MANKESSIM CELEBRATES AFAHYE AND PEACE CONFERENCE
The great Bobor Fantse community and the traditional headquarters of all the Fantse ethnic communities in Ghana, Mankessim is celebrating its annual one week long Borborfantse Afahye. The festival which started on the 7th September, 2009 will reach its highlight day on Saturday, 12th September, where a grand durbar of chiefs and the community, asafo companies, cultural troupes and other religious groups will welcome the President of Ghana, His Excellency, Professor Atta Mills to grace the occasion. Osagyefo Amanfo Edu and Nana Ama Aminsah, paramount chief and queenmother respectively of Mankessim are the official hosts.
All over the world, communities with rich cultural heritage have specific times where its inhabitants meet to celebrate life, the communities history and their existence. Ghana is one country in which its people are very religious and many festivals abound. Popular festivals that celebrate agriculture such as Homowo of the Accra people, Hogbetsotso of the Ada community, Bakatue of Edina inhabitants, Aboakyir (Deer Hunt) of the Winneba (Simpa) people are known internationally. There are also festivals that celebrate the history of the communities.
Borborfantse Afahye is a festival that falls in the latter category. In fact, there is no month in which some sort of festival is celebrated in one of the 10 regions and the many districts of Ghana. These festivals are the times that the communities rekindle their efforts at building unity for developmental projects, reassess projects in the communities, encourage and support family union, motivate and inspire the younger generation to set achievable life goals and to call for people to bury differences and to work together for social and economic progress.
Many programs lined up for the Mankessim festival some of which has already taken place are Community Sanitation project, Market Clean Up Exercise, Community Rites of Passage, Widows Cleansing Rites, Procreation Rites for Mothers of Twins, Inter-Suburb What Do You Know Contest, Street Carnival, Sports Competition, a Community Beach Fiesta.
Another important program which is becoming an integral part of the festival is the international involvement. A US based African cultural arts and development non-profit, International Center for African Culture & Arts' collaboration with the Ghana chapter of the world renowned music service organization, the Percussive Arts Society produces and host Days of Percussion locally christened Kpanlogo for Peace Percussion Conference. This annual DOP are incorporated into the BorborFantse Afahye to celebrate percussion music and Ghana's need for peace for development progress.
The conference also incorporates EARTHDANCE 2009 Celebration, a global festival for Peace coordinated by the EarthDance International of USA. Some of the groups scheduled to perform this year are Obrumakoma Traditionals, Akwakrom Abele, Borborfantse Drummers, Essuapon, Ebibiman and Kwaanan Percussion All Stars. Sponsors of the conference include Percussive Arts Society,USA, EarthDance International,USA
Mankessim, the town in which all these major events are taken place is in the Central region of Ghana. It is located at the western side of Accra, the national capital. It is about 115 km, an hour and half drive from Accra. Mankessim is also about thirty minutes drive from Cape Coast, the Central regional capital.
Mankessim as a name means OMAN KESE (the big town). Relatively, Mankessim is the largest of the various surrounding villages in and around the Mfantseman district.
It is also called Mankessim because of its history. It is bordered to the south by a coastal town of Saltpond, to the east side by the Ekumfi communities, and the west by Nkwanta and Krofu villages.Its shares northern boundary with Enyan and Ajumako communities respectively.
Centrally located, Mankessim is the hub of commercial activities with a local central market that serves all the surrounding villages and fishing communities in the Central region. Traders come from all over Ghana as well as from foreign countries.
Mankessim is the traditional headquarters of the Fantse communities in Ghana. There are about two accounts about its emigrational history. One account links Mankessim's history to the Ashanti kingdom and the other is about its independence and southwards migration to the present location.
In the first account, Oral tradition has it that the Fantse were originally part of the great Ashanti kingdom when it extended as far as to Bono- Manso in the present Brong ahafo region. The people seceded from the union and moved further south from (Bono- Manso-present day Techiman in Brong Ahafo region) in search of fertile land for its growing population, good drinking water and to live in peace. "FANTSE" comes from two Akan words "FA and ATSEW" meaning the half that seceded. It is said that the Fantse undertook great migration down-south under three powerful leaders (warriors) namely OBRUMANKOMA, ODAPAGYAN AND OSONO. Those three leaders were very strong and spiritually fortified. It is said that their names, signifies their might in the air, by land and under the sea. Proverbially and culturally, these leaders were seen as symbol of invincibility by the early Fantse communities.
Those leaders led the people to their present abode and helped organized the community into a very strong one till the coming of the colonial powers and christian missionaries who manipulated and indoctrinated some of the chiefs and local leaders leading to the total collapse of the great Fantse Confederacy in 1885.
Today, Mankessim has monuments that are a living testimony to their rich history. The Obromu asafo company has a shrine that commemorates the history of Mankessim.
Geographically, there are five suburbs in Mankessim made of original OMAM MU states namely TWAFO, OBROM and ANAFO and two auxiliary suburbs NKUSUKUM (Ebir) and EDUMADZE (Borbor Kunkunfi). Each of these suburbs has with its Asafo Company, a form of military units that served as security organizations during the times of frequent warfare. These companies exist today as emergency groups and provide music and dance for festivals and other occasions: They also act as check and balances on the role of the chief in the community. Asafo music and dancing is performed during the passing away of a member, when a new chief is outdoored,when there is an emergency and during festival times known as AKWAMBO and Ayerye.
Come and celebrate your week end at Mankessim. Long live Mankessim, Long Live Ghana's Democracy.