Friday, 20 July 2007

A Focus on Juaben ( Dwaben ) its Chiefs and Queens.1

*) Nana Yaw Sarpong I. Nana came unto the Juaben throne at a time of major disruption in the state. Most of his people had migrated elsewhere. Nana managed to get some of his people back, but a sizeable proportion, chose to stay in the colony. Hence, the political division of Juabenman into two. I.e Old Juaben and New Juaben in the Eastern region. Nana passed away at a relatively tender age, in 1906. ( Refers to 1st picture, i.e the one with him under the umbrella ).
Credit: Bmpix

*) Nana Dwaben Serwaa II. Nana was enstooled as Queen of Dwaben in the 1940s. From the late 195o's to 1964 or so, Nana took over the male stool of Dwaben and subsequently became Juabenhene. Following the political disturbances in the 60s, Nana abdicated. Fortunately, this pillar of traditional lore and wisdom is still alive and kicking, being now in her very late 9os. ( 2nd picture on page )....Credit: Panoply of Ghana

*) Osekyerehene Yaw Sarpong II, Juabenhene. Immediate predeccessor of the present Juabenhene. Nana crossed in the Great River in 1971, to rest forever with Nananom Adikanfoo'.( 3rd picture ).

Credit to the photographer. ( Meyerowitz )

Juaben man at present, owing to historical factors, manifests itself in two prinicpal states. I.e Original Juaben in Ashanti and New Juaben in the present day Eastern region. To a lesser but not insignificant extent, Juabens can also be found in great nos. in numerous towns in Akyem Abuakwa, Akyem Kotoku and Kwahu. In some cases, they found their own settlements in the heartland of Akyem Abuakwa, and standing out amongst these, are Abekwoase, Enyiresi, Kankang, Asamang Tamfoe ( allied with Juaben ), Moseaso, Mamanso ( in Kotoku, I believe ) and other towns and villages in Akyem Sekyere ( the name being given to this area by the Juabens, in reminiscence of their area in Asante, which was called Sekyere ).

Some Juabens also settled in Akyem Abuakwa and Kotoku towns, like Begoro, Asamankese, Tafo, Kade, Osiem, Kyebi, Wankyi, Wirenkyiren Amanfrom, Asiakwa etc. Infact, most to this day, being ignorant of their history may regard themselves as Akyem( No disrespect intended, its a natural consequence of living away from home for a considerable period) rather erroneously. I entreat readers, to endeavour to delve into their family histories sometimes, one will be surprised what will come up. Those with names such as Boateng, Serwaa, Akrase, Sarpong, Boakye, Afrakomaa, Pankyie, Afra etc, should take a special note of this.

Specifically, in the Kotoku State, there is a large body of Juabens settled therein. " There is a large colony of Juaben ( strangers ) settled on land owned by Akim-Kotoku towns. They have several considerable towns there, but they came only because of shortage of land around Koforidua, where their brethen live, and they maintain close links with their Juaben brethen in Koforidua. The chief of Praso-Amuena, one of their towns, is ' big man' in the Koforidua fraternity, an integral part of that oman, and has to present at all important cases and ceremonies. Yet he must refer his own cases to Akim-Kotoku. Aboase, a town of some 1300 people, is another of this Juaben group."......Akim Kotoku, An Oman in the Gold Coast, 1948.

In the Kwahu area, the people of Akwasiho, near Nkawkaw are Juabens, or of Juaben descent. Other Juabens, especially some of royal descent can be found in Obo, and other Kwahu towns. I do recall here, a one time popular musician by name Nana Aaron, hailing from Obo, Kwahu, intimating in an interview once, that they actually hailed from Mpampama ( One of the royal houses, I'm told, in Juaben ).

Elsewhere, in Ghana, Juabens can also be found in Central Region, where I'm informed there's a town called Mfante Juaben. In the Western Region, Juabens can be found in Enchi in Aowin ( Infact, there are some Juaben royals there ), and some other towns in Sehwi. Personally, I've come across a Sehwi man, bearing the name Adaakwa, who upon further enquiry, disclosed, that his family actually hailed from Juaben.

In present day Krakye area, are also to found Dadease and another settlement ( have escaped my memory, will refer ) . These are towns of a section of the population of Juaben, who resettled there following the disturbances in the 1870's.

Infact, Juabens aren't situate in Ghana only. In La Cote d'Ivoire, they can be found in huge nos., in Assikasou.

With reference to the Ashanti region in Ghana, they aren't only situate in Juaben area alone. Infact, most towns in Ashanti, owing to historical factors once more, will have many of the said descent situate there. This is true of most towns in Asante Akyem and other areas in Sekyere, such as Kwamang ( where Oyoko royals of Juaben Stool can be found, I'm informed ), Kumawu, Dadease in Sekyere, Mampong, Nsuta and other minor towns in the said area.

In Kwabre area, Juaben royals can also be found in Wawase and Antoa. The Oyoko ruling family of Sekyedumase, are Juaben royals. Likewise, Dadease in Amansie area, now subsumed under Kokofu ( rather reluctantly ), are true royals of Juaben.

Infact, before the days of the Asante Union, Juaben was a fully fledged state , with one of biggest populations of that era. After the formation of the union, and by dint of indigenious hardwork, enterprise, and dare, all of their own initiative and none else, Juaben ranked second only to Kumasi, in terms of land area under control, population, wealth, military might and the status of its monarch or stool. The population of Juaben town alone, in about 1832 or so, was said to be approaching 70, 000, discounting the rest of Juabenman. Juaben lands extended over most of present day Asante Akyem, Basa, Krakye, Nanumba and Nchummuru.

Infact, the Europeans esp. the British, testified that of all the states of Asante, the Juabens, were the most given to trade and enterprise. By dint of hardwork, the establishment of Kola plantations etc, and the cunning and enterprise of its King, Osekyerehene Akwasi Boateng, Juaben soon came to dominate the vital Asante northern trade to Salaga. The state, as a subsequence grew very rich from this trade, and as Ramseyer testified, in the 1870s, Juaben was the most well built, well planned and laid out town in the whole of Ashanti. It's Abrempon and asikafoo, did possess ornately decorated 2-storied houses etc. Infact, the entrance to the stone palace of the Juabenhene were lined with gold-plated sandals.

Militarily, with the exception Kumasi, Juaben it was, which had the next highest quota. It alone could put into the field, about 35, 000 men at arms, more than twice that of other component Asante states such as Mampong, Kokofu, Nsuta, Bekwai, Kumawu etc. ( Bowdich in 1817 or so ).

In that time, it was the Juabenhene alone, who could rival the retinue of Otumfuo the Asantehene, in size, regalia etc.( Bowdich, in 1817, counted as much as 40 drums in the retinue of the Juabenhene, Akwasi Boateng alone, at an Odwira festival in Kumasi ). Infact, at that time, i.e during the period of Asante Osei Assibey Bonsu, Juaben ranked as a co-equal monarchy vis-a-vis Kumasi in Ashanti. " The Juaben monarch, Akwasi Akuamoa Boateng, Okyerefoo' was said to have been so rich in his time, that he vied with Osei Yaw Akoto, the then Asantehene, in the display of gold on every public occasion". Juaben again, in 1800, i.e during the reign of its King, Akuamoa Panin Boateng, had become the most powerful, rich and autonomous state in the Asante union.....( Political Crisis in Ashanti, by Dr Akosua Aidoo.) A testament to the sense of industry, hardwork and perseverance of our forebears. This ought, to inspire us.

Their Bravery...to be contd

More On Kumawu, pictorially.

*) Barima Asumadu Sakyi II, at a celebration in Kumasi.

*) Nana Serwaa Amponsah, Kumawuhemaa, sitting alongside her brother at the same event. Ohemaa, yaako.
*) Fontomfrom ( fentemfrem ) drums of Kumawu. Apparently, Kumawu as a state, refused to take off the human crania ( of defeated chiefs ), off their drums, as became the order in Asante, during the tenure of Nana Opoku Ware II. In Asante, the states, especially the amantuo num or nwotwe, are superior in certain spheres.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Power, Pomp and Pageantry.

2) King of New Juaben, Okyerefoo' Oti Boateng I, Osekyerehene proceeding to the durbar grounds and dancing to the majestic tunes of the Juaben Kete. This was in 1995, at Kumasi.. All due credit to the photographer.

1) The late Kokofuhemaa ( Paramount Queen of Kokofu State ) Osagyefo) Ataa Birago II proceeding to the durbar grounds in 1995. At Kumasi.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Juaben Kings.

Pomp and Pageantry. This picture of King Oti Boateng I, is reminiscent of the hey days of the Juaben monarchy. Behind Nana, are his treasure boxes, ( Apem Adaka ), said to contain gold dust, of an appreciable measure.

All due credit to the photographer.

Nana Oti Boateng I, sitting in state at a durbar in Koforidua.

Ntahera horns of Juaben. These now, domiciled at Koforidua, are the original Juaben Ntahera. In addition to Ntahera, the King of Juaben possesses other horn sets or ensembles such as Amoakwa ( don't see much of them these days ), Nkontwema and others.


Tweneboa Kodua Bremponkese, Aduana Aberade Dehye3, Damirifa, Damirifa, Damirifa.