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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Asen Praso in History and Memory
Authors:Benson, Sue
McCaskie, T.C.ISNI
Periodical:Ghana Studies
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:slave trade
conservation of cultural heritage
local history
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
Abstract:The village of Asen Praso, now located on the 'Slave Route', a project introduced to Ghana by UNESCO in 1994, has led a somewhat peripatetic and vulnerable existence. Situated on the southern bank of the River Praso, Asen Praso occupied and occupies a border space, in the past precariously sandwiched between the Ashante kingdom to the north and the British presence on the coast; now between the demands for a 'simple story' to satisfy tourists/pilgrims coming to seek expiation and a complex real history of ambiguity, violence, and fluctuating fortunes. This article begins by examining the history of this rather ramshackle town, describing how it was pushed down south of the river by the encroachments of the Ashante. South of the river it teetered on the brink of famine and political uncertainty. For a while it was embroiled in the British-Ashante War. In 2002 it rose to a certain prominence when Nana Owodo Aseku X, chief of Asen Praso and Jakai, managed to have it inserted on the slave route trail. The history has been supplemented and whitewashed. The implication is that slaves passing through here were on a one-way journey across the Atlantic; domestic slavery is completely glossed over. Asen Praso may now be on the map, but it is still riddled with the effects of displacement, insecurity, and vulnerability in the face of powerful others who are still calling the tune. It is a good example of a place where the awkwardness of the local past has now been replaced by a pliant and serviceable official history. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]