with the suggestion that the Asantehene’ presence in a Christian Church is more political than religious. How more confused can anybody get. I suspect he has come to terms with his pathetic position, hence his silence. If that is the case, he is welcome to the place of common sense and truth. Welcome bro.

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