Arhin, Kwame The Political and Military Roles of Akan Women, in Oppong, Christine ed. Female and Male in West Africa G. Allen and Unwin London 1983 (notes)
Members of the royal
matrilineage had access to the largest tract of the land belonging to
the community, the largest collection of slaves, mmonko, which
freed their women from most menial services, and also the largest hoard
of gold dust.
· female counterpart of ohene of the same mogya (blood or clan)
· called 'mother' of the ohene, she was the ohene's most effective adviser and she had the right to administer to him a public admonition
· was abrewa - wisdom personified - thus moral guardian of females of the political community and a kind of moral censor
· examined adolescent girls before puberty rites, licensed marriage, was expected to say whether pregnancy had occurred before the rites
· foremost authority on genealogy of royal matrilineage
· played leading role in choosing successor to ohene
matrilineage incorporated into it 'stranger' segments which in time
became concealed. Stranger segments could be descended from slave
women or freeborn women of another clan whose descendants were not
Re succession, the Ohemaa consulted members of the matrilineage, her husband and community at large through her nkotimsefo - household servants - who were so selected as to represent various sectors of the community.
We do not wish that
he should disclose the origin of any person
We do not wish that
he should curse us
We do not wish him to be greedy
We do not wish that
he should refuse to listen to advice
We do not wish that
he should call people 'fools.'
We do not wish that
he should act without advice
We wish that
he would always have time for his advisers
We do not want personal violence.
state or stool farm was also sometimes cultivated exclusively by
captives and slaves, under the charge of an official. The subjects of a
chief undertook gold-mining, in the form of shaft-digging and gold
panning, as a civic obligation . . . Slaves purchased
by state officials were not resold but added to the agyapade,
properties of the state. . . The trade routes were closed while state
kola was being sold, which created a favourable market situation for the
64 . . . the paramount ruler was the ultimate heir of all citizens of substance, and the state, again in theory, was the final custodian of the national wealth.
65 In the early days of the Asante expansion, the leaders of the conquering armies were assigned the responsibility of collecting tributes from the territories their armies had conquered. Responsibility carried the perquisite of a third share of the tribute collected.
68 The state gave loans, mmoasea, apparently without interest, to state officials for trading purposes.
69 The paramount ruler owed obligatory hospitality to citizens of the capital and strangers. . . it was estimated that meals and palm wine for subjects who went to the palace cost the Asante state 2 ounces of gold a day . . .Neither power-holders nor authority holders were paid regular salaries or wages. . .
73 . . . the ruler himself did not touch money.
vii Human sacrifices
were capriciously made, at the whims of chiefs. In some instances
human beings were slaughtered to accompany dead chiefs to the next
world. Chiefs encouraged the slave trade, and so enriched themselves . .
viii The chief was first and foremost a religious or rather sacred person. His main function was to act as the intermediary between the dead and the living. He was to offer due veneration to the ancestors.
ix There is this other side to the religious role of the chief: the festivals the chief is obliged to observe, besides their strictly sacred character, have other dimensions to them which are equally important. They offer occasions for festivity and merry making. They provide a platform for citizens to patch up their differences. They unite the people behind their ruler. They give a sense of healthy pride, dignity and nobility to the people. These values are surely worth guarding jealously.
1 The horns are all made of the elephant tusks. They differ in size. A hole is made at the smaller end of the tusk into which the player blows air to produce the sound he desires. The player uses the horn to speak. What he says with the horn varies from the mention of an historical feat to insulting a particular person, and from heaping praises on the king or chief to complaining of hunger.
The Golden Stool and the Elephant Tail:
Wealth in Asante
134 . . . the profits of office and trade were frequently sunk into the purchase of people and of the land necessary for (at least) their support.
135 . . . the principal return looked for in such an investment was a social one, that is, to acquire one's own nkoa - persons (whether free or unfree in law) whose services one could directly command - was to be seen quite manifestly to be upwardly mobile in society.
Space, Time and "Human Sacrifice."
224 There is also no doubt that many of them did not welcome the opportunity afforded them of exchanging the status of slave in one world for that of slave in another.
227 There was certainly intense political agitation in Kumase in the late 1790s, and it had to do with the number of slayings. Reports reached the Danish merchants on the Gold Coast to the effect that Asantehene Osei Kwame's excessive killings had alienated even the Asantehemaa Konadu Yaadom, who raised rebellion. She was able to force Osei Kwame to agree to curtail mortuary slayings and to observe due process of law in the prosecution of those accused of crimes.
What manner of Persons Were These? Generals of the Konti of Kumase
244 In 1958 I talked about Amankwatia Panin (that is the first Amankwatia) to the then Asantehene, Nana Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II. I asked about Amankwatiah's family. "What do you mean, family?" the Asantehene replied. "How could Amankwatia Panin have a family? He was a slave. Does a slave have a family?" I asked where Amankwatia came from. "How can I tell you that?" he responded, angrily. "Does anyone know where a slave comes from? You don't talk about a slave's origins. A slave is a slave."
Concerning historical Asante who appear in the novel
THE ASANTE COLLECTIVE BIOGRAPHY PROJECT (Co-directed by Ivor Wilks and T.C. McCaskie)
CAREER SHEET No: ACBP/28,
Asantesem Bulletin no. 11, July 1979, pp. 5-13
Career Sheet prepared by I. Wilks, November
Number of carded items: approximately 50.
01 NAME: Kwaadu (Konadu) Yaadom.
02 SEX: Female.
03 DATE OF DEATH: 1809.
04 DATE OF BIRTH: 1752±2.
05 PLACE OF BIRTH: Mampon (6751000).
06 HIGHEST OFFICE HELD: Asantehemaa.
10 NAME OF FATHER: Asumgyima Penemo, (ACBP/283).
11 STATUS OF FATHER: Mamponhene
12 NAME OF PAT.GRANDFATHER: Oben Amoa (ACBP/387).
13 STATUS OF PAT. GRANDFATHER: not yet retrieved.
14 NAME OF PAT. GRANDMOTHER: Kwaadu Yaadom (ACBP/388).
15 STATUS OF PAT. GRANDMOTHER: Mamponhemaa.
16 NAME OF MOTHER: Aberefi Yaa (ACBP/383).
17 STATUS OF MOTHER: כdehyeε of the Golden Stool.
18 NAME OF MAT. GRANDFATHER: Opoku Atia (ACBP/389).
19 STATUS OF MAT. GRANDFATHER: Abradehene.
20 NAME OF MAT. GRANDMOTHER: Akua Afiriye (ACBP/390).
21 STATUS OF MAT. GRANDMOTHER: Asantehemaa.
22 ABUSUA (OF SUBJECT AND MOTHER): Oyoko.
23 NTORO (OF SUBJECT AND FATHER): not yet retrieved.
30 SIBLINGS: Kwaadu Yaadom had no full siblings, and only one maternal
sibling. No names of paternal siblings have yet been retrieved.
SAME MOTHER ONLY:
a) Sewaa Awukuwaa (ACBP/395).
a) Apa Owusu (ACBP/284), Mampon Apahene (child marriage: no issue).
b) Safo Katanka (ACBP/190), Mamponhene (child marriage: putative offspring of this union are presumed adoptive).
c) Adu Twum Kaakyire (ACBP/71), Akyamfo Dumienu כkyeame.
d) Owusu Ansa (ACBP/285), כheneba, of Asokore Mampon (6406701).
e) Owusu Yaw (ACBP/398), Anowuhene of Kumase.
a) By Adu Twum Kaakyire, Opoku Kwame (ACBP/279), who became heir-apparent to the Golden Stool.
b) By Adu Twum Kaakyire, Opoku Fofie (ACBP/0.7), who became Asantehene.
c) By Owusu Ansa, Osei Kofi (ACBP/399), who became heir-apparent to the Golden Stool.
d) By Owusu Ansa, Osei Tutu Kwame (ACBP/0.8), who became Asantehene.
e) By Owusu Ansa, Osei Badu (ACBP/115), who became heir-apparent.
f) By Owusu Yaw, Osei Yaw Akoto (ACBP/0.9), who became Asantehene.
a) By Adu Twum Kaakyire, Yaa Dufi (ACBP/280), who became Asantehemaa.
b) By Adu Twum Kaakyire, Akua Akrukruwaa, also known as Akua Afiriye (ACBP/281).
** NOTE: Last child, name and sex unknown, died at birth.
50 PRE-CAREER PERIOD, AGES 0-9 (1752±2 - 1761±2):
50.01 Kwaadu Yaadom was born in Mampon. Any understanding of her early life is predicated upon a knowledge of events, preceding, and surrounding, her birth. In the mid-eighteenth century the Bretuo rulers of Mampon were consolidating their position by a series of politically expedient dynastic marriages. Inter alios, Aberefi Yaa, daughter of Asantehemaa Akua Afiriye, was given as wife to Mamponhene Atakora Panin (ACBP/396), and, following his abdication from office through age and blindness, she was remarried to the new Mamponhene Asumgyima Penemo: the union which resulted in the birth of Kwaadu Yaadom. Aberefi Yaa herself never became Asantehemaa. In this period the office - or certainly that of head of the female royals of the Golden Stool - was held by one Akyaama (ACBP/191). The precise identity of Akyaama remains a matter of speculation, since she has been dropped from the official genealogies and office lists as a result, seemingly, of some serious violation of customary mores. It is clear, however, that she and Kwaadu Yaadom were close uterine kin.
50.02 At, or shortly after, her birth, Kwaadu Yaadom was given by her father as כyerε akoda, 'child bride', to the Mampon Apahene, Apa Owusu (ACBP/284).
50.03 Probably in or about 1755: The death of Mamponhene Asumgyima Penemo cannot yet be accurately dated, but seems to have occurred within a few years of Kwaadu Yaadom's birth. Safo Katanka (ACBP/190) succeeded to the Mampon Stool, and, by kuna awadeε, 'levirate', married Aberefi Yaa, the widow of Asumgyima Penemo, and mother of Kwaadu Yaadom.
50.04 Probably late 1750s or early 1760s: Aberefi Yaa, after giving birth certainly to one child, Sewaa Awukuwaa (ACBP/395), by Safo Katanka, and by some reports to a second, Sewaa Dente (ACBP/415), apparently died. Safo Katanka asserted his claims to an ayetε, 'substitute wife', and his choice was Kwaadu Yaadom. Apahene Apa Owusu agreed to his superior's wishes, and his marriage to Kwaadu Yaadom was dissolved. In compensation, however, Safo Katanka. gave his own daughter Sewaa Awukuwaa - uterine sister of Kwaadu Yaadom - as child‑bride to Apa Owusu. It is in this same period that Safo Katanka is presumed also to have married Akyaama - possibly widowed by the death of a former husband. Safo Katanka thus strengthened further the links between the Bretuo rulers of Mampon and the royals of the Golden Stool by this form of ahene awadeε: 'marriage to closely related females'.
51 CAREER PERIOD I, AGES 10-19 (1762±2 - 1771±2):
51.01 In or about 1767: Mamponhene Safo Katanka died. His matrilateral cross‑cousin, Atakora Kwame (ACBP/208), contested the vacant stool, and claimed Kwaadu Yaadom as wife by kuna awadeε. Kwaadu Yaadom, by this time presumably pubescent, refused to accept the union, and left Mampon for Kumase. There she chose to marry the Akyamfo Dumienu כkyeame, Adu Twum Kaakyire (ACBP/71).
51.02 Probably in or about 1770: In circumstances which are shrouded in mystery, Akyaama fell into disgrace, and was probably banished or killed. Asantehene Osei Kwadwo (ACBP/0.5) chose Kwaadu Yaadom to succeed her. It appears, however, that the stool occupied by Akyaama was regarded as defiled beyond redemption. Osei Kwadwo therefore transferred to Kumase from Kokofu (6269000), the stool of the Kokofuhemaa which belonged to a collateral branch of the royals of the Golden Stool. Kwaadu Yaadom was enstooled on it; she is thus sometimes regarded as the first of a new line of Asantehemaas.
52 CAREER PERIOD II, AGES 20-29 (1772±2 - 1781±2):
52.01 1773-1774: Asantehene Osei Kwadwo took the field in person to command the expedition against Banna. (7310102). As Asantehemaa, Kwaadu Yaadom was assigned responsibility for civil government for the duration of the campaign. She was later to remark that she had found the responsibility a very onerous one - presumably a reflection in part at least on her youth and lack of experience. 52.02 Probably in this period, but before 1777: Kwabena Berefo (ACBP/416), כhene of Heman (6800801), lost his only sister's daughter, Pomaa (ACBP/417), when she committed suicide after being abused by his relatives. After the completion of Pomaa's funeral, Kwabena Berefo informed Asantehene Osei Kwadwo that he wished to sell his remaining relatives, and to give his stool to Osei Kwadwo's daughter Akyaa Panin (ACBP/418) of Apatrapa (6304702), for the use of her descendants. Osei Kwadwo agreed to the proposal. Kwaadu Yaadom purchased Kwabena Berefo's relatives, under their senior woman Gyimafi (ACBP/419), for 30 peredwans.
52.03 1777: The Golden Stool became vacant with the death of Asantehene Osei Kwadwo. The only candidate available from the central branch of the dynasty was the twelve year old Osei Kwame (ACBP/0.6) - then resident in Mampon. Osei Kwame and his two full siblings Akyaa Kese (ACBP/397) and Amma Sewaa (ACBP/375) are now afforded adoptive descent from Kwaadu Yaadom in the royal genealogies; in fact they were the children of Mamponhene Safo Katanka, most probably by his marriage to Akyaama. It seems that as a result of Akyaama's transgression, one faction of the electors in Kumase regarded Osei Kwame as therefore excluded from the succession. Headed by the Oyoko Bremanhene Nto Boroko (ACBP/210), with the support of Adontenhene Kwaaten Pete (ACBP/52), this faction sponsored the candidacy of the reigning Kokofuhene Kyei Kwame (ACBP/211). A second faction, however, opposed the nomination of Kyei Kwame on the grounds that the Kokofu royals had been constitutionally debarred from the Golden Stool since the time of Asantehene Osei Tutu (ACBP/0.2). In an attempt to avert a major crisis, Asantehemaa Kwaadu Yaadom requested the intervention of Mamponhene Atakora Kwame, who, however, made it a condition of his assistance that Kwaadu Yaadom should apologise to him for her earlier refusal to marry him. Kwaadu Yaadom was obliged to travel to Mampon to tender her apology. Thereupon Atakora Kwame took matters into his own hands. At the head of a large body of troops he marched on Kumase, put Nto Boroko to death, and presided over the enstoolment of Osei Kwame. It may have been that, in further pursuit of his personal satisfaction, Atakora Kwame brought about the death of Kwaadu Yaadom's current husband, Adu Twum Kaakyire (see Career Sheet, ACBP/71, #55.01).
52.04 1777-1780: Mamponhene Atakora Kwame remained in Kumase for three years, to protect the interests of the young Asantehene, and the powerful Adontenhene of Kumase, Kwaaten Pete - despite his earlier espousal of the candidacy of Kyei Kwame - was chosen to administer the government. Nevertheless, contemporary reports also testify to the great influence which Kwaadu Yaadom came to have over the affairs of state at this time.
53 CAREER PERIOD III, AGES 30-39 (1782±2 - 1791±2):
53.01 In or about 1785: The regency of Kwaaten Pete ended with the assumption of full powers by Asantehene Osei Kwame. Kwaaten Pete was required to relinquish control of the Treasury, and the accounts indicated that the sum to be handed over was 56,000 peredwans (equivalent to 126,000 ounces of gold). Kwaaten Pete was unable to produce the full amount, and his plea that the missing sum - seemingly some 1,000 peredwans - had been spent on affairs of state, was not accepted. The Adonten fekuo as a whole assumed responsibility for the debt. The share of Adeisena (6507701), in the Antoa section of the Adonten, was set at 30 peredwans. Unable to pay the amount in gold dust, the Adeisenahene sold a number of his relatives and the town of Krobo (6508601) to Kwaadu Yaadom for the required amount. Kwaadu Yaadom ordered her new subjects to supply her with food and firewood in Kumase. She took into her personal service, however, one of the Adeisenahene's relatives, Yaa Kooayiwaa (ACBP/405), as nkotimsini, maidservant. Yaa Kooayiwaa gave birth to Agyapomaa Tibo (ACBP/406), who later was taken as wife by Kwaadu Yaadom's son, Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame (ACBP/0.8).
53.02 In or about 1785: Having assumed full governmental powers, Asantehene Osei Kwame appears almost immediately to have sought to strengthen his new authority by assuming personal command of an expedition against the rebellious Denkyirahene, Kyei Akoben (ACBP/420). Before his departure from Kumase, Kwaadu Yaadom complained that on a previous occasion when the Asantehene had campaigned in person and she had been left in charge of the government (that is, when Osei Kwadwo had fought the Banna in 1773–1774), she had found the task a highly burdensome one. She accordingly asked Osei Kwame to designate an כkyeame to remain in Kumase with her, to assist in administration. Osei Kwame assented to her request, and created for the purpose a new position within the Gyaasewa group: that of Akankade כkyeame. Kwasi Kankam (ACBP/72) was appointed to the post; he was a son of Adu Twum Kaakyire (and erstwhile stepson, therefore, of Kwaadu Yaadom), and had previously held the office of Akyamfo Dumienu כkyeame in succession to his father.
54 CAREER PERIOD IV, AGES 40-49 (1792±2 - 1801±2):
54.01 Late 1796 or early 1797: Kwaadu Yaadom's son Opoku Kwame who - probably at his mother's insistence - had been made heir–apparent to the Golden Stool some years earlier, died. He was only in his mid–twenties. Asantehene Osei Kwame sent messengers, with presents of slaves, to the Danish, Dutch and English establishments on the Gold Coast, to give notification of the event.
54.02 Mid to late 1797: Whether true or false, the belief that Asantehene Osei Kwame had poisoned Opoku Kwame because of his growing popularity among the people gained rapid currency in Kumase. Kwaadu Yaadom took a leading role in organizing opposition to Osei Kwame's continuing rule. The Asantehene responded to the threat with repressive measures. A report circulated that the Asantehene had seized some 1,400 or 1,500 persons, seemingly with the intention of executing them on the occasion of the one year funeral rites for Opoku Kwame. By another report Osei Kwame is said to have put to death a 'prince', apparently accounted one of the most handsome men in the kingdom. The identity of the victim has not been clearly established, but he may have been Danyasehene Amankwa Kum‑aponko (ACBP/421), whose execution without due process of law is remembered as a cause of conflict between Osei Kwame and his councillors, and led Kwaadu Yaadom to ask the Bantamahene to apologise to the Oman on the Asantehene's behalf.
54.03 1798: Probably in the early part of the year Kwaadu Yaadom was forced to flee Kumase, fearing the threat which Osei Kwame presented to her life. She is reported to have taken refuge with her 'brother'; his identity is unclear, but there is at least a possibility that the reference is to the Kokofuhene. By the middle of the year popular resistance to authority in Kumase had apparently reached such pro portions that Kwaadu Yaadom - with her 'brother' - re-entered the capital and, in the interests of the dynasty, sought a rapprochement with Osei Kwame. In order to reduce the level of political conflict, a series of penal reforms was announced, seemingly sponsored by both Osei Kwame and Kwaadu Yaadom. The public trial of offenders was made mandatory, and the Asantehene relinquished his powers of summary arrest and execution. Over a wide range of offences, transportation for life (that is, by sale at the coast) was substituted for the death penalty, but the sale of any Asante citizen to the European traders in any other circumstances was prohibited. Forfeiture of the estate of an offender sentenced to transportation for life was abolished; the heirs were to take possession of it and perform funeral rites for the convict as if he (or she) were dead. It was probably a further aspect of the settlement between Osei Kwame and Kwaadu Yaadom, that the latter's son Opoku Fofie (ACBP/0.7) was recognized as heir-apparent in succession to the deceased Opoku Kwame.
54.04 Probably in this period: By report, a trading party sent into the northern hinterlands of Asante by Kwaadu Yaadom, under the command of her servant Ata Obese (ACBP/422), was on its return journey near the Nsuta town of Asaaman (6767000) when smallpox broke out in its ranks. Messages were sent to Kumase to inform Kwaadu Yaadom of the misfortune, who in turn asked the Asaamanhene to make available a site at which the traders could be isolated. Subsequently, after the disease had run its course, Kwaadu Yaadom granted Ata Obese and her followers permission to remain on the farms which they had made near Asaaman. On Ata Obese's death, her whole estate reverted to Kwaadu Yaadom, who granted it to her son Osei Yaw Akoto (ACBP/0.9); because, however, of Osei Yaw Akoto's youth, it was administered by Bosommuru Amoaben (ACBP/423), his mmagyegyeni, 'nanny'. (When Osei Yaw Akoto became Asantehene in 1824, he created the new position of Mmagyegyefohene in the Ankobea fekuo for Bosommuru Amoaben, who was granted most of the descendants of Ata Obese and her followers as his subjects.)
54.05 Probably in this period: In circumstances which are not yet known, Kwaadu Yaadom came into the possession of one Akua Beniwaa (ACBP/424), a member of the stool family of Adwumakase Kese (6864000). Kwaadu Yaadom presented Akua Beniwaa to her daughter Akua Akrukruwaa (ACBP/281), to serve her as nkonnwasoani. (Later, the case כdehyeε Adwowa Kyire vs. Adwumakasehene Kwasi Yeboa was heard by Asantehene Mensa Bonsu. Kwasi Yeboa (ACBP/425) claimed ownership of Akua Beniwaa’s descendants from Akua Akrukruwaa's granddaughter Adwowa Kyire (ACBP/403). Kwasi Yeboa was found guilty of wrongfully swearing the Great Oath to the effect that Kwaadu Yaadom had not owned Akua Beniwaa; he fled to Kokofu, but was pardoned on payment of a fine of 3 peredwans.)
54.06 In or about 1800: Asantehene Osei Kwame left Kumase and took up residence in Dwaben (6672000), the town of his paternal grandfather Dwabenhene Osei Hwidie (ACBP/256). The circumstances of the move are not yet known with any clarity. Certainly, however, it may be inferred that the rapprochement between Kwaadu Yaadom and Osei Kwame had not withstood the test of time. Indeed, that Osei Kwame intended to re‑establish his court in Dwaben is indicated by the fact that he took with him not only the Golden Stool and all the regalia, but also his nearest kin: his surviving full sister Amma Sewaa (ACBP/375) - who, seemingly, he hoped would replace Kwaadu Yaadom as Asantehemaa - and at least one of her children, the young Fredua Agyeman, who was later to be enstooled as Asantehene Kwaku Dua Panin (ACBP/0.10). In Dwaben, Amma Sewaa - whose former husband, Nkwantananhene Boakye Yam Kuma (ACBP/59), had probably died - was remarried to Okyere Kotoku (ACBP/426), a son of Dwabenhene Akuamoa Panin (ACBP/385). Osei Kwame himself formed a liaison with Agyeiwaa Badu (ACBP/384), the eldest daughter of Akuamoa Panin's sister, Ako (ACBP/386). One son, Sikayepena (ACBP/427), was born of the union, which, in violating the rule of exogamy, was one that was forbidden in Asante law (though not in Muslim law, to which Osei Kwame was said to have been strongly attracted).
55 CAREER PERIOD V, AGES 50-59 (1802±2 - 1811±2):
55.01 1802 - mid 1803: The opposition to Osei Kwame embraced a wide spectrum of opinion. Some believed that his leanings towards Islam threatened their own security; some saw his neglect of Kumase affairs as presaging the end of that city's preeminence; some predicted the dire consequences of his illicit liaison with Agyeiwaa Badu; and others were appalled by his failure - probably in late 1802 – to celebrate Odwira in Kumase. Those who took leading parts in organizing the opposition in the capital included Anantahene Apea Dankwa (ACBP/23); Anowuhene Owusu Yaw (ACBP/398), husband of Kwaadu Yaadom; and akyeame Kwadwo Adusei (ACBP/22) and Boakye Yam Panin (ACBP/ 117). Indeed, in a gesture of contempt for the absent Asantehene, Boakye Yam Panin announced the divorce of his daughter Akua Dua (ACBP/428) from Osei Kwame, and her remarriage to Anowuhene Owusu Yaw (Akua Dua thus becoming a junior wife to Kwaadu Yaadom). It was, however, probably only when Adontenhene Kwaaten Pete – doyen of the Kumase councillors -- signalized his support for the opposition that the outcome of the conflict ceased to be in doubt. Kwaaten Pete and Apea Dankwa convened a meeting of council in Kumase, secured a mandate to proceed with the destoolment of Osei Kwame, and then formally requested Kwaadu Yaadom to take the necessary action. Kwaadu Yaadom, pointing out that her life had already been threatened by Osei Kwame, assented. Probably in mid -1803, messages were sent to the Asantehene demanding his presence in Kumase or threatening his destoolment in absentia.
55.02 Probably late 1803 - early 1804: Asantehene Osei Kwame announced his decision to return to Kumase. Fearing that he intended to resume the government, the opposition leaders placed the Kumase forces on a war footing. The Mampon and Dwaben assured Osei Kwame of their support, but the Asantehene – stating that he did not intend to involve the nation in civil strife – declined their intervention. With only 2,000 men, he marched from Dwaben to Breman (6460000), and requested his opponents to meet him there. Osei Kwame announced his abdication, surrendered the Golden Stool and the regalia to them, and returned to Dwaben. In Kumase, Kwaadu Yaadom presented her son Opoku Fofie to the Oman, and a time for his enstoolment as Asantehene was appointed: seemingly either the week of Kwadwo (Monday) to Monodwo (Monday), 5–12 December 1803, or Kwadwo (Monday) to Monodwo (Monday), 16–23 January 1804. On the Akwasidae (Sunday) before the enstoolment, the Dwabenhene summoned Osei Kwame before him and, giving him a gun, asked him to march behind the Dwaben Stool. Insulted, Osei Kwame returned to his house and committed suicide by poison. Gratified that the former Asantehene had preferred death to dishonour, Kwaadu Yaadom and the Asantehene–designate Opoku Fofie sent bearers to Dwaben to convey the body to Kumase for burial. It is said that in the following week half the royal family attended the funeral of Osei Kwame, and the other half the enstoolment of Opoku Fofie.
55.03 1804: After reigning for only one and a half (Asante) months, Opoku Fofie died, probably in February or March. The electors passed over Kwaadu Yaadom's next surviving son, Osei Kofi (ACBP/ 399), in favour of his younger full brother, Osei Tutu Kwame (ACBP/0.8); the precise date of his enstoolment has not yet been established.
55.04 Early in the reign of Osei Tutu Kwame: At a meeting of council, according to a report in Arabic, composed of "Qarantan [Kwaaten Pete], the Sultan [Osei Tutu Kwame], his mother Qunādua [Kwaadu Yaadom], and all the elders", the troubles which had beset Asante in recent times were reviewed ‑ the struggle between Osei Kwame and Kwaadu Yaadom, the abdication and death of Osei Kwame, and the death of Opoku Fofie so shortly after his accession. With presumed reference to the attachment of Osei Kwame to Islam, the council speculated that the troubles may have arisen because the rights of Muslims in Asante had been violated, and it was accordingly proposed that all Muslim captives should be set free and repatriated to their homelands.
55.05 Early in the reign of Osei Tutu Kwame: Kwaadu Yaadom presented her newly enstooled son with the town of Krobo (see above, #53.01), retaining for herself, however, the services of some of its people. Subsequently Osei Tutu Kwame transferred his Krobo subjects to Amankwa Bogo (ACBP/408), head of the new Anamenako group within the Ankobea fekuo.
55.06 1807: Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame left Kumase to assume personal command of the Asante forces campaigning on the Gold Coast. Kwaadu Yaadom once again assumed responsibility for the conduct of the government in Kumase.
55.07 1808: In the course of the inquiry held – as was customary – into the conduct of the campaign on the Gold Coast, the Denkyirahene Amoako Ata Kuma (ACBP/429) was accused of having concealed booty acquired during the fighting. He was found guilty, destooled, and executed. Mamponhene Safo Yaw (ACBP/214) was accused of having acted in collusion with Amoako Ata Kuma, and he too was found guilty. There is little doubt that Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame and Asantehemaa Kwaadu Yaadom saw the situation as one which could be manipulated to curtail :the power which the Mamponhenes had acquired during the reign of Asantehene Osei Kwame. The exact sequence of events remains unclear. It appears, however, that Kwaadu Yaadom, as a 'daughter' of the Mampon Stool, had lent it large sums of money: specifically, perhaps, to Mamponhene Atakora Kwame during his stay in Kumase in the late 1770s. Mamponhene Safo Yaw was now required to repay the stool debt to Kwaadu Yaadom. Unable to produce the necessary sum, Safo Yaw was forced to surrender his northern tributary possessions – including Amanten (7460000), Atebubu (7464000), Pran (7465000), Yegyi (7466000), Kulpi (8101904), and Kpembe (8102001) – to the Asantehene, who placed them under the direct administration of various Kumase functionaries. Safo Yaw is said to have made a new horn call, that he had been deprived of all he possessed, and would therefore be mute.
55.08 1809: Kwaadu Yaadom died in childbirth, as did the child, as a result of what must be assumed to have been a menopausal pregnancy. The event probably occurred in May or early June; certainly messengers bearing news of it arrived on the Gold Coast at the end of June.
55.09 1809–1810: A series of lavish funeral customs were conducted for Kwaadu Yaadom. That described by T. E. Bowdich – doubtless with considerable exaggeration – was perhaps the one year celebration: "the King himself devoted 3000 victims, (upwards of 2000 of whom were Fantee prisoners) and 25 barrels of powder. Dwabin, Kokoofoo, Becqua, Soota, and Marmpong, furnished 100 victims, and 20 barrels of powder, each, and most of the smaller towns 10 victims, and two barrels of powder, each." As late as December 1810, contributions for further ceremonies were still being collected on the Gold Coast.
61 SUCCESSOR: Asantehemaa Adoma Akosua (ACBP/54), daughter of Kwaadu Yaadom's sister, Sewaa Awukuwaa (ACBP/395).
62 COMMEMORATION: Stool blackened.
70 PHYSICAL TRAITS: no information yet retrieved.
71 PROFILE: T. E. Bowdich, who was in Kumase only eight years after Kwaadu Yaadom's death, described her as having been "a woman of violent passions, and great ambition." Certainly the course of her career in no ways suggests that the description was inaccurate. As a child Kwaadu Yaadom was clearly used as a pawn in the creation of close dynastic links between the Oyoko royals of the Golden Stool and the Bretuo royals of Mampon. When only in her mid–teens, however, Kwaadu Yaadom demonstrated her independence by refusing to marry Mamponhene Atakora Kwame and by leaving Mampon for Kumase in order to wed the man, apparently, of her choice. Made Asantehemaa before she had attained the age of twenty, it was only with the death of Asantehene Osei Kwadwo in 1777 that Kwaadu Yaadom found herself thrust into the centre of the complex dynastic politics of the period. Forced in humiliating circumstances to solicit the intervention of Mamponhene Atakora Kwame in Kumase affairs, Kwaadu Yaadom was soon to emerge as a powerful figure in her own right, and was able to wield much influence over the affairs of state during the minority of Asantehene Osei Kwame. By the late 1790s, however, relations between herself and Osei Kwame had become highly fractious; and doubtless the growing popular support which her eldest son, the heir-apparent Opoku Kwame, came to enjoy was a source of much gratification to her. Whether or not Osei Kwame was indeed responsible for the death of Opoku Kwame in 1796 or 1797, the event precipitated a major conflict between Asantehene and Asantehemaa which was to end some six years later with the abdication of Osei Kwame and the enstoolment of Kwaadu Yaadom's second son, Opoku Fofie, as Asantehene. The death of Opoku Fofie after a very brief reign may have constituted a personal tragedy for Kwaadu Yaadom, but in no way threatened the personal ascendancy which she had come to enjoy: her fourth son, Osei Tutu Kwame, was elected Asantehene apparently without opposition. Kwaadu Yaadom lived to see Osei Tutu Kwame rally the nation behind him, securing a major triumph – political as well as military – on the Gold Coast in 1807. She died without knowing that yet another of her sons, Osei Yaw Akoto, would also become in time Asantehene.
Kwaadu Yaadom's death, as a result of a menopausal pregnancy, relates perhaps to another facet of her character to which Bowdich made allusion; she was, he reported, a woman of strong sexual proclivities “a second Messalina". Be that as it may, there is no doubt that her death in middle age deprived the nation of a leader of considerable charisma who had acquired much political acumen in the course of the four decades in which she served as Asantehemaa.
THE ASANTE COLLECTIVE BIOGRAPHY PROJECT (Co-directed by Ivor Wilks and T.C. McCaskie)
CAREER SHEET No: ACBP/52, Asantesem Bulletin no. 10, January 1979, pp. 31-36
Identification No: ACBP/52
Career Sheet prepared by I.
Wilks, July 1978.
Revised September 1978.
Number of carded items:
01 NAME: Kwaaten (Koranten) Pete - כpεtε, 'the vulture'.
02 SEX: Male.
03 DATE OF DEATH: 1810±5 (probably in the lower part of the range).
04 DATE OF BIRTH: 1715±5 (probably in the upper part of the range).
05 PLACE OF BIRTH: not yet retrieved.
06 HIGHEST OFFICE HELD: Adontenhene of Kumase.
NAME OF FATHER Oduro Panin (ACBP/212).
STATUS OF FATHER: Nsutahene.
NAME OF PAT. GRANDFATHER: Ofori Kobon (ACBP/238).
STATUS OF PAT. GRANDFATHER: Agogohene.
NAME OF PAT. GRANDMOTHER: Kwae Abena Nnikra (ACBP/239).
STATUS OF PAT. GRANDMOTHER: an כdehyeε of the Nsuta Stool.
NAME OF MOTHER: Adwowa Nkansa (ACBP/240).
STATUS OF MOTHER: from the Aberewaa Kwanti lineage of Baaman (6508901).
NAME OF MAT. GRANDFATHER: not yet retrieved.
STATUS OF MAT. GRANDFATHER: not yet retrieved.
NAME OF MAT. GRANDMOTHER: Aso Danso (ACBP/241).
STATUS OF MAT. GRANDMOTHER: from the Aberewaa Kwanti lineage of Baaman.
ABUSUA (OF SUBJECT AND MOTHER): Asenie.
NTORO (OF SUBJECT AND FATHER): not yet retrieved.
30.2 SAME FATHER ONLY: one has been so far identified
a) a brother, Kwaaten Anim (ACBP/246), who became Agonahene.
30.3 SAME MOTHER ONLY: four have been so far identified -
a) a sister, Yaa Boto (ACBP/242).
b) a sister, Na Amma (ACBP/243).
c) a sister, Apeampon (ACBP/244).
d) a brother, Kofi Akuoko (ACBP/245), who became Adontenhene.
40 SPOUSES: only one has been so far identified –
a) Abena Saka (ACBP/248), Mamponhemaa.
41 SONS: none so far identified.
42 DAUGHTERS: none so far identified.
50 PRE‑CAREER PERIOD, AGES 0‑9 (1715±5 – 1724±5):
No information yet retrieved.
51 CAREER PERIOD 1, AGES 10–19 (1725±5 – 1734±5):
No Information yet retrieved.
52 CAREER PERIOD II, AGES 20-29 (1735±5 - 1744±5):
52.01 Ca. 1740: Oduro Panin, father of Kwaaten Pete, had served Asantehene Opoku Ware (ACBP/0.3) as כkyeame. He belonged to the Dako abusua. With the amalgamation of the Oyoko and Dako mmusua, however, Oduro Panin's position became anomalous, in that - under the Laws of Okomfo Anokye - no Oyoko should serve as כkyeame to the Asantehene. When the Stool of Nsuta (6775000) became vacant, Oduro Panin was elected to it. Kwaaten Pete was, in turn, appointed to the vacant position of כkyeame, and appears to have been attached to the Gyaasewa Stool newly created by Asantehene Opoku Ware for his son Adusei Atwenewa (ACBP/127).
52.02 Probably in or soon after 1742: In early 1742 an Asante army under the Akyempemhene Owusu Afiriye (ACBP/82) inflicted crushing defeats on the Akyem Kotoku and Akyem Abuakwa. It appears that it was in the aftermath of these campaigns that the Asante government decided to induce the many Adanse, who had been refugees in Akyem since the Denkyira wars of 1699‑1701, to resettle in their homelands. The Adankranyahene Twumase (ACBP/250) was sent to negotiate with the Adanse, who agreed to return but claimed to have a debt of 800 peredwans which had first to be paid. Asantehene Opoku Ware, in council, agreed to assist the Adanse with their debt. A mission was appointed to preside over the repatriation proceedings. Adankranyahene Twumase was chosen to head it, assisted by the Dadiesoabahene Atobra Kwasi (ACBP/251) and the Anantahene Fosu Twitwi Akwa (ACBP/252). Kwaaten Pete served as כkyeame to the mission. The envoys are said to have given the Adanse 300 peredwans towards the settlement of their debt, but also to have brought a number of accusations against them: first, that they had not assisted Asantehene Osei Tutu (ACBP/0.2) in his struggle with the Denkyira; second, that they had not congratulated him on his victory; third, that had not commiserated upon his death; and finally, that they had offered no felicitations to the Asantehene Opoku Ware upon his accession. For these offences the Adanse were required to apologise and to pay a pacification fee of 30 peredwans; some accounts report that Opoku Ware himself paid it on their behalf. The Adanse resettlement was then carried out. Each reoccupied town was placed under a Kumase overseer: Fomena (6064000) under Domakwaehene, Dompoase (6066000) under Adontenhene, Edubease (6005502) under Anantahene, Ayawase (6005701) under Dadiesoabahene, and both Akurokyere (6065000) and Akuroforom (6061000) under the כkyeame stool held by Kwaaten Pete. The Adankranyahene was assigned responsibilities for general Adanse affairs.
53 CAREER PERIOD III, AGES 30-39 (1745±5 - 1754±5)
53.01 Mid 1740s: In the course of the campaign against the Gyamanhene Abo Kofi (ACBP/249), the Asante forces had been assisted by a group of Nkoran (Kulango) originally from the Buna region but then settled at Sampa (7286000). As a result of their subsequent harassment by the Gyaman, the Nkoran were brought to Kumase and placed under the Akyempemhene Owusu Afiriye. They asked to be allowed to resettle in the northern grasslands controlled by Asante, and were initially granted lands near Wankyi (7352000). Dissatisfied with this location, the Nkoran petitioned Asantehene Opoku Ware specifically for land in the vicinity of Nsoko (7307201) ‑ a town then under the supervision of the Kumase Adumhene, Ado Kese (ACBP/253). The Asantehene agreed to the request, and appointed a mission to preside over the resettlement proceedings. The Adumhene was represented by his afenasoani Osei Kru (ACBP/254); the Akyempemhene by his subordinate, Banin Obirempon of Ampabame (6503103) ‑ possibly the Ampabamehene Obirempon Adwere Tawia (ACBP/255); and Kwaaten Pete served as כkyeame to the mission. The Nkoran established the two new towns of Badu (7363000) and Siakwa (7303501).
53.02 Probably in this period: Kwaaten Pete married the Mamponhemaa Abena Saka, widowed by the death of her first husband, Dwabenhene Osei Hwidie (ACBP/256).
54 CAREER PERIOD IV, AGES 40-49 (1755±5 - 1764±5):
54.01 No information as yet retrieved. It is assumed that Kwaaten Pete continued to serve as כkyeame under Asantehene Kusi Obodom (ACBP/0.4).
55 CAREER PERIOD V, AGES 50-59 (1765±5 - 1774±5):
55.01 1765: At the beginning of his reign, Asantehene Osei Kwadwo (ACBP/0.5) in person headed an expedition against a coalition of Wassa, Twifo and Akyem Abuakwa which threatened the routes to the western Gold Coast. In April the coalition armies were encamped at Benda (now vanished, but some 40 miles north of Cape Coast). In May the Asante advance troops engaged the enemy, and the Wassa and Twifo retired westwards from Benda to Heman (1361000). In early June the main Asante forces attacked and defeated the Akyem Abuakwa under the Okyenhene Pobi Asumanin (XCBP/257) at Dompem (1268000) near Benda. During the campaign the widows of the late Asantehene Kusi Obodom were kept in seclusion. On his return to Kumase, however, Asantehene Osei Kwadwo learned that one of them had become pregnant. She named as her consort the Adontenhene Amankwa Osei (ACBP/258) of Eduabin (6500701). Amankwa Osei was summoned before the Asantehene and council for trial, but chose to commit suicide rather than appear. His mpaninfo were fined 100 peredwans, and the rights of the Asenie of Eduabin to the Adonten Stool were voided. The Nsutahene Amankwa (ACBP/209) - Kwaaten Pete's patrilateral cross-cousin - advanced Kwaaten Pete's candidacy for the vacant post, pointing out that he was, inter alia, of the appropriate abusua. Asantehene Osei Kwadwo appointed Kwaaten Pete to the Adonten Stool, and named the Gyakyehene Kwaku Oheman (ACBP/259) as successor to the position of כkyeame thereby made vacant.
55.02 Possibly in the dry season of 1767-1768: Stability in the northeastern provinces of Asante had become threatened, firstly, by the dispute in Dagomba between Ya Na Gariba (ACBP/260) and Jibril Na Sa (ACBP/261), and secondly, by the dispute in Nanumba between Bimbilla Na Bulali (ACBP/262) and the Tahnamo Na. Jibril Na Sa and Tahnamo Na, the latter through Kpembewura, appealed to the Asantehene to intervene. Ya Na Gariba apparently returned defiant answers to messages sent to him from Kumase, so placing himself in rebellion. In Kumase the matter was debated and intervention agreed upon. Adontenhene Kwaaten Pete and Mamponhene Atakora Kwame (ACBP/208) were appointed to command the expeditionary force, the former seemingly with a specific assignment to Dagomba and the latter to Nanumba. In Dagomba Kwaaten Pete easily overcame the opposition offered to his forces, and arrested Ya Na Gariba. En route for Kumase - possibly at Kpembe (1802001) mortality among the carriers, and the aged Ya Na Gariba's ailing health, dictated the necessity of a change in plan. Kwaaten Pete allowed Ya Na Gariba to return to his capital, Yendi (8350000), after he had agreed to pay a war indemnity, and thenceforth a regular annual tribute, to the Asantehene. On his return to Kumase, Kwaaten Pete's actions were approved: he and his successors in office were awarded a one‑third share of the Dagomba tributes, and the right to use the title Yendihene. The Adontenhene was also assigned responsibilities as overseer of Dagomba affairs in addition to those seemingly already exercised over the central Gonja division of Daboya (8002701).
56 CAREER PERIOD VI, AGES 60-69 (1775±5 - 1784±5):
56.01 1777: On the death of Asantehene Osei Kwadwo, the Oyoko-Bremanhene Nto Boroko (ACBP/210) attempted to muster support in Kumase for the election of the reigning Kokofuhene Kyei Kwame (ACBP/211) to the Golden Stool. Of the fekuo heads in Kumase, only the Adontenhene Kwaaten Pete declared himself in favor of Kyei Kwame. Asantehemaa Kwaadu Yaadom (ACBP/28) appealed to Mamponhene Atakora Kwame to intervene. He, however, refused his assistance unless Kwaadu Yaadom apologised to him for her earlier refusal to marry him (see Career Sheet, ACBP/71, 54.01). Kwaadu Yaadom travelled to Mampon to make the apology. Atakora Kwame then marched on Kumase, put Nto Boroko to death, and presided over the election to the Golden Stool of Osei Kwame (ACBP/0.6) - reliably reported to have then been only about twelve years of age. Mamponhene Atakora Kwame remained in Kumase for three years to protect the interests of Osei Kwame - son of his mother's sister's son, Safo Katanka (ACBP/190). Despite his earlier espousal of the candidature of Kyei Kwame, however, it was Adontenhene Kwaaten Pete who was chosen to administer the government during the new Asantehene's minority. The appointment doubtless reflected the high standing which Kwaaten Pete by then enjoyed in political circles. It presumably reflected also the close affinal ties between Kwaaten Pete and supporters of the new Asantehene: first, Kwaaten Pete had married the paternal grandmother of Osei Kwame, who was herself sister of Atakora Kwame's mother, and secondly, Kwaaten Pete's father's sister's husband was the Kyidomhene Yamoa Ponko (ACBP/60), who had been guardian of the infant Osei Kwame.
57 CAREER PERIOD VII, AGES 70-79 (1785±5 - 1794±5):
57.01 In or about 1785: The regency of Kwaaten Pete ended with the assumption of full powers by Asantehene Osei Kwame. Kwaaten Pete was required to relinquish control of the Treasury, and the accounts indicated that 56,000 peredwans (equal to 126,000 ounces of gold) had to be handed over. Kwaaten Pete was unable to produce the whole amount, and his plea that the missing part - seemingly some 1,000 peredwans - had been spent on affairs of state, was not accepted. The Adonten fekuo as a whole became responsible for the debt. Kwaaten Pete sold two of his villages, Ahwia and Abira, and the Amakomhene two of his, Esaso and Adidwama, to the Asantehene (who presented all four to the newly created Atipin Stool). The Adausenahene sold his village, Krobo, to Asantehemaa Kwaadu Yaadom (who later presented it to the Anamenako Stool). In this manner the matter was resolved to the Asantehene's satisfaction.
58 CAREER PERIOD VIII, AGES 80-89 (1795±5 - 1804±5): 1800-1803:
58.01 An escalating level of conflict between Asantehene Osei Kwame and Asantehemaa Kwaadu Yaadom led the former, in or about 1800, temporarily to establish his court at Dwaben (6672000). Osei Kwame's conduct in Dwaben alienated many of his former supporters, and his failure to return to Kumase even for the celebration of odwira made his removal from office inevitable. Seemingly in 1803 Adontenhene Kwaaten Pete and Anantahene Apea Dankwa (ACBP/23) prepared to resolve this issue by force of arms. The Dwaben and Mampon declared their support for the Asantehene. Osei Kwame, however, made it known that he did not intend to involve the Asanteman in civil war. With an escort of only two thousand men, and carrying the Golden Stool, Asantehene Osei Kwame passed through the ranks of the opposed forces and at Breman (6460000) announced his abdication.
59 CAREER PERIOD IX, AGES 90-99 (1805±5 - 1814±5):
59.01 Early in the reign of Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame (ACBP/0.8): At a meeting of council the troubles which had beset Asante in recent years were reviewed - the struggle between Asantehene Osei Kwame and Asantehemaa Kwaadu Yaadom, the abdication and death of Osei Kwame, and the death of Asantehene Opoku Fofie (ACBP/0.7) shortly after his accession. It doubtless reflected the pre‑eminent position which the aged Kwaaten Pete held in Asante politics, as well as his close involvement in northern affairs, that a report in Arabic referred to the council as composed of "Qarantan [Kwaaten Pete], the Sultan [Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame], his mother Qunādua [Asantehemaa Kwaadu Yaadom], and all the elders..." With presumed reference to the attachment of the late Asantehene Osei Kwame to Islam, the council speculated that the troubles may have arisen because the rights of Muslims in Asante had been violated, and proposed to set free and repatriate all Muslim captives.
59.02 1810±5: No report of Kwaaten Pete’s death has yet been found. The outside limits appear to be 1805 and 1815; in view, however, of Kwaaten Pete's age there is a presumption that his death occurred in the earlier parts of the range 1810±5. He was buried at the Adonten barem at Eduabin.
61.01 As כkyeame, Gyakyehene Kwaku Ohemen.
61.02 As Adontenhene, Kofi Akuoko, younger uterine brother of Kwaaten Pete. [Kofi Akuoko died within one (Asante) month of his election, and was succeeded by Adontenhene Owusu Nkwantabisa (ACBP/73).]
62 COMMEMORATION: Stool blackened.
70 PHYSICAL TRAITS: no information as yet recorded.
71 PROFILE: Kwaaten Pete's career is well remembered in orally transmitted sources not only because of its unusual eminence, but also because of its remarkable length. Beneficiary of the prestige which his father, Oduro Panin, had gained in the service of Asantehenes Osei Tutu and Opoku Ware, Kwaaten Pete himself appears to have displayed such promise as a young man that he was chosen to assume responsibilities as כkyeame to Opoku Ware upon his father becoming Nsutahene. There is at least a suggestion in the evidence that, as כkyeame, Kwaaten Pete's skills were particularly utilized in resettlement projects. Certainly Kwaaten Pete served both Asantehene Opoku Ware (in the last decade of his reign), and Asantehene Kusi Obodom, in a manner that won him further respect. Thus on the disgrace of the Kumase Adontenhene Amankwa Osei, and the exclusion of his (matrilineal) descendents from the Adonten Stool, Kwaaten Pete was chosen to succeed to that important office. As Adontenhene, Kwaaten Pete was shortly to enhance his reputation further by his conduct of the successful campaign against Dagomba.
Kwaaten Pete was perhaps the most powerful of all those who, upon the death of Asantehene Osei Kwadwo, sponsored the candidacy of Kyei Kwame. Yet, when Mamponhene Atakora Kwame intervened forcibly to place the young Osei Kwame upon the Golden Stool, Kwaaten Pete was made caretaker Regent of the new government. That Kwaaten Pete's caretakership of the government ended unhappily - with the dispute over the treasury accounts - probably reflects more on Asantehene Osei Kwame's concern to assert his new authority than upon Kwaaten Pete's fiscal irresponsibility. When Asantehene Osei Kwame himself, some fifteen years later, was defending his position against violent internal opposition, it is possible that the aged Kwaaten Pete was in part motivated by revenge when he lent the weight of his authority to the movement to destool Osei Kwame; however that may be, he was clearly acting in what he perceived to be the national interest. With his involvement in Dagomba and central Gonja affairs, Kwaaten Pete must have shared Osei Kwame's political concern with the northern hinterlands of Asante. It is significant that one of the early debates under Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame was that on the Muslims; it is even more significant that Muhammad al-Ghamba' (ACBP/13), who reported this matter to the northern imāms, named Kwaaten Pete (before even the Asantehene and Asantehemaa) as participant in that debate. As כkyeame, Adontenhene, and caretaker of government, Kwaaten Pete served Asante through six reigns and seven decades, and died one of its most respected elder statesmen.
It is well-known that the accession to the Golden Stool of Otumfuo Nana Osei Kwame in 1777 occurred in a situation of crisis. The following version of the story was recounted to me by Nana Afua Sapon in September 1962. Nana Afua Sapon had been Mamponhemaa, but abdicated soon after the destoolment of her brother, Mamponhene Nana Kwaku Dua Agyeman, in 1935. Both Nana Afua Sapon and Nana Kwaku Dua were children of the Mamponhemaa Nana Amma Sewaa Akoto whose brother, Mamponhene Osei Bonsu, died in 1930. Nana Amma Sewaa Akoto and Nana Osei Bonsu were themselves children of the Mamponhemaa Nana Akosua Atiaa, whose floruit may be placed in the 1870s and 1880s.
II. The Text
It so happened that when the Asantehene-designate Nana Osei Kwame - a direct descendant of Asantehene Nana Osei Tutu and the only surviving son of the Mamponhene Nana Safo Kantanka - was coming from Mampon to Kumase to occupy the Golden Stool of Asante, the Oyoko Bremanhene Nana Ntoo Boroko conspired with some other members of the Kumase Council of Chiefs to oppose vehemently his election. They preferred the candidature of a certain coordinate royal from Ano in the Kokofu district.
It must be recalled that during the reign of the Mamponhene Nana Atakora Panin, there was only one surviving female royal of the Golden Stool who was directly descended from Nana Osei Tutu. This was the Asantehemaa Nana Aberefi Yaa, who was Nana Atakora Panin's wife. Unfortunately Nana Atakora Panin became blind as predicted by the oracles, and he was succeeded as Mamponhene by his nephew Nana Asumgyima Penemo. After the death of Nana Atakora Panin, Nana Asumgyima Penemo married his widow, Nana Aberefi Yaa, for fear that there would be no direct descendant of Nana Osei Tutu to occupy the Golden Stool at some future date. Nana Aberefi Yaa gave birth to Nana Konadu Yaadom, who was later to become Asantehemaa.
When Nana Asumgyima Penemo died he was succeeded as Mamponhene by his nephew Nana Safo Kantanka. Nana Safo Kantanka married Nana Asumgyima Penemo's widow, Nana Aberefi Yaa, who gave birth to two more daughters, Nana Amma Sewaa Awukuwaa and Nana Sewaa Dente. Nana Safo Kantanka also married his wife's daughter Nana Konadu Yaadom, and she brought forth two daughters, Nana Amma Sewaa and Nana Amma Sewaa Baban, and one son, the future Asantehene Nana Osei Kwame.
Now, when Nana Osei Kwame was about to be enstooled as Asantehene, the Mamponhene Nana Atakora Mensa (who had succeeded his uncle Nana Safo Kantanka) thought it meet and proper to mobilize forces from the Bron Kyempem on account of the strong opposition coming from the Oyoko Bremanhene and some other members of the Kumase Council of Chiefs. The Mamponhene became infuriated about the unhappy state of affairs and marched with his forces from Mampon to Kumase. They sang the military song Osum se yemmra yaba, osum se yemmra yaba, okyere biribi a yebeye ama no oo, 'If Osum says we should come, we have. . . if he shows us something to do, we shall do it.' When they reached Kumase they immediately rushed to the meeting of the Kumase Council of Chiefs then in session at Dwaberem. The Mamponhene Atakora Mensa had an executioner named Konkonti; he was very tall and was probably the tallest executioner that has ever lived in Asante. Nana Atakora Mensa ordered Konkonti to be ready to behead the Oyoko Bremanhene. Konkonti responded "nam", meaning that he was ready. Nana Atakora Mensa then issued the order "kutukum" meaning that Konkonti should behead the Oyoko Bremanhene. Konkonti responded "ote man", meaning that it would certainly be done. Konkonti then beheaded the Oyoko Bremanhene Ntoo Boroko. The act of the Mamponhene created a great sensation in Kumase, and there was an uproar among the remaining members of the Kumase Council who immediately proceeded with the enstoolment of Nana Osei Kwame, the recognized descendant of Asantehene Nana Osei Tutu.
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