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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Cimmerian Darkness of Intrigue: Queen Mothers, Christianity and Truth in Akuapem History
Author:Gilbert, Michelle V.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Ghana
traditional rulers
women rulers
Akwapim polity
traditional polities
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Cultural Roles
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1581154.pdf
Abstract:In the early 20th century, in the small kingdom of Akuapem, in the hills of what is now southeastern Ghana, the identity of two kings was determined by a judicial procedure that lasted many years. The case concerned the two greatest and most controversial Akuapem kings: Nana Kwasi Akuffo and Nana Ofori Kuma, and their two Queen Mothers: Nana Akua Oye (a Christian) and her non-Christian niece, Akua Asor. At issue was the question which of the two women was the legitimate Queen Mother. On the surface, the confusion was religious: the Queen Mother-elect, the senior woman of the royal family, being Christian, did not want to perform the traditional 'customs' for the ancestors, and therefore allegedly relinquished or delegated her power to her niece. The crucial question was, in fact, the identity and validation of the king; the two Queen Mothers were manipulated by two rival kings each of whom needed their support to legitimize his own position. The author shows both why it was a woman who was at the centre of the dispute and thereby explains the symbolic and political role of the Queen Mother and also how political struggle in a time of radical economic and social change was expressed largely through an idiom (still preferred today) of conflict between old and new religions. The case material comes from government inquiries in 1907, 1920 and 1922. The contradictory testimony in these inquiries is mirrored in the opinions of the differing factions today. Bibliogr., notes, ref.