The people of Boso

MY HISTORY, MY HERITAGE: KNOWING THE GUANS (The BOSO People Part 1)

Boso Gwa Traditional Area forms an integral part of the Asuogyaman District in the Eastern Region. Linguistically, the people of Boso belong to the Guan ethnic bloc and had lived in the Mid-Volta Basin long before the Akamu arrived from Nyanawase to establish a permanent home at Akwamufie, 1733.

In 1984, I accompanied the Paramount Chief of the Boso Gwa Stat ostensibly to tap the numerous myths, legends and traditions of Boso from the late Kwao Tawia, the 92 year old Abusuapanyin of the Paramount stool.

He was the real custodian of Boso tradition. I felt so privileged.

According to Kwao Tawia, the founding fathers of Boso originally lived at Dan near Atebubu in the Sene-Pru Basin.

They emigrated southwards towards the coast and settle at “Afutu near Simpa” where they acquired the name DANKE.

In support of this assertion, tradition relates that the ex-Queen mother of Kokofu, Amma Birago, who had beeeen destooled and deported together with her son, Kokofuhene Osei Yao; because they were overfond of disclosing the origins of some of their subjects (ie referring to their descent from slaves), escaped to Nyanewase to seek political asylum.

The story adds that the Akwamuhene, in consultation with Osei Tutu then residing at Nyanawase, requested the Danke people to host them on the account of their proverbial hospitality.

The Twi expression “wodan won a, woaka” (lit. If you stay as a lodger, you become permanent) became corrupted into DANKE.

Due to constant tribal wars on the coast, the Danke migrated. They were led by Obeng Kwatia whose nephews were Brakatu and Mfodwo.

Other members of the group included the Oyoko royals from Asante Kokofu.

After several rest-stops, they reached the Kamana town of Pese on the west bank of the Bolta River where some unforeseen circumstances forced them to delay.

It is alleged that Obeng Kwatia’s sister (unnamed) as barren so was taken to Kamana fetish called NYAKO where she gave birth to twins, Nyarko Num and Nyarko Lebi in memory of whom the Nyarko stool (and still the reigning stool of Boso) was consecrated.

Because the Kamana at Pese were dominated by the Oyoko clan, the Kokofu royal showed great resentment against her ancestral Oyoko Stool being placed in a subordinate position, so she advised the migrant-leader to search for a new site; they settled at a place called OSASE (OKYEASE) where modern Anum is located.

At Osase, they were joined by a group of about sixty people from Basa believed to be Gonja origin.

Their leader was Otu Atram and his two brothers – Akofi and Obanyin-yena. The fetish they carried was kept in the house of one Opare, a cousin of the Kokofu royal.

And because Opare refused to disclose the origin of the deity, he was nicknamed Opare-anka.

The name Akomfi also originated from the word Akomfie (Fetish shrine)

Later two groups of immigrants namely Asiedu Pone and Amoakade clan families from Bono Takyiman came to augment the population at Osase.

The first Anum to arrive in 1724 was Kwasi Anyane who had been sent by his Elder, Kolihue, the occupant of the then Anum stool at Nyanawase- it was the object of Kwase Anyane to seek their old Guan friends with the object of severing their connections with Akwamu and establishing together and independent Guan settlement on new lands.

Four years later, the rest of the Anum arrived in 1728.

Due to frequent shortage of water, the Danke settled permanently near the Chachi stream.

It is a common misconception that their move was promted by a deliberate act on the part of the Anum by spreading the tabooed mushroom (Eble Kpomo) at the Letsu shrine to sabotage the effort of the deity.

However, Abusua pinyin Kwao Tawia debunked the suggestion because the deity had been purified when the Anum were living at Nkwanta-Kpomo on the Anum-Labolabo bush path.

The new settlement was named BOSO. The etymology of the name is hazy. Legend has it that the town was built on rocks (Twi “abo so”), but this may be a degraded legend, because there is one passer-by inquired from them about progress so far, the evasive answer was “Ene bo so(ie we are progressing) the expression ‘bo so’ therefore became BOSO.

Soon there was unprecedented influx of Akan immigrants who came to seek political asylum because they deity Letsu abhorred the shedding of blood. Most of them arrived with their ancestral Stools-Asafo Agyei Stool from Asante Ejisu, Agyeman Koboa Stool from Akyem Begoro, Osafo Afari Stool from Asante Mampon, etc.

Source: The Spectator/Ghana, Saturday, July 23

Sokynewsgh.com / SOKY TV / Ghana

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