Beyond the History and Reverence: Cultural Heroes as Factors of Community Development

Evans Asante


The culture of many indigenous communities in Ghana revolves around persons, (often warriors) who either led them to war or to their current settlements. These historical figures otherwise known as Cultural Heroes have greatly influenced the initiation of festivals and other cultural activities of the people in their honour. In this regard, consideration is given to such ones like Tweneboa Kodua who sacrificed his life so that Asantes could win their war of independence (Agyekum, 2013);  Ansa Sasraku of the Akwapims, Amenfi of Asebu and the great Fante Trio Obumankoma, Oson and Odapagyan. These historical figures have been given special places in the histories of their communities thereby affecting cultural systems in one way or other.Most of these heroes have aroused the interest of biographers, historians and critics who among other things, analyze the genealogies of communities and acknowledge their heroism. Beyond the reverence however, are there possibilities to use their rich history and legacies to stimulate economic growth in our current dispensation? This paper examines events surrounding cultural heroes and how their cultural circumstances and other activities have shaped the development process of communities.  Specifically, the paper examines the legendary Amenfi, the greatest warrior of the people of Asebu in the Central region of Ghana. It explores how his adventures can be used to stimulate development in the Asebu community by adopting Community Cultural Development (CCD) and Participatory Performance Practice (PPP) methods. Additionally, the paper seeks to incite the discussion of cultural heroism into mainstream rural development process.

Keywords: Cultural heroes, development, community cultural development, Amenfi, cultural tourism.

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