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Feature Article | Mar 31, 2019

Are there any Spiritual or Physical Punitive Consequences to Suffer if one Disobeys Akan Customs and Traditions?

In the olden days before the Asante Confederacy becoming part of the Gold Coast and the present day Ghana, Akan customs and traditions were strictly adhered to. Some punitive measures like death sentence and excommunication were taken against those found grossly flouting the Akan conventions. The punishments were harsh and should not be allowed to have any place in our current dispensation of democracy where Ghana is a republic but not a total monarchy, although there is still room for partial monarchical activities in the country.

In order not to beat about the bush but to hit the nail right in the head of the drum, I am going to recount how a major custom of the Akans has recently been broken in Kumawu. Before narrating the recent breach of an Akan custom in Kumawu by a prominent person and to query for what punishment could be meted out to him, I will first recount or cite an instance story to buttress my contention.

In about forty-five to fifty years ago, one of the few best friends of my deceased father was destooled. He was the chief of Kumawu-Woraso. He was called Nana Krapa but my family used to call him Opanin Krapa. He was such a handsome man; the apple of many an unmarried woman’s eye.

Why was he removed from the Woraso stool, the public may want to know? According to narrative history, he impregnated and got married to a girl/woman who had never undergone the then strictly observed puberty ceremony for girls into adulthood. Subsequently, he was accused of what in the Akan parlance is “wo aye kyiri bra” (you have committed the sin of not respecting or conforming to the puberty ceremony rites). He should have married a girl or woman who had partaken the puberty celebration but not the one who hadn’t. This is how serious the then Akan subjects respected the custom and traditions of the land.

This Opanin Krapa was even nominated alongside one Opanin Darkwa from Nsuta-Atonsu to oversee the distribution of my father’s properties as stated in his will. He was to do so in the capacity of an executor in the decedent’s (my father) will. However, he was stopped by his mother from carrying out his duty as indicated in the will because of the constant derogatory insults rained on him by one of my aunts (named withheld). This aunt of mine who is still alive and is about ninety years old, constantly openly insulted him by saying among other things, “Kwasiampanin a wo aye kyiri bra”. She was doing this with the motive of not allowing him to share my father’s properties according as willed.

I have been told that one Mr Kwarteng Krapa, the dubiously enstooled Akwamuhene of Kumawu, who questionably doubles as Kumawu-Wonoohene, is the son of the late Opanin Krapa of Woraso under discussion.

If Opanin Krapa could be removed from the Woraso stool for having infringed then strictly observed custom, what about a paramount chief consuming in public food forbidden to be eaten by grown up men let alone, a paramount chief (“Omanhene”)?

It is on record, and I have published same on a Ghana internet news portal (Sources radio’s breakingnewsgh.com) that the self-styled Kumawuhene Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua, in private life as Dr Yaw Sarfo, has eaten from the ritual mashed yam/plantain/cocoyam (“bra t3”) prepared from the girls celebrating their puberty into adulthood, on 8 March 2019, in Kumawu.

I am aware that a chief, let alone a paramount chief, does not eat in public. I am aware that grown up men do not participate in the puberty celebration for girls into adulthood let alone, partaking in the consumption of the ritual meal (bra t3) either in public or in private. Now that Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua has not only publicly participated in the celebration of the girls but also, publicly eaten from the “bra to”, what consequences should he bear? As it was the order in the days of Opanin Krapa, so should it be for Dr Yaw Sarfo, the self-styling Kumawuhene Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua.

It is a disgrace to hear of people call him Dr Yaw Sarfo, “wa di bra t3”. As Opanin Krapa breached the custom and never went scot free but suffered a disastrously humiliating consequence, so should it be the portion of Dr Yaw Sarfo. I knew of one Opanin Kwaku Boateng, alias Anoku, who was teased by the citizens of Kumawu shouting, “Kwaku Boateng, Anoku, wa di bra t3”, until he went mentally crazy and later died.

I have put the pictures of Dr Yaw Sarfo participating in the consumption of the puberty meal on my WhatsApp page on Saturday, 30 March 2019, and shared same with my WhatsApp contacts along with my publication informing the public of the customary infraction.

What is Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II with his Asanteman Council doing or saying about their puppet chief breaching an Akan custom regarding the celebration and consumption of puberty ceremony meal?

I have a lot to write from my visit to Ghana so stay tuned.

Rockson Adofo
(Written on Sunday, 31 March 2019)

Rockson Adofo
Rockson Adofo, © 2019

This author has authored 1731 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: RocksonAdofo

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