||African Political Culture II
Royal paraphernalia - drums, swords, guns, horns - and courtiers were always in evidence when West African chiefs received important visiting dignitaries, including missionaries. European influences crept in royal paraphernalia, and the presence of hats and walking sticks among the coastal Ewe of southeastern Ghana is an intriguing example. But in inland Kwahu (Ghana), Chief of Abankwa of Obomeng, often wore a top hat as a sign of distinction, as seen in his reception of Basel missionaries around 1890. Missionary presence also transformed chieftaincy in some areas and missionary influence in Akuapem in Ghana was particularly strong. This was where the Basel missionaries retreated in the 1830s in search of a more health environment to establish their ministry. Akuapem men were prominent among the early Basel mission catechists. These included notable evangelists such as David Asante and Theophilus Opoku. Christian communities such as Abokobi in Akuapem were founded on land acquired by the Basel missionaries. Here, Christianity influenced chieftaincy from the onset and blackened ancestral stools were not the repositories of chiefly power. Christianity came to influence kingship in Akropong, especially when F. W. K. Akuffo, a product of the Basel seminary in Akropong, ascended to the kingship as the first educated, Christian king of Akropong (D-30.11.041). Indeed, he sought to have his installation conducted in the Basel Church, a choice resisted by his councilors. He is credited for the making of the crown in D-30.11.044. He ended up a polygamous king with several wives. The fusion of kingship and Christianity remains a dynamic sphere in southern Ghana, as the numerous sophisticated studies of Michelle Gilbert have documented.
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