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Ejisu Municipal

The Ejisu Municipal is one of the 260 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Ghana, and forms part of the 43 of MMDAs in the Ashanti Region with Ejisu as its administrative capital.

The Municipal is known globally for its rich cultural heritage and tourists attractions notably the booming kente weaving industry. The Municipal stretches over an area of 637.2 km2 constituting about 10% of the entire Ashanti Region.

The Municipality is located in the central part of the Ashanti Region and provides enormous opportunity for creating an inland port for Ghana to serve northern section of the country. It is located within longitudes 1°5W and 1°39’ W and latitudes 7°9’ N and 7°36’N. It has a large land size of about 1,782.2sq.km. (690.781sq. miles) and is the fifth largest district in Ashanti region’s 30 districts.

Ejisu Municipal shares boundaries with six (6) other Districts in the Region. To the north east and north west of the Municipal are Sekyere East District and Kwabre East Municipal respectively, to the south are Bosomtwe District and Asante Akim South Municipal, to the east is the Asante Akim North Municipal and to the west is the Kumasi Metropolitan.

The population of the Municipality according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census stands at 143,762 with 68,648 males 75,114 females.

ABOUT BESEASE

Besease whose name literally means ‘under (ase) the cola tree (bese) is situated on the outskirts of Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The village is just after the town of Ejisu, which is home to both the District Assembly and the paramount chief, the Ejisuhene.  Besease is famous as the home town of Yaa Asantewaa the queen mother of Ejisu who led the fight against the British in 1900, Nana Diko Pim I, Akwasi Afranie Brother of Yaa Asatewaah and Nana Kwasi Boadu who was “her main representative in the army is Kwasi Boadu, chief of Besease near Ejisu.” according to the Basel missionary letters.

The Ejisu Traditional Area consists of a number of towns and villages. These  towns and villages were all founded by the  branch of the Asona clan that founded Asotwe, Ejisu and Bonwire. Members of the Asona clan are said to have first settled at the present site of Besease, a town 13 miles south of Kumasi on the Kumasi-Accra road. .. A second source also claims the Asona migrated from Kyebi Ahwenease and later moved to settle at Besease. So no matter how you view it, each version of the story confirms Besease as the place where members of the Asona clan settled before spreading out to settle at different locations.

Aboagye Agyei, the founder of Ejisu with his people from Apenkra are said to have come to meet the Asona group who founded Asotwe at Besease. Upon their arrival, the leader of the Asona group of Asotwe by name Sarfo Kantanka told Aboagye Agyei, (the leader of the group that had just arrived) to go and establish their settlement at the place where ‘he breaks his palm nuts’ literally translated in twi as ‘ɔbɔ na adwe’. Their settlement near Besease became known as ‘Adwe- so’ because it was established in a place full of palm nuts. This was later corrupted to ‘Ejisu’ ..”

The royal family of Ejisu comes from Besease, which therefore is home not only to the Beseasehene (who serves the Ejisuhene as his Akwamuhene and Baamuhene sub-chief) and his Kontihene subchief but also to three other sub-chiefs of the Ejisuhene: Kontihene, Kyidomhene and Gyaasehene. The term ‘chief’ can be confusing as it is used to describe various levels of traditional leaders. The Ejisuhene, a paramount chief; the Beseasehene, a village chief; and a range of subchiefs of the paramount chief or the Beseasehene.

All are referred to by the term ‘chief’. The titles of sub-chiefs are not based on the names of their residence, as we saw for the Beseasehene and the Ejisuhene, but on their function. They either refer to the sub-chiefs’ original position in the chief’s army  for example, the Kyidomhene is the leader of the rear flank (akyi: back, behind)  or their administrative function in the locality: the Baamuhene, for instance, takes care of the royal cemetery (baamu: mausoleum). Sub-chiefs function as the chiefs’ councilors. The councilors of lower chiefs are called elders. Four of the five residing chiefs ‘own’ land in Besease, with the fifth owning’ land in Ejisu.

The Besease Shrine

Besease is a village near Ejisu (Edwesohene) on the Kumasi–Accra highway. The Besease shrine or the Yaw Tano Shrine was built by komfo Yaw Awua in the 19th century during the reign of Nana Kwaku Dɛɛkyi the Edwesohene. It houses the shrine of the Besease Tano deity known as Tano Yaw. According to Besease popular knowledge, Yaa Kyaa, an indigene of Besease and a relative of Yaa Asantewaa the Edwesohemaa, gave birth, surprisingly to a mysterious object instead of a human being It was revealed, upon consultations with mediums, that the object was the representation of a powerful deity called Tano . It was given the traditional day name on its birth as Tano Yaw or Taa Yaw, thus born on a Thursday. Yaa Kyaa then became the priestess of the deity. Tano Yaw is regarded as a protective deity, reputed to be a great protector of its people in times of war.

Both the GMMB and the French Embassy in Ghana carried out some restoration work on the Besease shrine in 1963 and 1998. It is also a relatively popular tourist attraction site. At the moment, no priest or priestess has replaced the late priest, who died about 6 years ago. However, the place is kept under the stewardship of Opanin Kofi Bonsu.

Symbolic significance of selected motifs on the Besease temple

The Besease shrine has several motifs which are similar to the motifs on the other temples. They consist of animal figures, plant forms, and abstract forms. These motifs carry symbolic ideas which are inherent in their meanings. One unique motif on the temple, however, is the nnomaa mmienu motif.

Nnomaa mmienu motif

Symbolism: Mutual understanding

This motif shows two birds (nnomaa mmienu) facing each other. They appear to be feeding from a single source. They are also linked by a series of circular lines. The motif is found at the top of the doorway of the shrine room.
This motif represents the idea of peaceful coexistence, and mutual understanding between such opposites (opposite forces) in society as day and night; male and female; life and death; young and old; and, by extension, the deity and the priest, as well as the deity and the community.
It is embedded in Asante culture and tradition that peace between opposing forces obviously brings unity, calmness, and progress in society, and avoidance of imbalance and calamities.

Nana Yaa Asantewaa
Nana Yaa Asantewaa

Born: October 17, 1840, Besease
Died: October 17, 1921, Seychelles
Battles and wars: War of the Golden Stool
Allegiance: Ashanti Empire
Parents:
Father: Opanin Kwaku Ampoma
Mother: Maame Ata Po

Yaa Asantewaa is said to have been born in 1840 and died in 1921. She was a successful farmer and mother. She was an intellectual, a politician, human right activist, Queen and a leader. Yaa Asantewaa became famous for leading the Ashanti rebellion against British colonialism to defend the Golden stool. She promoted women emancipation as well as gender equality. She was the sister of the Ruler of Ejisu (Ejisuhene) Nana Akwasi Afrane Okpase, an ethnic group in present day Ghana. As expected, to further entrench their authority, the British Governor-General of Ghana (then known as the Gold Coast) Frederick Hodgson, demanded the Golden Stool. The Golden stool was the symbol of the Asante kingdom. This prompted a conference of the elders. Yaa Asantewaa was highly disgusted at the behavior of her male counterparts and insisted that if the men would not fight, she would gather the women to fight for the land.

Yaa Asantewaa led the famous war known as the War of the Golden Stool in 1900 against the British. She was captured and sent on exile to the Seychelles. Yaa Asantewa died in exile on the 17th of October 1921. Yaa Asantewa’s War was the last major war led by an African woman. To date, she is honored in Africa as one of the greatest African women. Her body was later returned to Ghana were she was given a befitting burial. She is honored with a school named after her, ‘Yaa Asantewaa Girl’s Secondary School’. In a worldwide competition organized by the BBC Focus on Africa Program at the end of 1999 to select the African Personality of the Millennium, Yaa Asantewaa placed 20th out of one hundred nominees.

Statue of Nana Yaa Asantewaa
Statue of Nana Yaa Asantewaa

Wilhelmina J. Donkoh once wrote; “The world has been blessed with numerous women of great courage. These include Queen Idia of Benin, Queen Amina of Zaria, Queen Ndeta Yalla of Senegal, Nongqawuse of the Republic of South Africa, Queen of the Ndongo of Angola, Kimpa Vita of Kongo, Rosa Luxemburg of Polen, Martha Schad of Augsburg, Queen Elisabeth of Great Britain and a host of other brave women leaders. Nana Yaa Asantewaa was the most prominent of the lot, in the African context. Her accomplishments may not have been as great as Queen Amina of Zaria or Queen Elizabeth I in terms of span of leadership, but her courage to stand up to fight the British occupation in West Africa in spite of an initially unmotivated front put up by the Ghanaian men puts her at the top of Africa’s greatest female leaders.”

Many Africans often name their daughters after Nana Yaa Asantewaa. The former President of Ghana, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings for example named his second daughter after her. Also Anthony A. Williams, the previous Mayor of Washington D.C in the United States named his daughter in honor of Yaa Asantewaa.

#AsantemanKyidom Nea onnim no sua a, ohu!
Credit : Otumfuo Osei Tutu II Foundation.

Statue of Nana Yaa Asantewaa
Nana Yaa Asantewaa on a Twenty Cedis bill
The family house of Yaa Asantewaa at Besease

 

 

ASANTE ORAL HISTORY : SOME SELECTED FACTS

Anytime an Asantehene passes away it is the Mamponghene who acts as the Asantehene and he is then referred to as the Awisiahene?  The title Awisiahene came about when during an Asante and Akyem Kotoku War the Asantehene, Nana Osei Tutu I , who was the Army General died, it was Mamponghene Nana Akuamoa Panin who took over the command of the Army and at the same time took over the responsibility as the father of the Asantes whose founder and father had died.  Hence the word Awisiahene which means King of the Orphans.

The origin and meaning of Kotoko?  The Asante soldiers used an art of lying down on the ground to fight their enemies. This made it very tough for their enemies to get them on target. This gave Asantes the name Koto-ko meaning bend low and fight.

The Ankobea division, comprising of soldiers who always stayed at home during war times to guard the Kings treasury and take care of Kumase for that matter.  The word Ankobea means does not go anywhere (wonko bea).

The creation and subsequent consecration of the Golden Stool took place at Pimpimso at a spot within the premises of the present Uadarra Army Barracks at Bantama? And also that it was on that day that the name Bantama came to be? It happened that Akwasi Baa, son of Nana Adu Gyamfi of Wonoo, who belonged to the Twafoo group of the area was weeding the path that led to Pimpimso and in the process lost his cloth in a stream. After searching for it for a while he could not trace it and so people started calling Pimpimso and the surrounding area Baa-Ntoma and this later became Bantama.

The chief did that because he was PROTECTING the Golden Stool which belonged to his family?

That the Omanhene of Edweso is the only Chief in Asante who does not make an appointment with Asantehene through a linguist but rather through the Nsumakwaahene? It is part of the privileges Nana Diko Pim l was made to enjoy after his sacrifice during the Denkyira War.

That it was Nana Opoku WARE l who created the Ananta Stool as his personal battalion under his command to protect the Asantehenes against possible coup by the commander of the main Asante Army? Please note that the commander of the main army were Mamponhene/Bantamahene. Ananta was the name of a sophisticated weapon used by the soldiers of that battalion.

That when the Denkyiras were ruling over Kumase and its allies the King of Denkyira Nana Boa Amponsem requested a royal of Kumase to come and serve at his court, it was Nana Osei Tutu, then a young man, who was sent? According to oral tradition, Nana Osei Tutu impregnated Ako Abenaa Bansua, the sister of Nana Boa Amponsem. According to some historians, Ako Abenaa Bansuas son from Nana Osei Tutu was Ntim Gyakari who later became the king of Denkyira.

That when Nana Osei Tutu was returning from Akwamu to become the king of Kumase, Akwamuhene Nana Ansah Sasraku gave him 300 men of Akwamu to guard him and accompany him to Kumase. These men were all given to Asafohene and they became citizens of Asafo and subsequently the Asafohenes title became Akwamuhene?

That it was Dwabenhene Nana Akwasi Boateng and Kontanasehene Nana Antwi Panin who fought to recapture the Golden Stool when it was captured for the first time by the enemies at the battle of Akatamanso? In their effort to recapture the Golden Stool, Nana Antwi Panin, the Kontanasehene, received thirty nine bullet wounds but he survived the ordeal and so that EARNED him and his subsequent successors the title Ogyeaboo, ‘one who receives bullets’.

That Asante was not created as a matter of tribe but rather as a matter of necessity, to form a formidable force to fight Denkyira, hence Osa-nti meaning because of War. The original word was Osa-Nti-fo.

That Asantes bestowed one of the highest accolades on two tribes who in their various ways had assisted them during different wars? That is the reason why apart from Asante Kotoko, there is Anwaa Kotoko for the Dagombas and Nzema Kotoko for the people of Nzema. Since then there has always been a cordial relationship between the Asantes and those two tribes.

That Asumin a, citizen of the Juaben state, upon discovering that he was being wanted for having played the Peeping Tom on the wife of the chief of Juaben (and as a result seen her nakedness) fled to, and sought asylum in Kumasi? The then chief of Juaben, Nana Kwasi Boateng, promised the Asantehene that no harm would befall Asumin if the latter was handed over to Juaben. The Asantehene Nana Osei Yaw Akoto did as requsted and handed Asumin over to him. But Nana Kwasi Boateng did not keep his promise and so killed Asumin. The Asantehene was furious and saw the broken promise as an act of defiance against the authority of the Golden Stool. It led to the war against Dwaben. Dwaben lost the war. It led to the departure from Juaben of the entire population of the state, to Akyem Abuakwa. They bought a piece of land there from Okyehene Ofori Panin in the Akyem area and named it Koo Fori Dua or New Dwaben.

That the town of Nsuta was founded by the hunter Akwante Bofuo who originated from Aduman? He found a piece of land which belonged to Asonaba Bampa Adu of Beposo and negotiated on behalf of his master Tabri Heman for purchase. The land was between two rivers that looked like twins hence Nsuo Ntaa and that came to be Nsuta.

That the chief of Akyem Asiakwa is the ancestral brother of Asantehene? This explains why one Nana Tanno who was the Asiakwahene and Nifahene of Akyem Abuakwa refused to mount any force against an Asante force that was on the verge of attacking the Okyehene, Nana Atta Wusu Yiakosa.

That the real name of Anokye Komfoo was Kwame Agyei Frimpong?

How the lake Bosomtwe came by its name? A hunter called Bompe of Asaman shot an antelope which did not die but vanished into the small lake. The hunter thought the lake was a god and the antelope belongs to it, hence Obosom no Twe this later became Bosomtwe. The lake is owned by Kokofu-Asamanhene.

That before Nana Obiri Yeboa became the Kumasehene he was a successful TRADER, and was living at Damanten in Akyem Kotoku? He even got married to the sister of the Damantehene Nana Nkatia Brempong,called Nana Nyarko. Nana Nkatia Brempong joined Nana Obiri Yeboah and wife to live in Kumase and he helped his brother-in-Law to rule Kumase.

That during the era of Nana Osei Tutu l, a parade ground to train Asante soldiers was built at the present Practice Schools site, near Wesley College, in Kumasi?

That during the era of Nana Osei Tutu l, a parade ground to train Asante soldiers was built at the present Practice Schools site, near Wesley College, in Kumasi?

That Nana Yaa Asantewaa died at 3.30 pm on October 17, 1921 as a result of a chronic TOOTHACHE?

Source: Ashantibiz