FEKUW OF CHICAGO
WHO ARE THE AKUAPEMS
The Akuapem people are an amalgamation of indigenous patriarchal, Volta-Camoe-speaking Guans and matriarchal, Kwa-speaking Akan people occupying the mountainous Akuapem Hills in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The Akuapem people are the most peaceful, respectful, and humblest of all Ghanaian tribes. They are only people even when they want to insult you, they start with an apology. For example for doing something silly or annoying an Akuapem will say "mi pa kyew se woye abia" (I am very sorry but you are a fool). Ghanaians refer to them as "Ofie" (Home).
The Akuapem people were originally Guan-speaking people which includes the Larteh Guan block namely Larteh, Mamfe, Abotakyi, Mampong, Obosomase, and Tutu, and the Kyerepong (Okere) Guan block namely Abiriw, Dawu, Awukugua, Adukrom, Apirede, and Abonse-Asesieso. The Akan Twi-speaking towns include Akropong, the capital, and Amanokurom who are emigrants from Akyem, and Mampong people who are also emigrants from Asante Mampong in Ashanti Region.
In the olden days, Akuapems, comprising the Kerepongs and the Guans were under the rule of the Kings of Akwamu who were then living at a place called Nyanawase, near Nsawam. The King of Akwamu ruled the Akuapems with a very strong hand and his subjects were very cruel to the women of Akuapem.
Unable to bear the treatment being given to them, the Akuapems united with the people of Guekiti, then Kamenas, and initiated a fight against the Akwamus for their independence.
The Akwamus were brave and ponderous fighters so the Akuapems could not withstand their might. Failure was imminent. The Akuapems heard of the people of Akyem Abuakwa and so they sent to King Ofori Panyin of Abuakwa to seek his assistance. King Ofori Panyin of Akyem Abuakwa granted the request of the people of Akuapem and deputed his own blood relation, Prince Safori, with an army of Warriors to assist the Akuapems. Prince Safori and his army came to Akuapem and succeeded in driving the Akwamus across the Volta River.
After his great conquest of the Akwamus, Prince Safori left the camp for a village called Amamprobi and summoned all the Akuapems to go there for a victory meeting. At the meeting, victorious Prince Safori requested the Akuapems to unite the cartridge belt from his waist, meaning that they should pay him so that they could return to Akyem Abuakwa. As the people of Akuapem were incapable of paying and reward which could be commensurate with the great feat, they unanimously pleaded with Prince Safori to agree to remain in Akuapem as their King.
Prince Safori consented and went back to Akyem to inform his uncle, Ofori Panyin of it. The King of Abuakwa also gave his approval and Prince Safori came back to Akuapem to be their first King. That was in 1730.
Nearly every town in Ghana has a kind of festival which celebrates annually. “Odwira” is the biggest festival for the people of Akuapem and Akwamu. Originally, towns in Akuapem which celebrate this great event were only Akropong, Amnokrom, Ahwerasse, and Aburi. In fact, only the Akans in the area celebrated it. In recent times, however, many things have changed and most Guans and Kyerepons, who used to have “Ohum” as their main festival, now celebrate “Odwira” in their own special ways.
Akropong and Amanokrom “Odwira” is celebrated exactly 40 days after the last Awukudae or Adaebutuw in the Akan calendar, nine Awukudaes makes one full calendar year. The festivities cover a whole fortnight during which many age-long traditions and customs, which had been handed down by forefathers, are observed. “Odwira” is an Akan word that means purification. It is therefore assumed that the same “Odwira was adopted principally because it is during this festival that the Okuapehene and all occupiers of stools in the area “purify” their tools. “feed” their ancestors, thank their people during the outgoing year, and pray to the gods and ancestors for good health, long life, and prosperity in the ensuring year.
In short, it is during this festival that forefathers who, through wars, laid their lives to save Akuapem are remembered. It is also a unique occasion for family and friendly re-unions, and the patching up of long-standing riftd, feuds, and pretty quarrels. It is a festival that joins together the people and affords them the opportunity for mirth and jollity. Although there are occasions during the “Odwira” festival for mourning and deep remembrance of the departed, the festivities are full of gaiety and grace. The pomp and pageantry which normally characterize the events single out Akuapems as a people who are proud owners of a foundation of rich culture and enviable traditions.
Courtesy of GhanaWeb TV
Courtesy of GhanaWeb TV