According to history 200 years ago, in the year 1828, the Asantehene at that time, Otumfuo Osei Bonsu massed up a frightening gigantic imperial Army of 200,000 foot soldiers to invade Jaman, which led to a war called the Adinkra War by historians.
When Otumfuo got to Berekum, on his way to Jaman, he picked up more troops under the command of General Diawuo, son of Berekumhene. The war lasted three years, during which Asante firmly subjugated Jaman.
Jaman, even today, is very big. In those days Jaman covered well over 500 villages and Berekum soldiers were based in the Awasu capital, called Dwenem. After the war, Dwenemhene sent a message that General Diawuo had put his sister, Nana Amoah, in the family way. This caused the Berekumhene to send soldiers to bring the woman over.
200 years on, the family that Nana Amoah came to start in Berekum is today over 2,000, spread in over twelve villages in Berekum, with yours truly as the current Head Of Family.
Just before Christmas 2022, I remember that I was in the High Court premises in Accra when I had a message that the Head of Family of Nana Amoah back home in Dwenem, 93 year old Daniel Takyi, had crossed the river of death, with two main death bed wishes.
First, that his dead body should not be put in the mortuary for even one night, so immediately he passed on, permission was sought from the current Dwenemhene and he was interred that very night at the Royal Mausoleum in Dwenem.
His second wish was that the next Head of Family must come from one of Nana Amoah's grandchildren in Berekum. After series of consultations and postponements, we finally selected Nana Kwadwo Gyan as the new Head of the Nana Amoah Royal family, called Beankra family of Dwenem.
The grand royal farewell for Daniel Takyi was fixed for Saturday 6th May 2023, the very day King Charles III had his coronation in London.
At exactly 12 noon on Saturday 6th May 2023, a four car convoy carrying about 75 members of the Nana Amoah Royal Family in Berekum left my house, passed through my birthplace, Jinjini, the Fetentaa and entered Major Boakye Gyan's hometown, Baabianeha which translates as 'Everywhere is here!'
We entered the Jaman South District Capital, Drobo, which was full of busy people and carried on, across three communities, before entering the Awasu capital Dwenem.
A one big dual carriage street community, like Anyinam in the Eastern Region, Dwenem has a rough population of about 30,000 people. Their buildings were all in very neat rows that stretch far, both left and right.
The funeral took place at the forecourt of the imposing Presby Church, astride the main road. I counted as many as 24 canopies with chairs all occupied and several mourners seated under the shade of the Presby Church.
One good legacy of the COVID-19 Pandemic is that previously when you went to a funeral, you had to go around shaking hands with those in the front row. Now, thanks to COVID-19, you just walk by waving, like a Parliamentary candidate waving to crowds at a rally.
In my capacity as Head of Family from Berekum, I was given a very coveted chair to sit on and all the special dignitaries at the funeral did not wave but shook our hands.
They had a very correct loudspeaker, beaming proceedings to all and playing very popular tunes that brought mourners to the vast open funeral grounds to dance.
In fact at one point I was confused by the powerful exotic dressing of the women – is this at a funeral in Accra, Kumasi or Berekum? Reader, where am I?
As I looked on staring at the captivating dancing steps of the excited mourners, I wondered quietly – so are these people bothered about Galamsey, Aisha Huang, IMF, Professor Boateng's report, and all those “Accra booklong problems?”
Suddenly I heard the announcement – “Captain retired Honourable Doctor Nana (Oh my God, why all these meaningless titles?)… then he started playing some song… then he stopped abruptly, and again announced that he made a mistake, and my song is now coming… m'atwen Awurade Anin… whereupon several women poured unto the dancing ground.
Reader, I looked at my wrist watch – 5pm – just now? I had been seated for four hours.
At one point, I received a call from my father in law's daughter, Gloria, and closed my eyes as I talked briefly only to open them to see the Honourable MCE for Jaman South and his entourage of NPP Executives standing in front of me – they wanted to say goodbye to leave for yet another funeral elsewhere.
As a climax to the funeral, Nana Kwadwo Gyan, the customary successor as Head of Family who we had brought from Berekum in a dazzling funeral cloth, was introduced to the gathering and he went ahead saying thank you to everybody.
It was now 6pm and we rose up, leaving the DJ to continue playing music for the youth to do their own thing.
The Royal funeral in Dwenem was over.
Written by Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey