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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'No Condition is Permanent': Ethnic Construction and the Use of History in Akuapem
Author:Gilbert, Michelle V.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Ghana
Akwapim polity
Ethnic and Race Relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161106
Abstract:This article concerns a recent political crisis which led to the fragmentation, in the main along ethnic lines, of the small Ghanaian kingdom of Akuapem. In early 1994 internecine warfare erupted between the Akan town of Akuropon and the adjacent Guan town of Abiriw. The violence, sparked by a fight over a piece of land, reflected two and a half centuries of tensions and contradictions. It resulted in the conscious politicization of ethnicity for political powerbuilding and led to the attempted secession of most of the kingdom's seventeen constituent towns and their reformation as four separate kingdoms. Critical to understanding the crisis is a grasp of the changing historical relationships between dominant and subordinate ethnic groups in Akuapem, what it means to be 'Akan' or 'Guan' in that particular state, and the dynamics of the process of ethnic assimilation (or 'Akanization' and 'Guanization'), which have operated differently at different periods of time. The terms used by both Akan and Guan to express the conflict appeal to claimed, contested and continually reconstructed 'history' and to emotionally potent notions concerning gods and ancestors, stones and stools, that are linked with ethnic identity. The author concludes that secession in Akuapem is a creative process to make a future and thus a history. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.