Friday, 27 August 2010

Southern Ghana Tour- Day IV

17 August 2010
The fourth day of our tour was spent moving around the city of Kumasi, ancient capital of Asante Kingdom. It is the centre of Ghana's culture and also transportation. The city is spread on the gently sloping terrain and the atmosphere is cool and lively. I liked the city and found it to be better than Accra. We had came to the city because it was the place where our national volunteer conference was going to take place for the remaining three days. The venue of the conference was at Hotel Miklin which had very good facilities for accommodation, food and of course conference. We arrived in Kumasi in the afternoon and started for roaming around the city immediately after lunch.
Our first stop was Armed Forces Museum at Kumasi Fort. In the early 1800's Asante King decided to build a fort at the current location after seeing the Cape Coast castle. The Asantes did not have technical know how to build the fort but they sent men to see the castle at Cape Coast and brought all the construction material on head loads from the coastal town. British attacked Asantes after coming to know about the construction of the fort. The Asantes had very little artillery and fought with primitive weapons with the British for quite a long time but had to loose the fort to British. The queen mother of the Asantes after hearing the defeat took charge of the Asante army and again fought with the British. As they did not have any advanced technique with which they could fight British they used the strategy, "let the thousand die, thousand new will come." They used this strategy to fight with the British for continuous 7 months. Of course it did not prove successful and they lost the battle to the British but it did prove the spirit of freedom in the Asantes. So no wonder Ghana was the first country in colonial Africa to gain freedom from colonial powers.
Nowadays the fort houses Armed Forces Museum and they gave an excellent guided tour of this small museum. The guide was again a very knowledgeable person and even took great efforts to customise the experience as per the nationality of the tourists. The museum has collection of weapons used for warfare since ancient times. There are weapons which were used in the World War I and II; those used by the guerrillas in various civil war stricken countries like Liberia, Congo and Rwanda. Ghanaian army is a major peace keeping army in some of the countries and they are collaborating with Indian army in those countries. They have a small navy and air force commands. Ghana's first air force chief was an Indian with surname Singh. During 1960's when country became independent there was no knowledge about air force in the country. The Indian military helped Ghana to build their air force
After visit to the museum we went to the small cathedral which is near the Prempreh Circle in the city. This is a small but beautiful structure in the city centre. The city centre has a statue of King of Asantes King Prempreh II where he is standing on the lion. The next small walk took us to the Central Market of Kumasi. This is very exciting place and its spread is huge. One can get a variety of clothing, food stuffs, jewellery and almost all the things of daily and special needs. Everybody bought something at this place.
This was the official end of our planned tour as we are not sure about how much we shall get to explore afterwards because tomorrow onwards our volunteer conference starts. It will not be possible to get out of the hotel easily as we shall be busy. After conference we have planned for return to our respective places and start with work. We did not like the idea of ending the tour but we are equally excited about the volunteer conference and meeting all the VSO volunteers working in Ghana at once.

Prempreh Circle, Kumasi

Inside Cathedral