On Saturday 18th June, 2022, H.E Mrs. Ann Marie Davis, the first lady of Bahamas led a high powered government delegation from the Bahamas to Ahanta to witness the coronation of Christopher Davies as Gyan Kwaw II.
This was occasioned after Christopher Davis, a young historian and a researcher from the Bahamas traced the origins of the popular Junkanoo festival in the Bahamas and Caribbean to Princes Town, a town in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region of Ghana.
Since 2019, Christopher Davis and his wife Tamara Davis have made several trips to Princess Town to connect the missing links of Junkanoo in the Caribbean. Christopher Davis and his wife Tamara Davis have led several Bahamians to Princess Town, where the whole Junkanoo festival originated from as a result of heroic exploits of Gyan Kwaw, an Ahanta chieftain who seized Fort Fredericksburg in Princess Town in 1720s in his bid to stop slave trade in the then Gold Coast, now Ghana.
The delegation included Mr. Andrew Wilson, Bahamas ambassador designate to Ghana, Mr. Jamal Rolle, Culture Affairs Ambassador in the Bahamas and Mr. Kenneth Wallace, a senior Foreign Affairs officer in the Bahamas. Also in the delegation were Dr. Michael Peter Pateman, an archeologist, Angelique McKay, leader of Junkanoo Commandos in the Bahamas and Tamara Davis, wife of Christopher Davis.
ARRIVAL AT KOTOKA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ACCRA
Setting off with JetBlue Airways at Nassau on Wednesday 15th June 2022 at 4.30pm, the first lady and her entourage made a transit at JFK Airport in Washington, USA and arrived at Kotoka International Airport in Accra on board Delta Airline BOEING No. 767-300 on 16th June 2022 at 2.30pm.
Upon arrival, the first lady and her entourage were ushered to the VIP Section under the arrangements of the ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Security where she and her entourage were met by the Western Regional Minister Hon. Kobby Okyere Darko, some government officials, chiefs and queen mothers from Ahanta Traditional Area led by Nana Eziaku IV, Tufohene to Badu Bonso XV
After brief interactions with the Western Regional Minister and Ahanta chiefs and queen mothers, she was escorted to Kempiski Hotel under tight security arrangements by the national security and State Protocol Department where she passed the night.
A TOUR OF ACCRA CITY
After a night at Kempiski Hotel, the first lady and her entourage led by the Western Regional Minister, chiefs and queen mothers from Ahanta toured some historical places in Accra in Accra on 17th June, 2022. This is to make the first lady and her entourage to familiarize themselves with the capital city of Ghana and also to have a good historical impression about it.
The first lady and her entourage first visited the Independence Square at Osu where they were told by your guides about the importance of Independence Square to national life of Ghanaians. From the Independence Square, together with the Western Regional Minister and Ahanta chiefs and queen mothers of Ahanta, they visited the newly refurbished National Museum where tour guides took her and her entourage through historical antecedents of precolonial Gold Coast, colonial Gold Coast and Ghana after independence.
After a brief interaction with the director of the National Museum and the staffs, she and her entourage proceeded to Artistic Center at Osu where she was shown various art works by prominent Ghanaian artists and other artists from Africa. She and her entourage then proceeded to the Precious Mineral Marketing Company where she met with the management of the company and also interacted with the staffs. She and her entourage were taken to the showroom where various gold and diamond jewelries were at display to their admiration.
She ended her Accra tour at Kotoka International Airport where she boarded African World Airline to Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana.
ARRIVAL AT TAKORADI AIRPORT
The first lady and her entourage arrived at Takoradi Airport at exactly 5.00pm. At Takoradi Airport, they were given a rousing welcome amidst singing, drumming, dancing and rich cultural display by the chiefs and people of Ahanta.
The first lady and her entourage were welcomed to Ahanta by Egya Kwamina XI, the chief Apremdo and Sanaahene to Badu Bonso XV. He expressed his happiness for the safe arrival of the first lady and her entourage all the way from the Bahamas to Ahanta. He wished the first lady and her entourage a pleasant stay in Ahanta and also expressed hopes that the visit of the first lady will inspire others to also come to Ahanta in search of their roots.”Your Excellency, we are glad to have you in Ahanta and I am very confident that your coming will inspire others to come”, said by Egya Kwamina XI while exchanging pleasantries with the first lady.
Nana Kojo Adansi II poured libation and thanked the gods of Ahanta for the safe arrival of the first lady and her entourage to Ahanta. “Oh gods of our land, we thank you for bringing the first lady of Bahamas to us to without any hitch”, he said it in a local Nzema language while pouring gin on the ground per the custom of Ahanta people.
Nana Kojo Adansi II further prayed that the gods guide the descendants of all those who were forcefully taken into slavery to find their way home just as the first lady and others have done. “As the first lady of Bahamas and others have come, we know that you the gods of Ahanta will lead the descendants of all who were taken away through slavery to safely return home, he said while still pouring the gin on the ground at Takoradi Airport.
Also at the at the Takoradi Airport to welcome the first lady and her entourage were DCOP/Mr. Adusa, the Western Regional Police Commander, ACP/Mr. Yao Tettegah, the Takoradi Divisional Police Commander and Supt/Mr. Ayepah, the Staff Officer to the Western Regional Police Commander.
From Takoradi Airport, the first lady and her entourage were escorted to Busua Beach Hotel at Busua under a very tight security arrangements headed by ACP/Mr. Yao Tettegah. The convoy of the first lady to Busua had a lot police and military detachment in combat positions guarding her all the way to Busua Beach Hotel in Busua the capital of Ahanta Kingdom.
At Busua Beach Hotel, a bouquet of flowers was presented to the first lady by the management of Busua Beach Hotel as a symbol of hospitality. The management of Busua Beach Hotel pledged to give the first lady and her entourage best of their hospitality services for the period of her stay at the hotel. “Your Excellency, welcome to Busua Beach Hotel here on the Atlantic coast and one of the best hospitality centers in Ghana. We are glad to have you and we will everything to make your stay enjoyable and memorable, said by the manager of Busua Beach Hotel
For starting, the first lady and her entourage were served with coconut juice mixed with ginger and then given a fresh coconut to their thirst after long hours of traveling all the way from Bahamas to Busua in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region of Ghana. The first lady and her entourage then had dinner and passed the night at Busua Beach Hotel.
CORONATION OF CHRISTOPHER DAVIS AS GYAN KWAW II.
On Saturday 18th June 2022, Christopher Davis was coronated as Gyan Kwaw II at the palace of Badu Bonso in the presence of cheering crowd amidst singing drumming and dancing. The ceremony attracted dignitaries and people from all walks of life amidst rich display of Ahanta culture and traditions at the forecourt of Badu Bonso’s palace.
The ceremony which started at exactly 1.00pm, saw Ahanta chiefs and queen mothers adorned in their colourful Kente cloths and golden jewelries processed to the forecourt of Badu Bonso’s palace after the arrival of the first lady and her entourage and other dignitaries.
Nana Kojo Adansi II led the prayer by thanking the gods of Ahanta for another while he pours the libation. ” Gods of our ancestors and forefathers, it is your wish that we come here today for this beautiful occasion. As we before you, we pray that you guide that in everything that we are doing”, he said it while pouring gin on the ground at the forecourt of Badu Bonso’s.
In his welcome address as read by Nana Etsin Kofi II of Aboadi, HRM Badu Bonso XV, the overlord of Ahanta expressed his happiness to have H.E Ann Marie Davis, leaving all her busy schedules and responsibilities as the first lady of Bahamas to have travelled all the to Ahanta. ” On my own behalf and on behalf of the good people of Ahanta, I welcome you Mrs. Ann Marie Davis and your entourage to Ahanta” said by HRM Badu Bonso XV.
He also called on Christopher Davis who has been coronated as Gyan Kwaw to serve selflessly. ” This is not a funfare but rather we bestowing on you responsibility of serving and protecting not only Ahanta people but descendants of all others who were taken away as a result of the slave trade just as Gyan Kwaw himself”, he said. HRM Badu Bonso XV was optimistic that the visit of the first lady visit and coronation of Christopher Davis as Gyan Kwaw II will strengthen the diplomatic relations between Ghana and the Bahamas.
In his Speech, the Western Regional Minister Hon. Kobby Okyere Darko once again welcomed the first lady and her entourage to the Western Region of Ghana. According to the Western Regional Minister, the diplomatic relations between Ghana and Bahamas dates back to 1957 when Ghana attained its independence and since then Ghana and Bahamas have had a very smooth diplomatic relations. ” Your Excellency, the diplomatic relations between Ghana and Bahamas have always been that of mutual respect” said by Hon. Kobby Okyere Darko.
The Western Regional Minister further noted that the visit of the first lady and coronation of Christopher Davies as Gyan Kwaw II will open more doors to tourism and cultural exchange in Ghana in general and Ahanta in particular. ” I am very confident that the visit of the first lady of the Bahamas and the Coronation of Mr. Christopher Davis will open more opportunities in area of cultural exchange and tourism” he said.
In her speech, the first lady of Bahamas, Mrs. Ann Marie Davis expressed her gratitude to the government of Ghana and the people of Ahanta for giving her a rousing welcome. ” I must say that this is beyond my expectation and I thank you all this beautiful ceremony, she said. ” You have a beautiful country and beautiful people with very rich culture. I must say that I felt the spirit of Junkanoo more than ever here and here the drumming is very pulsating” she said. The first lady also expressed hopes that her coming to Ghana to Ghana will boost tourism between the two countries and deepen diplomatic ties as well.
After all the speeches, Christopher Davis, adorned in traditional war regalia with a sword in his right hand, ushered him and his wife Tamara Davis to the forecourt of Badu Bonso palace where a large crowd has gathered. Nana Etsin Kofi II led him to take his oath of office where he pledge his loyalty to Badu Bonso XV. After taking the oath of office, he was placed on traditional stool three times signifying that he is new commander of Badu Bonso’s army just as Gyan Kwaw did.
In his acceptance speech, the newly coronated Gyan Kwaw II thanked the chiefs and people of Ahanta for honour done to him and for also trusting him with the position of such high office. ” I appreciate the chiefs and people of Ahanta for this honour done to me and I pledge to live by the oath of my office as Gyan Kwaw II, he said while holding the traditional sword in his right hand upright.
The chiefs and queen mothers of Ahanta also took the opportunity to initiate the first lady and her entourage into Ahanta. The first lady was adorned in traditional kente cloth and then the “Nyanya” herb, the number one Ahanta healing herb was placed around the neck of the first lady and her entourage signifying that they have been initiated into Ahanta and do not need permission of anyone to come Ahanta henceforth.
CROWNING THE CORONATION WITH A TRIP TO PRINCESS TOWN
After the coronation of Christopher Davis as Gyan Kwaw II, custom demands that he is taken to Princes Town and shown to the people of Princes Town.
The chiefs of Ahanta per customs and traditions escorted Christopher Davis together with the first lady and her entourage to Princess Town At Princess Town, the town folks came out in their numbers to wave at the newly coronated Christopher Davis as Gyan Kwaw II, the first lady and her entourage.
The families of Gyan Kwaw welcomed Christopher Davis as newly coronated Gyan Kwaw II, the first lady and her entourage as part of the family and opened their doors to them.
To crown the whole ceremony, the first lady and her entourage together with Christopher Davis now coronated as Gyan Kwaw II made a memorial walk to Fort Fredericksburg where Gyan Kwaw lived after seizing it from the Europeans and used it as his military base to launch several attacks on the European slave traders.
After a long day full of activities, the first lady and her entourage returned to Busua Beach Hotel, where had dinner with Ahanta chiefs, queen mothers and other dignitaries.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THE CORONATION.
Princess Town formerly known as Pokesu was one important town during the years of the slave trade in the Gold Coast, now Ghana.
It all started when the Brandenburg – Prussian government built Fort Fredericksburg at Princess Town in 1683 and in the ensuing years, they trained one Ahanta chieftain called Gyan Kwaw as a middle man to facilitate the trade between them and the natives. He was variedly referred to as John Canoe, John Conny and other similar pronunciations depending on how the Europeans found it suitable to pronounce his name based on their ascent.
Initially everything was alright between him and the Germans untill he was made a chief of Princess Town and then he realized the woes and atrocities of the slave trade and then he made every effort to stop it by wagging constant wars with Europeans who were involved in slave trade.
Gyan Kwaw seized Fort Fredericksburg and started to raise army from raiding various slave camps and Forts along the coast. Soon his army grew to 20,000 and more and in 1720, he went to war against the combined forces of the Dutch and English at Princess Town where he was last seen in Ahanta. Most of his soldiers were captured and sent to the Caribbean as prisoners of war.
In memory of Gyan Kwaw, his soldiers who were taken to the Caribbean refused to celebrate Christmas and instead instituted the Junkanoo festival to remember his heroic exploits and the efforts he made to end the slave trade in Gold Coast. They considered him as a saviour who sacrificed everything to save them from the atrocities of the slave trade and as such could not allow his memory to fade away.
As years passed by, the story of Junkanoo became distorted and its origins heavily disputed until recent times when Christopher Davis through his research works traced its origins to Princess Town in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region of Ghana. To crown his efforts, the overlord of Ahanta HRM Badu Bonso XV installed him as Gyan Kwaw II and charged him to continue with his good works to bring Ahanta to the limelight.
DEPARTURE OF THE FIRST LADY
On Sunday 19th June 2022, at exactly 8.00am, the first lady and her entourage set off from Busua Beach Hotel at Busua under a very tight security arrangements to Takoradi Airport. At 10.00am, the first lady and her entourage departed from Takoradi on board Passion Air en route to Kotoka International Airport to Rwanda for another government assignment.
Ahanta Apemenyimheneba Kwofie III