Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Following King Prempeh's trail - Part 2

The Seychelles it seems was somewhat of a smaller version of Australia for the British. There were several political prisoners that were sent here for varying ' crimes' against the empire. Apart from King Prempeh I, political prisoners came from other countries including:
  • Uganda
  • Maldives
  • Zanzibar
  • Cyprus
  • Palestine
  • Malawi
  • Zanzibar
  • Somalia and
  • Egypt
King Prempeh however was exiled for the longest - having spent twenty four years on Mahe. His - and others - imprisonment was seen a a way of destroying the very base of traditional political systems. Like others, during his exile, King Prempeh was forced to convert to Christianity and choose Christian names. King Prempeh thus 'converted' an Anglican and chose the Christian name Edward - after King Edward of England (of course!). To complete the transformation he had to also give up traditional cloth, wear suits and learned to write and speak English.

As one historian noted however '
in 1924 when Prempeh returned to Kumasi, and contrary to British expectation that his exile had weakened the kingdom and would make him the embodiment of a British ruler, his people, the Asantes, who had waited for twenty four years and rejected British appointed Kings and chiefs in the interim, restored him as an Asantehene or King of the Asantes'.

Found this interesting extract at the National History Museum and thought I should share. Its an overview of the wages for the Ashanti Political prisoners as copied from an extract (original source unknown, spellings of names kept as seen in document).

NamesRanks Rate per dayTotal
Edward PrempehEx-King of AshantiRs 7.50Rs. 244.12
George AssibiEx-King of KakafuRs 2.25Rs 73.24
Kojo ApiaEx-King of KumassiRs 1.27Rs 60.87
Asafu BeashenEx-King of KumassiRs 1.87Rs 60.87
BeatinEx-King of KumassiRs 1.87Rs 60.87
Ya AssantiwaQueen MotherRs 3.37Rs 109.69
Kofi KofiaEx-King of BerumfuRs 1.87Rs 60.87
Kobina KwantabissahEx-King of OdumanRs 1.87Rs 60.37
Kwami ChausaEx-King of BerumfuiRs 1.87Rs 60.37
Edu KofiEx-King of BerumfuRs 1.87Rs 60.87
Kwami AkremaEx-King of TalkeriiRs 1.87Rs 60.37

Picture: Ghana Web
Encyclopedia of the African Disapora: Origins, Experiences and Culture
edited by Carole Boyce Davis


Myne Whitman said...

It's interesting to see that Ghana had these same history too. Some kings in Nigeria were also exiled by the British colonialists in the nineteenth century.

Denise said...

Hi Myne, didn't see a reference to the Nigerian kings in the info I read so thanks for the heads up.

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Interesting, Denise. But I know historically that Prempeh was not restored to the Asantehene's throne. He may have been made 'Kumasihene' (of which I am not too sure) but he certainly was given a home in Kumasi. He may even have returned as a 'private citizen'.

I found the 'wage list' interesting too.

Denise said...

Hi Nana,
well I guess my source is wrong! So much for it being a historical account - but thanks for the heads up. I will add a note correcting this asap.