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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 December 2004

Columnist: Impraim, Priscilla

About Fantes and Allegiance

A rejoinder to Mr. Graham?s ?Fante Betrayal?

I have read with amusement, articles commenting on the betrayal of Atta-Mills by his own people and wondered why this surprised many Ghanaians.

The first person the Fante man owes his allegiance to, is the ?white man?.

Second, to himself.

Whereas an Ashanti?s first allegiance is to the Asantehene , Asanteman, next to his ?Wofa?, to his brother or sister before himself.

History can prove this.

If one studies the history of colonial rule and the slave trade (though other coastal tribes were involved, but I will only focus on the Fante tribe), it can be said that the fantes ?sold their souls to the devil? for unimportant worldly things without pausing to think of the consequences. That was the beginning of their ?curse?. They allowed the ?white? people to plunder our gold, rape our women for pitiful remunerations such as alcohol, sweets and the chance to climb abord a ship just to listen and dance to music, which was foreign to our culture. They did not stop there; they actually supplied slaves to the white men, only to be stopped by the Ashantis, even by a woman, Yaa Asantewa!

Fantes feel superior to the other tribes because of their affiliation with the white man. Their language is even inter-laced with the English language. They were taught to speak, eat, dress and behave like the white man. Unfortunately, they were educated by the white man only to suit his whims and caprices. Fantes were not given any vocational training. They were taught to be office workers and administrators and have always felt that it was better to be employed (by someone) than to set up one?s own business. That is the reason behind the many degree. Masters and Phd. Holders in the early fifties and sixties. By nature, they are not risk-takers. And even if they do set up their own business (just because they have been advised by their Ashante peers), their business acumen is always bland. They really lack initiative. Kindly check the background of any successful Fante person in business and you should not be surprised to find out that either that backing is from his wife who would probably be an Ashanti, or from his non- Fante friends.

Anyone who attended secondary school in Cape Coast knows how a bar of ?abrokyir semena? (soap) could do wonders regarding getting anything done for you , be it washing of one?s clothes, fetching of water, buying some essential commodities in town, by the errand boys loitering around or the pantry men and women.

Fantes have no brotherly love towards each other ? anything you see is only superficial. A Fante would rather help non-Fante than his own brother or sister because of the remuneration he might be getting .

By their nature Fantes are very envious people and like crabs in a bucket, pull their friends down when they aim to climb out of their predicament. Readers should prudently check how many Fantes have set up successful businesses in Cape Coast. Boakye-Ansah Pharmacy (a kwahu family-owned business) was one of the first successful (and still successful, with the exception of Honsal Pharmacy) in Cape Coast.

Against this background, the good old Prof, should have looked before he leapt.

Comparing Cape Coast and its environs in terms of development to their Ashanti counterparts, one can draw a painful conclusion that Fantes are far behind.

I have come to respect and admire Ashantis (though they can be very aggressive, are braggarts, unnecessarily noisy) because of their risk-taking nature, hard work and diligence and of course their smartness. They took advantage of the weak-nature of Fantes and got away with it- BIG TIME!!

I do not think Fantes are going to learn from this mistake. They have been in slumber since the sixteenth century. They are still sleeping. Inter-marrying will do the trick!


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