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KWAHU

Kwahu is a high area in the Eastern Region of Ghana, West Africa. The name Kwahu also applies to the people. Towns and villages within the area are given the prefix Kwahu, as in Kwahu Tafo, thereby distinguishing it from other Tafos. The local dialect is Twi (pronounced ‘Chwee’), one of the Akan family of languages

 

Situated in Ghana’s rain-forest which sweeps across the southern part of the country, the Kwahu plateau is both rocky and fertile, stretching from the main Accra- Kumasi highway up to Ghana’s highest habitable point at Abetifi, down to the wide expanse of the man-made Volta Lake, and even beyond to a northern boundary where memories remain of a slave route from the interior of the country to the Volta River and thence to the coast.
 

 


It displays many dramatic views including plunging ravines, curious rock formations, tumbling waterfalls and the wide expanse of the Volta Lake. The most notable feature is the great towering rock Bruku which is regarded as a Lesser God and stands guardian over Kwahu. 

The Kwahu plateau evinces evidence of Stone Age occupation, and local tradition recalls the time when ‘ancestors’ sheltered in caves and found their way towards good hunting grounds. ‘Tafo’ is a name given to several Akan settlements as it means ‘good hunting ground (literally ‘my soup ladle is wet’).

 

Historically the Kwahu people resisted the expanding power of the Ashanti Empire, barricading themselves on their high plateau and threatening that if anyone came after them they would ‘roll rocks down on them and kill them’. In fact some say that the word ‘Kwahu’ itself means ‘Go and die’. Today the people are more welcoming.

In 1868 the first Christian mission arrived in Ghana from Switzerland, when the Rev. F.A. Ramseyer and his wife made their way (in captivity) to Kumasi via Kwahu and eventually returned to establish a church and school in Abetifi. The appeal of Christianity spread rapidly, wooing people from the Traditional Faith by the promise of a happy afterlife, and, more immediately, education. With the influx of Islam from the north there were (and still are) three principal faiths in Ghana. It is greatly to the country’s credit that all three co-exist in fraternal accord, and in a rural area such as Kwahu the beliefs of the Traditional Faith, as exemplified in the religious ceremonies of Fetish Priests and Priestesses, are still deeply embedded in the people’s psyche alongside Christianity and Islam.

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The Kwahu area is not as well known to Ghanaians – or the outside world – as it deserves to be. Within reachable distance of the capital, it offers cooler air, rural relaxation, the dramatic expanse of the Volta Lake, and a memorable landscape enriched by its cultural past.

A comprehensive description of its attractions is contained in “Your Essential Guide to Kwahu”, an informal and lavishly illustrated handbook for visitors published by Kwahu Tourism Initiative in 2014.

The map below (adapted by KTI from the original by courtesy ITMB Publishing) provides its centrefold.





 

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