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The King, His Soul and the Pastor: Three Views of a Conflict in Akropong 1906-7

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In 1906-7, in Akwapim, a small kingdom in southern Ghana (then the Gold Coast), a bitter conflict occurred between the king, Nana Kwasi Akuffo, and Kwasi Fianko, a wealthy trader who had been appointed as the king's 'soul' (okra) but who later decided to resign his position and rejoin the Christian community. Two detailed accounts addressed to the Basel Mission were written by an indigenous pastor and his superior, a long-serving missionary. They recount the conflict, the negotiations that ensued, and the complex relations between the king and the Basel Mission community. These reports depict the ambitions and the everyday conduct of a poor king and a wealthy commoner, the one a non-Christian and the other a Christian, in the early years of the twentieth century. They also describe the position of the 'soul' in an Akan court, and the central importance of money in a kingdom lacking important natural resources.

Affiliations: 1: Trinity College, Hartford, CT 06106, USA; 2: Largitzenstrasse 19, 4056 Basel, Switzerland


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