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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Christian Executioner: Christianity and Chieftaincy as Rivals
Author:Gilbert, Michelle V.
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa
Geographic term:Ghana
Akwapim polity
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/157006695X00038
Abstract:At the heart of this paper are the attempts since 1975 to find an occupant for the position of Chief Executioner in Akuapem, a small kingdom in southern Ghana. The case history of the Akuapem Chief Executioner ('Adumhene') illustrates the personal dilemma of a Christian who agrees to be installed as a chief. As a chief he must accept responsibilities for traditional activities, such as ancestor worship and sacrifice, which offend Christian principles. The paper describes the installation of an educated Christian in 1987, his death soon after, and the ensuing struggle over his burial. Attention is paid to the Guan/Akan distinction, human sacrifice and public executions in the 19th century and contemporary attitudes to them as part of 'tradition', and the differing perspective of local people as they reconcile (or fail to reconcile) chieftaincy and Christianity. Throughout the focus is on the plural religious situation which prevails in Akuapem, and on the discourse and practice of Christians (specifically the followers of the Basel Mission/Presbyterian Church) and non-Christians. The paper is based on four and a half years of research carried out in Akuapem in 1976-1978 and between 1986 and 1993. Bibliogr., notes, ref.