The Story of Kwame Danso
KNOW THE ORIGIN OF TOWNS
Story: Kwame Ampene (founder of the Guan Historical Society)
Kwame Danso is the administrative capital of Dwan State situated on the major Atebubu-Kete Krachi road in the Sene-Pru Basin, east of the Brong Ahafo Region.
The royal lineage and some sub-chiefs trace their ancestral background to Larteh-Akuapem from where they emigrated north-eastward across the Afram Plain till they reached the Sene-Pru basin and settled at Wurukpon located four kilometers from modern Kwame Danso. They were led by Nana Dwan Atakora after whom the town Dwankrom was named.
Legend has it that in one particular year, scarcity of water hit the settlement. Therefore, a hunter called Djatcho Mele set out to reconnoiter the vast area, and spotted a huge animal whose feet were mud-stained till he discovered pool of clear water.
The news of the discovery spread throughout the neigbourhood. Soon they evacuated Wurukpon to settle beside the pool in this awe-inspiring forest. They erected the Penkyire shrine at the site and worshipped it. The new settlement was named Dwankrom and from there the inhabitants spread across the river basin to establish new homes. They speak the Kenyen language which is closely related to Nchumuru and Larteh.
The present writer, on three occasions, visited Dwan and some towns occupied by the Nchumuru-Guan at Bassa and Nkomi in his capacity as the Organising Secretary of the Guan congress, 1981 – 1995.
Earlier in 1951, he met Pnying Kwame Danso at Atebubu (the home town of his wife, Alice Darkwaah Ampene). Panyin Kwame Danso was the eponymous founder of Kwame Danso, the administrative capital of Dwan State. He disclosed that he hailed from Kwawu in the Eastern Region and that he accompanied his father to Atebubu in 1919.
He further disclosed that trading activities were very brisk at Atebubu, Prang, Yeji and Salaga which commanded the ancient trade-route known as Amaniampon-tempon, i.e. “Amaniampon Highway” but there were no traders in the Dwan District, so, in 1927, at the time the lorry road from Atebubu to Kete-krachi had been constructed. Panyin Kwame Danso established another petty-store on this road at a place called Donkore which was well-placed to receive travelers. He traded in assorted goods on demand by the local farmers.
For a time, people went to Donkore to buy provisions and likewise sold their farm produce to travelers, but they didn’t settle there until one Mossi man joined him. Production of food crops, mainly yams, increased in the area, and gradually a small market sprang up which motivated a number of buyers and sellers to build buts.
Soon, army trucks were coming to buy yams during the Second Great War, 1939 – 1945, and the market town expanded considerably.
Also, the establishment of Workers Brigade and State Farms in the 1960s by the Ghana Government increased the population at Dontkore; but the name of the pioneer settler, Kwame Danso, became more popular and it was adopted accordingly.
Later, the Paramount Chief of Dwan Traditional Area installed an Odikro of the town for the first time and simultaneously enstooled Panyin Kwame Danso as the Krontihene in recognition of his vision, foresight, determination and patriotism. (A local historian, Major Okae Mensah, of 37 Military Hospital, Accra, and a founding member of the Guang Congress, is said to be an experience in the history of the Dwan State where he hails from the royal family)
The Spectator Page: 31 Saturday, January 15, 2011