Saturday, April 21, 2007
BA Welcome Tourists to 48th Anniversary
By: IAN MOTEY
BRONG Ahafo will next week commence activities commemorating the 48th anniversary of the creation of the region.
The week long programme will be climaxed with a grand durbar of chiefs and people at the regional capital, Sunyani, where the region’s unique culture and tradition will be on display.
The region was created on April 4, 1959 when it was carved out of the then British Protectorate.
At the time it was called Western Ashanti. Today it is the second largest region in the country with a territorial landmass of 39, 557.08 square kilometers.
Brong Ahafo has its unique features, its natural vegetation and environs, unlike other regions where human settlements and industrialization has condemned the scenic atmosphere.
It’s regional capital has been described as one of the most beautiful municipalities in Africa.
Apart from its well layout, Brong Ahafo is the agricultural hub of the country producing large reserves of forest and bush animals.
According to the 2000 population censuses, Brong Ahafo has a population of 1,824,827 with 70 per cent between the ages of 15 and 64 years.
Approximately 73 per cent of its population lives in the rural areas and about half of the overall population is into farming.
Some of the main crops planted are yam, maize, cashew, cocoa, coffee, plantain, cocoyam, garden eggs and cassava.
Brong Ahafo contributes substantially to the nation’s food requirement, thus it has earned the name, “Ghana’s Food Basket”.
The region is predominantly inhabited by the Brons and Ahafos who are Akan speaking people.
A MONKEY FROM BOABENG-FIEMA SANCTUARY LOOKING FOR FOOD IN A VILLAGE
There are, however, other ethnic groupings such as the Natana from Sampa, the Ligby from Bada, the Koulongo from Seiku and Badu, the Nehumuru from Atebubu and Sene and the Mo from Mo.
Administratively, Brong Ahafo has 19 Districts, two of which are of municipal status.
They are Berekum, Kintampo South, Kintampo North, Asunafo North, Asunafo South, Atebubu-Amantin, Jaman North, Jaman South, Nkoranza and Pru.
Others are Sene, Tano North, Tano South, Asutifi, Wenchi, Dormaa and Tain. The municipalities are Techiman and Sunyani.
High on the agenda of the celebration would be visits to tourist sites in the region. As established, the region abounds in many tourist attractions which can inform the outside world of the history and culture of the people.
For example, one gets to see and learn the behaviour of Black and White Columbus and Mona monkeys at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary.
Located 22 kilometres from Nkoranza this sanctuary covers 4.4 kilometres.
The monkeys here are held sacred by the natives who mourn them like humans when they die. Their relations have been so cordial that the monkeys can be seen moving from home to home in search of food in the surrounding villages.
Boabeng-Fiema sanctuary also has a rich butterfly species and the forest contains a lot of fruit trees such as mangoes.
Brong Ahafo also has two beautiful falls namely the Kintampo and Fuller.
Kintampo falls is four kilometers from the Kintampo Township. The waterfall is located at a point where the river Pumpum falls about 70 metres down some beautiful rocky steps and joins the Black Volta around Bulpe.
The Fuller falls on the other hand is about seven kilometers west of Kintampo. The waterfalls drops over a series of cascades and move along the path of the Oyoko River and finally joins the Black Volta.
The scenic atmosphere at these falls couple with the humble hospitality of the people of Brong Ahafo would make any visitor feel at home and enjoy himself. The region can also boast of a Christian monastery known as the Kristo Boase Monastery.
It is a Catholic Monastery for the Benedictine monks and located at Tano-Boase. Tourists who visit this well designed holy place would be attracted to the beautiful landscape.
The facility others visitors a place for meditation.
Another tourist attraction is the Pinihini Amovi Caves which are located near Fiema. These are underground caves and history has it that some Akans migrated from these underground caves. Visitors are however, cautioned that only the traditional priest of Pinihini can lead them to the cave site. Buoyem Caves and Bat Sanctuary cannot go unmentioned. Buoyem is an aborigine locate surrounded by some magnificent landscape.
THE HERITAGE OF BRONG AHAFO
Brong Ahafo also has a rich heritage and visitors would admire the Bani archeological site about 50 km. from Wenchi.
It was inhabited by the Beghos about1200 B.C.
The Kweku Fri Shrine at Nwoase, six kilometers from Wenchi is alone an amazing tourist attraction that receives thousands of visitors all year round.
It is believed that women in need of babies who visit this shrine get pregnant after successfully undergoing some rituals.
The Kwaku Fri Shrine is, however, open to outsiders only on Wednesdays and Sundays. The history of Brong Ahafo cannot be complete without a visit to the Tanoboase Sacred Grove.
Legend has it that the grove was a safe haven for the Bono people during their 18th century wars with the Ashantis.
There are two main festivals celebrated by the people of the Region-Kafie and Apoo.
The people of Dormaa Ahenkro, Berekum and Nsuatre celebrate the Kwafie festival. The climax witnesses the setting up of a huge bonifire in the court yard of the Chief.
The significance of this bonifire has been that Dormaas claim they brought fire to Ghana and the bonifire is reenactment of how their ancestors received this prestigious gift.
As the name suggests, Apoo means “rejection of evil”. Therefore, Apoo is a festival for the purification of evil.
During the festivities, the chiefs and people including children undertake a procession through the streets to Techiman and Wenchi to drive away evil spirits.
The two festivals are crowned with picturesque durbars.
THE SPECTATOR - Saturday, April 21, 2007. Page: 19