A modern poem in the traditional manner of a praise for one’s clan, sent to us by Adjei Agyei-Baah. Here the history of the Ashanti people is celebrated with reference to the richness of their land, their gods, and their traditional rulers.

The edenic garden on a fertile land of gold
Ashanti!

The kingdom whose boundaries were only penetrated
With treaties never with canons
Ashanti!

The empire whose monarchy was furiously fissured
Yet could not be humbled into crumbs
Ashanti!

The people whose culture and tradition
Is a feast of smiling stars in their sparkling splendour
Ashantis!

The kingdom whose majestic steps
Always tame the troubled waters
Ashanti!

The empire blessed by the gods with a stool of gold
Ashanti!

The first graduates of Ananse’s weaving school (1)
Ashanti!

The people whose hospitality
Turns strangers into natives
Ashanti!

The empire whose installation of her kings
Make the whole world walk to Manhyia (2)
Ashanti!

The people whose heads are held high
Under the legendary leadership of Osei Tutu (3)
Ashanti!

The porcupine warriors
Who double in thousands with the last man standing
Ashantis!

The porcupine warriors
Who never run out of quills!

Here is the poem in Twi translation:

Eden turo a ɛsi sikakɔkɔɔ fapim so
Asante no no!

Ahennie a wɔde nkunwasie na ɛbɔwuraa n’ahyeiɛ mu
na wɔamfa atubena
Asante no no!

Ahenman a otuu ne wura de no kɔɔ Sehyɛl supɔ soɔ
nanso wɔantumi ammɔ no anhwete
Asante no no!

Nipakuo a wɔn amamerɛ ne atetesɛm
gu nhyerɛnee te sɛ nsroma nhyiamu
Asante no no!

Ahenman yɛsoma no kɔyɛ asomdwieɛ ho nhyehyɛeɛ
wɔ baabiara egya redɛreɛ
Asante no no!

hennie a nananom de sika dwa ahyria no
Asante no no!

Ananse mma a wɔyɛ sukuu nwenebea mu adinkanfo
Asante no no!

Nipakuo a wɔn ayamyɛ
ma ahɔhoɔ bɔ wɔn abusua prɛko pɛ
Asante no no!

Ahenman a wɔn ahensie ma wiase nyinaa
di ahyiamu wɔ Manhyia
Asante no no!

Ɔman a Ɔseɛ Tutu Amponyinamoa sa pa a ɔtuiɛ nti
wɔsa wɔn no mmrane
Asante no no!

Mɛtɛɛ mma
a wɔ buru yɛ apem wɔ berɛ a aka wɔn kofo baako pɛ
Asante no no!

Kɔtɔkɔ mma
a wɔn mɛtɛ nsa da!

by Adjei Agyei-Baah

Adjei Agyei-Baah is a lecturer and translator at the University of Ghana School of Distance Education, Kumasi Campus, and teaches Academic Writing and Literature related courses. He is also the co-founder Africa Haiku Network and Poetry Foundation Ghana, and currently serves as the managing coeditor of The Mamba, Africa’s first international haiku Journal. He is widely anthologized, won several international awards. Adjei is an author of two books: “AFRIKU” and “Ghana 21”, and looks forward to publishing his first long verse collection “Embers of Fireflies” in 2018.


Footnotes

  1. Ananse: In West African folktales, a popular spider god who is both devious and very wise.
  2. Manhyia: A town which serves as the seat of Ashanti Kingdom, housing the Manhyia Palace (i.e. The Ashanti Kings Palace) and Ashanti Museum.
  3. Osei Tutu: Osei Kofi Tutu I was the founder of the Empire of Asante. Osei Kofi Tutu II is the current traditional ruler of the Kingdom of Ashanti (see also The Otumfuo of the Ashantis).