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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Connecting with the Past, Building the Future: African Americans and Chieftaincy in Southern Ghana
Author:Benson, Susan
Periodical:Ghana Studies
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:African Americans
culture contact
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:This paper examines the effects of a deliberate and explicit innovation in Ghanaian traditions of chieftaincy: the incorporation of non-Ghanaians, especially African Americans, into the chiefship institutions of the Akan areas of southern Ghana. Many such individuals have been enstooled as 'nkosuohene', 'progress' or 'development' chiefs, a title initiated in 1985 by Asantehene Opoku Ware II. Some hold other titles. Public opinion in Ghana is divided on the usefulness and appropriateness of this involvement and this is one of the themes of the present paper. But it also addresses the question of what such chiefs, few of whom are resident in Ghana, intend when they enter into such binding commitments. It argues that, what is at stake here, is not only the question of how best to mobilize resources for local community development, nor even the broader question of building effective collaborative relationships between Africans of the diaspora and those in the continent. What such innovations and the debates occasioned by them also reveal is the interplay between the creative possibilities of contemporary transnational connections and the ongoing importance of particular and quite distinct historical understandings and political interests. The paper is based on research conducted in Ghana's Central and Ashanti regions from December 2000 onward. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]