Translated by Sara Estima from the spanish original. Thank you Sara!!!
“It was a Friday morning and all the brave captains of the Asante territories had met in Dwabrem at the request of Okomfo Anokye – the high priest of the first King, Osei Tutu. As the sound of drums and castanets increased, he felt possessed, pointed out to the sky with his mace and, suddenly, an awesome lightning fell. The wind and the dark clouds of dust made the captains tremble. Then, a throne that they had never seen before moved towards them: the throne of Gold.”
This is the mythological origin of the Asante’s soul. In many African cultures the throne or stool somehow contains the soul of the person who sits on it, in this case the entire Asante people. Those who were, those who are and those who will be. So when the British turned arrogant and said “why aren’t I sat on the Throne of Gold?”, even after four wars and with the king being exiled, the Queen mother declared a fierce war that ended only when the British accepted a copy of the throne as if it was true. One does not play with the soul of a people...
But we must recognize that the power of the Asante began after the arrival of the Portuguese, to whom they sold their gold. So much gold that in their first settlement the Portuguese called it “the mine” or Elmina, which has the doubtful honour of being the oldest slavery-related castle in Africa. Do you want to know what it feels like to be the Governor of this huge castle for a day? Then just click!
As I was saying, the Portuguese gave way to the Dutch who paid tribute to the Asante and sold them the weapons with which they unified their empire. But the English were missing and they came stomping, occupying the Portuguese Cape Cost (deformation of Cabo Corso) Castle. And the story does not end with the settlers. Do you dare to see what is now on the other side of the door of no return???
Since you are already historically focused, the time has come for you to live the climax of all worthy documentaries on the African kingdoms. Attention: the King heir to the throne of gold, he who cannot touch the ground with bare feet, enters the palace - the King of the Asante’s gold Empire!!!
Ghana has the honour of being one of the few ancient empires that has maintained its traditions well alive. And not only the real ones. One of these days I was telling that to my friend Jon Silleras – whose warm heart ensures that Burgos defrosts even after its harshest winters;-).
I was walking between the two castles when I heard some music. I approached and found three men, elegant as Roman senators, looking to the sea... They received me with joy and we had a lively chat; I just found out that they were at the funeral of their sister when I was leaving. And when I said “I am sorry”, two of them answered at the same time and with an infinite serenity:
“Why? That's life...”
In relation to this, there is still a magical place to be found. The Bosumtwe sacred lake, where we will offer a sacrifice to the very same rock to which the King heads in cases of need. Shoes off as you enter the sanctuary.
With this serenity and beauty, it is not surprising that life goes on in the lake, guarded by its humble guardians.
And why is it the origin of all stories? Maybe because the greater character of the Asante mythology and one of the most famous of West Africa is the Ananse spider, which actually helps us to introduce one of the most recurrent themes of African oral literature: the cheater or the rogue. He who brings bad luck or chaos to stories. An ambiguous being with an important role in creation, although not always a positive one...
Well, this spider asked God to be granted all fables and promised to pay whatever price and, moreover, as a gift, to give away her own mother ;-)
With its tricks - that I will not unveil – she managed to capture the angry bumblebees, the powerful sneak and even the ethereal fairy. So, the King, using an enigmatic sentence and gathering all the elders, gives her all the stories because “he was the first one to be willing to pay their price.”
Was God trying to say that the greater talent of Ananse was to know the true value of imagination and stories?
I leave you there.
But I cannot say goodbye without leaving you this picture, hehe. Can you believe that no one knows for sure the reason for the generous breasts of these drums?
I'll stick to Malinowsky:
“Anthropology is the study of the man embraced to the woman” ;-)