The Golden stool and the greatest risk in Asante history

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When the Golden Stool (Sikadwa) was invoked from the skies by Kotobere Anokye Frempon sometime in 1695 on a glorious Friday, he expressly declared that the stool was no ordinary one as it contains the soul and spirit of Asanteman. For this reason, since the days of the Ɔpemsoɔ Osei Tutu I, the first Asantehene, the stool has been jealously guarded with the last vein of every true Asante.

It is therefore no wonder when the British imperialists sought to invade Asante in 1896, Otumfuo Agyeman Prempe I, the 13th Asantehene, for the love of his nation, refused to raise guns against the British troops and rather offered himself to be exiled to Seychelles.

However, when upon persistent demands, Nana Prempe I returned to Kumase in 1924, he took a great step which is worthy of mention.

The story recounts that during one odd night in 1926, Nana Agyeman Prempe I invited the then Commissioner A.C.Duncan Johnstone to the Manhyia Palace, and shared drinks together until after “two o’clock in the morning”.

Then, by fate or design, Nana Agyeman decided that he was actually going to show the Golden Stool to Mr. Johnstone to convince him that the Stool is not missing as was wildly speculated.

While on the way to this secret room which housed the Golden stool, a drama unfolded. They were met midway by the Sanaahene who ‘resisted’ and questioned why the British was with the King at such an hour of the midnight.

Johnstone in a report recounts that the King “lost his patience and barked out a command whereupon two executioners, with their half shaven heads and bandoliers of knives, appeared silently from behind us, and threw the Sanaahene face downwards to the ground. Prempeh then stepped on his head and went through the gate into the courtyard…”

The Sanaahene grudgingly then unlocked the door, turned on the electric light, and lo and behold the majestic Golden Stool was seen wrapped with an Asante cloth.

Indeed, Nana Prempe I had taken the greatest risk and gamble. The colonial government now knew the existence and location of the Golden Stool. What will happen next? Will the British demand for the Golden Stool, the traditional soul of the Asantes?

For three long years, it was basically a wait-and-see affair. The safety and security measures governing the Golden Stool were greatly enhanced.

However, by the mercies of Otuturobonsu Nyankopon, the British realised that another demand for the Golden Stool could trigger an all out war.

Like a relentless warrior unperturbed by enemy darts, Nana Agyeman took another bold step and publicly exhibited the Golden Stool in 1929 at a thanksgiving service at the St. Cyprians Anglican Church.

Nana Agyeman Prempe I joined his ancestors in 1931 and will forever be remembered for taking arguably the greatest risk in Asante history. Overall, he managed to dispel and cure the wild rumours and showed that the pristine, divinely delivered and original Golden Stool remained in Asante and was never taken away by anyone.

Asante nkwaso.

By Yaw Afreh.

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