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How the Past was UsedHistorical cultures, c. 750-2000$
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Peter Lambert and Björn Weiler

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266120

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266120.001.0001

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Memory as Theatre

Memory as Theatre

Using a Ghanaian Ritual to Recall Past Greatness and to Redress Recent Reverses

(p.277) 12. Memory as Theatre
How the Past was Used

Richard Rathbone

British Academy

In 1995, the Asante people of central Ghana celebrated a sumptuous first-fruits festival, Odwira. Although the festival is held annually, this one was unusual in that it also marked the 25th year of the reign of their king, the Asantehene. The event was charged with political as well as cultural meaning. Asante and its king had been at the centre of opposition to the radical nationalist party led by Kwame Nkrumah which had taken Ghana into independence in 1957. That opposition had been ruthlessly suppressed and humiliated and this Odwira proved to be a very public opportunity for both an energetic re-assertion of Asante pride and for revenge against a brand of radical politics which remains significantly less popular in the region than it does in other parts of Ghana.

Keywords:   Ghana, Asante people, Odwira, Kwame Nkrumah, Asante pride, radical politics

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