Biography of the former Bishop an Chairman of the Ghano Church of Pentecost
Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:
Liczba stron: 446
Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:
Coming With Fire
Autobiography of Apostle Dr. Michael Kwabena Ntumy
© Apostle Dr. Michael Kwabena Ntumy (2005)
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any
information storage and retrieval system, without permission in
writing from the copyright owner.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations
in this book are taken from
The HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION,
used by permission
Published and Printed by
Advocate Publishing Ltd
Adabraka, Odorna Road, Accra, Ghana
Tel: 238817/238740 Fax: 238746
I am very grateful to those who were unconsciously used of
God to sow in me the idea of writing the story of my life –Editors/ Officers of ADVOCATE NEWSPAPER, ROVER REPORTMONTHLY Magazine, JUNIOR GRAPHIC, P&PNEWSPAPER and STEP MAGAZINE. They all interviewed meand published extensively my profile in their highly respected papers.
The writing of this book spanned a relatively short period of time – under twelve weeks. That period found me ministering inseven countries on four continents. This gives an idea that many people came on board to make it happen.
Apostles A. K. Miah and his wife Mary (Canada), Albert Amoah and Agatha (USA), Geraldo Aredes (Brazil), Nene AhorluOfoe Amegatcher and Dorothy (U.K.), as well as Rev. Dr. EmmanuelOwusu and Patricia (France) played host to me during the writingof this book. They did an excellent job by creating the right writing environment for me. I am most grateful to them.
Mrs. Marian Asante (Church of Pentecost, USA Head Office), Mrs. Janet Dwumah (Church of Pentecost, U.K. Office)and my own hard working secretaries, Elders Emmanuel Yeboahand Alex Asiedu (Church of Pentecost, Headquarters, Accra)graciously did the typing at lightning speed. Elder Dr. Godfried Owusu Ababio (Church of Pentecost, Indianapolis, USA), Apostle Daniel Noble-Atsu (Church of Pentecost, Kaneshie Area Head,Accra) and Apostle Dr. Opoku Onyinah (Rector, PentecostUniversity College) did a meticulous work at editing the manuscript and making very useful suggestions that have enhanced the quality of the book. My own children, Emmanuel and Samuel Ntumy as well as Stella Apea helped by taking into account the suggestions of those who did the editing during their holidays. I am very grateful to them all.
I am forever grateful to Rt. Rev. Dr. Agyin Asare, Presiding Bishop of Word Miracle Church International, for accepting to write the foreword to this book. He did it in a record-time at a time when he was holding a Gospel Crusade abroad.
I am very grateful to the staff of Advocate Publishing Ltd, especially, Mr. Joy Alamu, Mrs. Georgina Asante, Mr. Kojo Bode—Williams. My special gratitude goes to Mr. Frank Addo and MsComfort Keku who did the graphics and typesetting in a painstaking manner. God richly bless them all. Uncle Ebo Whyte of “Rover Report Monthly Magazine” spent several days proof reading andproviding a techincal touch. Many thanks Brother Whyte.
I am equally thankful to the great men of God who, in spite of their numerous pre-occupations, found time to write brief statements about me in this book. This shows the beauty and level of fellowship the BODY OF CHRIST (The Churches) in Ghana are enjoying in our generation.
No author can quantify the contributions of his/her family towards the writing of a book. They are deprived of some of their precious time together, besides offering, at times, some practical inputs. I am grateful to all our children, especially Mike and Joana, for their patience and understanding. To Martha my dear wife who lovingly endured my “night shift” I say “Thank You.”
Our God is the GOD OF GRACE. He is the One who gave me the wisdom, grace and ability to write this booke at such a busy time of my life. To Him, from whom all blessings flow and who has made the story of my life worth telling, be glory and honour forever.
M. K. Ntumy
Beyond the pleasure and privilege of writing this foreword are the blessings and benefits of knowing Apostle Ntumy, a manwith many talents.
There are three stages in a person’s life; the receiving years (from birth to thirty years) the acquiring years (30 – 50), and the giving years (50 and over). Most people start pouring out their experiences after 50 years. However, if a man has been privileged by God to serve as the Chairman of the largest Pentecostal denomination in Ghana (The Church of Pentecost), a position formerly occupied by very elderly people, and as the President of the Ghana Pentecostal Council, the largest Christian block in Ghana, then we can say God has not stopped the man from side-stepping his “class” as he did whilst in primary school. Apostle Ntumy can conveniently write his autobiography now without being accused of pride.
I have known Michael since December 1980 when we met at a Church of Pentecost Convention in Chinderi in the Kete-Krachi District of the Volta Region where he was ordained a deacon. Till today, when God has caused him to experience all the favour he enjoys I can boldly say his humility has not changed; his love and commitment to God are still “highly inflammable” and his ability to inspire confidence in others is unlike many. I am glad to serve with him as his First Vice President in the Ghana Pentecostal Council (a fellowship of Charismatic & Pentecostal Churches). The author has made a historic mark in the land by leading classical Pentecostalism into a post-modern era and encouraging moreCharismatic leadership into the Ghana Pentecostal Council.
Rev. Michael Ntumy approaches this book (Coming withFire)with almost 25 years of experience gained in ministry world wide. Very many in Christian leadership today have never been“men of war.”They have never built a church, cast out a devil or raised a budget. Ntumy has dared all these and he is still doing so.
Note that you have just opened a volatile book – one that holds some explosive, inflammable material. This is a warning to let you know this book will set you on fire for God which will make you “heavenly dangerous” for your generation. When youstart reading this book you cannot lay it aside till you have reached the last page. When he called and said“Charles, will you writethe foreword to my book in two weeks, I asked the volume ofthe book. When he told me, I said I was goingfora crusadeand it was not possible for me to do so.”Yet when I began to read it, I devoured its pages in three days despite the fact that I had to stop and pray, teach at seminars and preach at night. Then, I felt a holy obligation under Christ to serve his request as much as I could.
In this book, you will discover that Rev. Michael Ntumy believes and practices that“without holiness no one shall seethe Lord”and that enduement of power from on high is a prerequisite for effective ministry. You will also discover that illumination cannot be taught but has to be caught; that effective planning cannot be brushed aside; relationship should not be ignored and above all, study of the Bible and other literature must not be despised.
“Coming with Fire” will challenge you to dare to do those things that no one will dare to. It will stir up your faith to reach the unreachable, to endure the bitterest hardship, knowing that the “school of hard knocks” is a prerequisite for greatness and to strive to attain higher heights with much godly fear and humility.
By virtue of his rich and varied experience he has earned the right to counsel young candidates for the ministry and many of those already in the ministry who are aspiring and are in leadership in the society through this book.
I wish him well with this volume and my prayer is that there will be a replication of his ministry in those who read this book and that readers will know that to understand the glory of a man is to know his story.
Get a copy of this book now and be inspired to desire what God has for you so that you acquire and attain God’s best for your life.
RT. REV. CHARLES AGYIN ASARE Ph. D
- PRESIDING BISHOP, WORD MIRACLE CHURCH INTERNATIONAL
- 1ST VICE PRESIDENT, GHANA PENTECOSTAL COUNCIL
I have always wondered who was qualified to write his own
biography. Should it be the person who thinks he has made it in life? Why should such people think their biography would make aninteresting reading? Anyway, will such people not be boasting and thus, falling prey to pride? I have wondered and pondered over these things for a very long time.
The more I studied the Bible however, the more I found people telling their stories. They told these stories from a different perspective– the divine angle. They analyzed their lives in retrospect. They examined their present situation in the light of God’s grace, mercy or dealings with them and made recommendations to others. Listen to Jacob, for example, telling God in prayer:
“ O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac…I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shownyour servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups” (Gen. 32:9,10).
Later when Jacob stood before Pharaoh at the start of his Egyptian sojourn, he had this brief account of his life to tell the Egyptian monarch:
“The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers” (Gen. 47:9).
As his life ebbed to its final doxology, Jacob had this testimony to give about God during the “adoption” of Ephraim and Manasseh: “….God…has been my Shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm…” (Gen. 48:15,16).
Well, if I think God’s grace and mercies towards me are interesting, meriting that others should hear, when should the story be told? The answer was not hard to find. “Why not wait till youretire from active service – in old age. As the sunset of your life approaches, you can best give an account of how the day was spent,”I said to myself. That, I assumed was a fair position both to posterity and myself. Something happened, however, which made me give a deeper consideration to the issue.
It was 1st June, 2005. I was preparing to leave my home base of Accra for an apostolic visit to Brazil, Guyana, Canada, USA and France. That morning, Mr. Ebo Whyte, one of Ghana’s leading social commentators and play-wrights came to interview me for his magazine, “Rover Report Monthly.” His opening remarks amazed me. He said, “Rev. Ntumy, I have scrupulously observed you thesepast seven years. None of us in the media can point an accusingfinger at you on any issue. We thank God for making you a rolemodel of astounding achievement with great humility and selflessness.
I have selected just a few people for the cover page of my magazine. These included people like Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Clinton, KofiAnnan, Ghana’s sitting President J. A. Kufuor, Condolezza Rice,Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II. I have decided that nextmonth’s edition will feature you. I already know a lot about you, and I really do not need to interview you, but just to seek your permission.” I questioned the basis on which he could place me on the same pedestal as these great people. His answer was quite simple, “No truly great person ever thought of himself as being great. Others observe greatness in them and that is what I have done.”
That same day, some officers of ADVOCATE NEWS, a newly registered Ghanaian weekly newspaper came to my house.They had come to interview me for the maiden edition of theirnewspaper. Mr. Kojo Williams and Mrs. Georgina Asante bothheaved deep sighs and concluded, “Reverend, this story of your life must be told for everybody to hear.” That did not end it for that day.
Before I left for the airport, the phone rang. A call came from a lady who introduced herself as Augustina Tawiah from “Junior Graphic,” Ghana’s leading weekly newspaper for the youth (the youthcounterpart of “Daily Graphic.”) “You have become a role modelto many people in this nation. We believe that the story of your life will be a great inspiration to the youth. I am calling to request an interview with you to feature you in one of our editions.” I thanked her and scheduled the appointment for a date after my return from my apostolic trip.
That night, as we flew to Amsterdam, I reflected on those interviews and wondered how much of what I had shared could bepublished. Some Christian scholars/authors have pages on me intheir books, while many others had published features on me already, including very many live radio and television interviews. I wondered whether these people would tell the story better than myself. I pondered over several areas of my life the interviewers could not touch. I reasoned that if the story needed to be told, then why not tell it myself – in the spirit of my Lord and Saviour and for His singular glory and honour. It is in light of the foregoing that I decided to write my autobiography. I dedicate it as a tribute to the LORDJESUS CHRIST whose love and mercy have culminated in makingthe story of my life worthy to be told. Therefore, whatever is shared in these pages are meant to glorify the LORD GOD ALMIGHTYwho“…raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy fromthe ash heap; he sets them with princes and has them inherit athrone of honour…” (1 Sam. 2:8).
I trust that you will be inspired and challenged to surrender your life to the Great Extraordinary God of Heaven who can doextraordinary things through ordinary people.
Apostle Dr. Michael Kwabena Ntumy
COMING WITH FIRE
“Help, help, where are the men? Help, help, help!!” The little village of Dadease in the mid-Volta basin of Ghana was thrown into pandemonium. The sun was hurrying to “sleep” behind the dense foliage of the little tropical forest around the village, and the farmers were rushing home before darkness caught them on the way. The women, who had earlier returned from the farm, were returningfrom Asuo Firaw (Volta River) or the nearby Otwapese River withtheir head pans or pots of water for cooking or washing.
Hearing the alarm, they quickly converged at the out-house of Opanin Kwaku Kumah, whom they respectfully called “AgyaAku.” His thatch-roofed outer house just by the Krachi – Accraroad was in danger of catching fire. The danger of this situation was that, Adwoa Tiwaah, his wife, was in labour, giving birth to her fifth child in that house. A cargo truck plying on that laterite road had caught fire just behind the house. Just the fall of a spark from the burning cargo truck on the thatch roof, and …The rescue operation was simple for the villagers to devise.
The men climbed to the roof of the thatched house while the women handed over their head-pans and pots of water to them. With eagle eyes, they were ready to put out any spark that would land anywhere on the roof. Another group fought the flames from the burning vehicle with leaves from palm and mango trees or with sand scooped with their palms. The vehicle was completely destroyed, but not a spark landed on the roof. Moments later, Adwoa Tiwaah (simply called A’Tiwaah by everybody) gave birth to a big baby boy on 22ndSeptember, 1958. They called him Kwabena, the Akan name formales born on Tuesday.
The fire fighters then went into the house to catch a glimpse of the baby boy. “You see this boy, he’s coming with fire. What kind of person is this boy going to be - coming with fire ahead of him?” – they exclaimed.
They congratulated A’Tiwaah and Agya ’Aku on the birth of their fifth child and expressed the hope that the boy would not be the last to come from the loins and womb of Agya ’ Aku and A’Tiwaah.
Agya ’Aku named his son Kwabena Ntumy, after his deceased older brother also called Kwabena Ntumy whom he loved verymuch. His brother was enlisted in the Royal West African Frontier Force to fight for the British during the Second World War in Burma.
He returned from the war and they lived happily together until 1956 when he died. Agya ’Aku decided to have a permanent remembranceof his brother and thus, decided to have his next child named after him. That was me. Love and respect for his brother were thus transferred to me. I was the beloved of my family, especially of my parents.
True to the wish of the local folks, Agya ’Aku gave his wife ten children of whom two passed away earlier in life. Yaa Adadeopened the matrix. She was followed by Kwadwo Dofuor (namedafter his own father), Akwasi Adade, and Akua Ntosuor beforeKwabena Ntumy. After me came Abena Kwabenaa Ntumy, AmaNkrumah and Ama Badu.
The Agya ’Aku family was however larger than just that of his own nuclear family. His older brother had several wives andmany children. When his brother died, his wives were allowed toremarry, but his children were all adopted as my father’s own
children, and we lived together. Ours was a big family. Thus, from the earliest age, I was introduced to living together in a large family.
The laws were strict and dogmatic. The line between right and wrong was closely watched by all. Doing the wrong thing was swiftlynoticed, and instant justice was meted out by the oldest personaround. Since those who come after me in the order of birth arefemales (and it was considered a shame for a male to beat a female), I could not administer “justice” to anybody in the family. Besides, I was trained to do all the menial jobs in the family as the last-born-son. I had to do all the “donkey-jobs” without expecting anybody to extend a helping hand. My father, however, helped to change my attitude of considering service as servitude to that of opportunity of sharing one’s life and time with others – a principle he himself demonstrated so well in his life.
To him, the greatest joy in life was that of giving. He would say, “Just see the joy on the face of somebody who receives a gift from you; the eyes sparkling with delight or tears of joy rolling down a surprised face or the hand closing instinctively over an astonished, wide-opened mouth! When you see these things, you cannot stop giving to people – not forgetting about the need your gift goes to satisfy.”
Agya ’Aku’s generosity was seen on display whenever people came to help him on the farm or when he returned from either hunting or fishing. On the farm, his policy was, “Never give people foodstuffs they are able to carry home – that is not generous enough. Give them more than they can carry home.” Anytime he returned fromhunting with a game or fish, the entire village would know Agya’Aku had indeed come home.
We therefore grew up with the knowledge that the best thing in life is to share. That was a powerful biblical principle from a person who did not even know there was a book called the BIBLE. He said his convictions were borne out of deep experiences gatheredfrom his travels far away from home. As a young man, he travelled to the rich goldfields of Obuasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana where he worked as a deep-pit miner. He observed that the rich never seemed to have enough to show generosity to the poor. He concludedthat if one were to wait to become rich before sharing with those in need, one would never show benevolence. He assured us that even if he received no reward in person from his acts of benevolence,one day we – his children-would reap from where he had sown.
A’Tiwaah, my mother, the typical “Kwahu woman” she was, helped my father on the farm. She made money from selling thevegetables she had inter-planted on my father’s farm until she had enough to start petty-trading. She would travel to Kumasi, Accra, Akosombo to buy clothing and other merchandise for sale.
By the standards of our village, they were not doing badly, financially. Our house, together with that of my grandfather, was perhaps the most beautiful in the village. I still remember the painting – lemon-green with a black belt at the bottom.
Roofed with zinc, it was the favourite place for people to bring their pots and head-pans to collect rain-water during adownpour. My father was quick to assign his success to the graceof “the Great Saturday-Born Creator above” (OnyankoponTwereduampong Kwame).This same “Creator above” had given him another son, bornunder such an amazing circumstance. They watched with close alacrity to find out what this son, Kwabena Ntumy, was going to be.
As in most worldviews, natural or metaphysical occurrences happening immediately before, during or after a child’s birth seem to be indicative of who he is going to be. Fire, in African traditional religious worldview symbolizes power, authority and influence.
Coming with fire, the question was whether this boy was going to set his generation ablaze in a destructive manner, or whether he was going to use his influence in a positive manner.
Well, later events would prove who this child was going to be.
My father Kwaku Kumah(Alias Agya Aku) in his hey days
My Mother with one of my elder brothers on her lap (c. 1950)
Joseph Adade and Anthony Gyane who is my cousin but was raised by my father
GROWING UP – MY VILLAGE AND FAMILY
My earliest childhood reminiscences are of my little village of Dadease. “Odadea” is the Akan name for the baobab tree(“adansonia digitata”). By implication therefore, the name refers to“the town beneath the baobab tree.” My grandfather (paternal)settled there with his brothers from Dadease near Ejisu in the Ashanti Region by the courtesy of the Krachi-wura. They named it after their hometown. Later, they were joined by others from Mampong,Oyoko and Effiduase in the Ashanti Region. They had come toempower themselves with “juju” from “Krachi-Denteh,” the chiefgod of the Krachis to enable them withstand the hostilities of the British Colonial administration after the Yaa Asantewaa war. The settlement provided very good hunting grounds, and after a fewtrips to and from Asante, they finally settled. They only discovered later that the Germans who ruled that part of West Africa, formerly called the Trans-Volta Togoland, were judged to be even more brutal than the British. The young men were forced to carry the luggage of their colonial masters on their heads and backs. The postal system was equally undertaken with the villagers serving as relay couriers from one village to another until the items were delivered. Perhaps luck was on their side when the Germans were defeated during theSecond World War and during the re-partitioning of their colonies, Krachiland including Dadease fell in the lot of the British.
That was Dadease, stashed away in the mid-Volta basin of Ghana, my hometown; the place which was used by God to nurturemy life and provide my initial worldview.
Dadease was the ideal place to provide adventure for an adolescent. The immediate surroundings were tropical forest. Thevillagers were forbidden to farm in the precincts of the village or fell the trees. The forest belt stretched about two kilometres and provided very good grounds for hunting. There was a vast expanse of rich high savannah that stretched as far as “tomorrow evening”as my father used to describe it. Thus there was ample land fortimber and grain farming.
As a little boy, I enjoyed following my father to the farm. In those days, no kindergarten or nursery schools were available.
By the age of four or five, wetting myself in the early morning dew as we walked the bush-path to the farm, had become my passion.
Though there was very little I could do on the farm, I delighted in going with my father. First, the adventure of soaking myself with the dew on the grass, second, the possibility of our bush trap having caught an animal – a squirrel, grasscutter, deer or antelope – sustained my farm-going passion. I would help my father to dress the animal and surely receive a generous portion from him – the heart, lungs or kidneys. Even when there was no catch, I wouldask permission to attend to nature’s call in the nearby forest and use the time to hunt for snails or birds with my catapult.
Going to the farm became even more interesting during the yam-harvesting season. We would dig the new yam, carry tuberson our heads (at that age, I could only carry one tuber) and bring them home. When we got to the stream, we would wash the dirt off the tubers. The yellowish-brown skin of the new yam wouldshow in a mouth-watering manner. Once in the village, whoeversaw you carrying the new yam would shout aloud“Oloori, Oloori”(the local jargon for new yam). O yes! It felt very good.
Going to the farm however, had its dangers as well. In fact, at that age, I did not know, let alone think of any such dangers. There were all kinds of dangerous snakes and insects. God, however, spared me of all these. My father was bitten by snakes a couple of times, but he just treated himself with some local herbs. My turn came – but it was through an injury on the farm. My father pitched a cutlass (a hunter’s cutlass) on a yam mound near an area where he was weeding with a hoe. As I kept talking and walking besidehim, I decided to sit down and rest on a yam mound. Without turning to look at where I was going to sit, I sat right on the sharp, glistering edge of the cutlass!! It slit the cavity of my buttocks into two and only spared my anal opening by the skin of a tooth. My father said he gave up hope of my survival because of how profusely I was bleeding.
He rushed me home, prepared and carried me on foot to the Krachi Hospital, which was about 20 kilometres away!I do not remember for how long I remained at the hospital orhow we returned to Dadease. What I remember is that the injurydid not kill my interest in going to the farm. Other side attractions to going to the farm included the privilege of going for hunting with my father. Agya ‘Aku would carry his locally made musket to farm almost everyday. Whenever there was no fish or meat at home, hewould allow us to close early from the farm. He would ask the rest of the children to go home while he checked to see what the “Gracious Creator would give us” that day. He would however askme to accompany him. The only condition was that I would not askmany questions. Whenever he shot and killed an animal and he wasvery sure that it was dead, he would ask me to rush and “kill it” with my staff. This gave me the impression thatIkilled the animal. He would cut off the animal’s tail and give it to me, the hunter’s sign thathekilled the animal. By these things, my father said he was trainingme to be brave and courageous. In fact, he allowed me to fire a gun by the age of seven. He loaded the gun, held it securely in his hands and put my finger on the trigger and “boom” it went! When I expressed satisfaction about being able to fire a gun, my father said he was glad the warrior-spirit of his fathers had come upon me.
Dadease was also blessed by the proximity of water bodies. The Volta River (Asuo Firaw) was just a few hundred metres away.
I enjoyed canoe rides for fishing. My greatest joy was to see my father haul in the catch from a cast net. With my little “aporibaa” I would hit the heads of the bigger fish and ensure they did not jump back into the river – even if that meant lying over some of them.
Though my father warned that some of the fish had dangerous pricks that could hurt me, I felt losing them would be more terrible than being pricked. Then one day it happened. It was around the peak of the rainy season, which also coincided with the yam harvest.
That was the season for the bumper catch of the “bomo-kyikyiee” fish. I tried to grab a big one and to prevent it from jumping into the river. It had been chuckling “yegro, yeegro yeegro.”As I held onto it, it simply turned its head with speed and pricked me “cham.”
Its prick sank deep into my tender palm and got stuck into it. Immediately, its song changed to“yee ko, yee ko, yee ko”. It was hell for me. My father tried to remove the prick and when he succeeded, blood oozed out at a rate close to the velocity of a little boy’s urination. Later, my father explained that when the fish is whisked out of water, its chuckle“yegro, yeegro yeegro”literally means, “we are playing; do me no harm.’ When you handle it wrongly and it pricks you, it sings a war song “ we are fighting, yes, we are fighting.” That did not however, kill my interest in going a-fishing.
There were also many big streams near-by. To the left, towards Dobeso and Chantai was the gentle stream called “Afi—Aboma.” To the right, towards Krenkuase and Yaabeng was theswift-flowing “Otwapese,” both were rich in fish as they floweddirectly into the Volta. We would go fishing, using line hooks afterreturning from the farm. Often the young boys would gather together and sneak out, unnoticed by our parents, especially when the streams were in flood. Our parents thought our lives would be in danger, though we did not see things that way. We would use earthwormsas baits on the hooks. We knew how to identify where the wormswere to be found and how to dig the ground for them. We evenknew how to whistle in order to entice a worm to get out of its hole.
At the banks of the streams, we would position ourselves and cast our hooks into the water. Then we would watch, from thebroken piece of calabash tied to the line, which served as ourindicator, to see whose bait would attract the first fish. From the movement of the calabash-indicator, we could tell what fish was playing around a bait. As soon as the calabash-indicator dips into the water and there is a strong pull on the hand, it meant a fish had swallowed your hook and you would have to haul it up. My first catch was a tilapia. I can still feel the sensation in my hand just as I hauled out the fish. Oh – what a joy!!
At dusk, we would rush home, stringing our catch on a forest twine. On such occasions, we preferred cooking our own soup toeating what had been prepared by our mothers. My mother wouldhowever insist that I also eat the food she had cooked. In fact, for most of the time, she would ask me to eat with her. Being the last of her male children, she loved me very much.
Even when I was a college boy, anytime I returned home on vacation, she would insist on eating with me from her earthenware dish. My father hated the idea, saying that if I kept eating with my mother, I would not grow up into a real man. I would be effeminate in many things. My brothers envied me because my mother reserved big portions of meat or fish for me. My brother Anthony Gyanehowever, learnt to exploit the situation to his advantage. He befriended me and put forward asine qua nonfor our friendship, “You have to share with me any fish or meat you receive. Even if I am away from the house, you have to reserve mine.”
Home was very interesting and I dreaded the day I would haveto leave for school. Incidentally, this was not destined to take place in Dadease, for the village was soon to be obliterated.
FROM DADEASE TO OSRAMANI
A vehicle pulled up, gathering thick brown dust along in centripetal motion. Some nicely dressed people, wearing Texan—style hats jumped down and headed for the chief’s house. Wordquickly went round for the whole village to assemble.
The information was that the government had ordered a dam to be built across the Volta River at a place near Senchi. Theconstruction had been completed and very soon it was going tostart operating to generate electricity for the country. As soon as it starts operation, there will be a serious flooding of about 117 towns and villages along the river, including Dadease. The government had anticipated this and so had built resettlement towns for us. The meeting was called to inform us that very soon, we would have tobe evacuated to our new hometowns. We were told to get ourselvesready by certain dates, as trucks would be sent in to convey us.
It was terrible news. There was a cacophony of voices, as everybody wanted to ask a question. The message was simple andthe conclusions were clear: PACK YOUR PERSONALBELONGINGS, LEAVE EVERYTHING ELSE BEHIND;MOVE TO OSRAMANI OR STAY BEHIND AND GETDROWNED!!
That night, there was confusion and misery spelt on everybody’s face. The women wept, while the men spent the nightdrumming and dancing to the tune of “mpenpensiwaa.” Their greatest sorrow was the separation from the graves of their fathers, brothers and other loved ones with whom they had come from Asante. They drummed. They sang. They drank. They wept.
The days that followed passed with everybody’s head bowed.
They asked questions for which no one had an answer. It was like a kind of death – separation from everything they held dear in life; yes, to an unknown place, which was going to be their home. The days however quickly passed and the moment for departure came.
It was August 1964. Many trucks arrived and the evacuation began. First, the eldest sons and some of the younger women would go ahead to identify the places allocated to every family. The next groups would be the women and children, while the family heads would be the last to leave.
They invoked their gods (which they carried along) and the spirits of their dead relatives asking for their assistance in their relocation to an unknown destination. The journey began with the firing of muskets and the singing of “asafo” war songs. I do notremember how long it took to drive through endless stretches ofgrassland and empty villages. I slept intermittently and towardsevening, we arrived at OSRAMANI – fondly translated “the eye ofthe moon,” our new hometown. We had arrived!! Every arrivingvehicle had to report at the market square, where clerks headed by a Town Manager received us and directed us to our houses. We were grouped according to our original villages with the variouscommunities called after the names of our original villages.
As one enters the town from the east, there is first, Ofoase to the right and Motodua to the left. An untarred circular road goes around the town. To the left, there is Adjena, Dadease, Dentemanso, Kenyenemo, Worotor, Konkrongya, Dobeso, Chantai, Bator-line, Krenkuase, Yaabeng and then Motodua, in that order. Anagglomeration of thirteen villages – a big town by Ghanaian standards– has become our new hometown; a place to grow and be nurturedand to learn to take our place in the wider society of our nation and the world at large.
The buildings were simple structures – one bedroom with a big open verandah. That was all. In fact, it looked like a market stall.
Every family – big or small – had only one house. While the women and children crammed themselves into the room, the men and boysslept on the open verandah.
Everybody had been levelled to the same degree!! Smaller families, who originally lived in thatched houses considered the new homes, roofed with aluminium sheets a real blessing whereas those who had bigger, better houses considered the allocations unfair to them. How could they possibly live with their children on the verandah – and for how long? They wondered!!
(Later though, the government added two more rooms to each house).
There was, however, no problem with food supply. There were relief food supplies packed in everybody’s house – boxes ofbeans, bread, margarine, sardines, tuna, corned beef, salted fish, as well as bags of sugar, powdered milk, powdered egg, rice and yellow corn, cooking oil and much more!
Wow! That was fantastic. Anytime I think about these provisions that we met on our arrival, I think of what the Bible says about the Israelites – that the LORD would bring them to “…a land with large flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.” (Deut. 6:10, 11) But not everything was rosy. Whereas Mr. Ntoso, the TownManager, and his team tried to make life a little bearable for us, there were inexplicable occurrences, which were taking place in Osramani and the nearby resettlement towns like Ntewusa and
Ehiamankyene. The most frightening of these were terrible TORNADOES sweeping across the town EVERY TUESDAY andTHURSDAY. These winds would start at exactly three o’clock inthe afternoon on those days, ripping off houses and trapping people to death. By seven o’clock in the evening, the winds would abate.
After about four weeks, the new settlers had observed the winds’ destructive pattern. Consequently, every family erected sheds in the nearby bush surrounding the town.
By two o’clock on those days, we would desert the townand take refuge in our sheds and return home in the evening tocount ourselves lucky if our houses were still standing.
What made the phenomenon puzzling was the precise regularity of the coming of the winds – Tuesdays and Thursdays at three o’clock in the afternoon and stopping at seven o’clock in the evening and whereas buildings were being ripped off, makeshift sheds on the outskirts remained intact!! Most people tried to surmise what was happening. As in the case of the occurrence of most inexplicable phenomena, our people were quick to drawmetaphysical conclusions:
The gods of the land of Osramani were angry that so many people had intruded into their territory without being pacified.
The spirits of their own gods and those of their ancestors buried in their original villages were now migrating to join them at Osramani.
It was purely a power encounter between the spirits which previously controlled the area and those which were nowsettling in as the protectors and guardians of the settlers. Thewinds were simply the battle dust following this confrontation;after all “when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,”they concluded.
To us, what was needed most was for the winds to finally stop for us to make a new beginning. That did not happen until after about seven months. I can still recollect the anguish and frustrations on the faces of my parents – as well as on those of others – as they tried to settle at Osramani.
Meanwhile the Akosombo Dam, as it is officially called, was officially inaugurated. While it brought joy and economic boom to the nation, it brought untold sufferings to the people who sacrificed for its operation. Everything which portrayed their past was soon engulfed in the raging floods – everything was lost! Unfortunately, what was supposed to have been something calledCOMPENSATION never really got to the people. The facts wouldonly be known on that Great Day, before the KING OF KINGSand LORD OF LORDS when the secrets of men’s hearts wouldbe made bare.
To add insult to injury, those who bore the brunt of the construction of the Dam never seemed to have enjoyed the basicproduct it was meant to generate – ELECTRICITY. One oldman,after traveling to one of the cities and seeing how “AkosomboNKANEA” (Akosombo lights) had made those places attractive,lamented that Osramani and the other 117 villages had “cracked palm nuts the hard way only for others to chew the kernel.” Whereas the electricity generated from the Dam was being sold to neighbouring countries, it took about forty years before Osramani was connected to the national grid system to enjoy electricity from the Dam. To date, there are still some resettlement towns that do not have electricity supply!
To us younger ones, Osramani had many prospects for civilization and brighter future and we were prepared to make the most of it. My elder brothers, Kwadwo Dofuor, Akwasi Adade, and my cousins, Kwaku Gyane and Akwasi Ntumy, as well as, our onlysister in school, Akua Grace Ntosuor were particularly happy because they would not need to walk about six miles to and from school everyday, as was the situation at Dadease. My uncle (father’s brother), Mr. Edward Kwadwo Tweneboah Koduah Dofour was the Headteacher of the “Middle School” at Krenkuase. He was equallyhappy because he would be based at home without making weekendvisits to Dadease on foot. He was like the eye of the village, having graduated from Teachers’ Training College at Peki in 1947. I would have the privilege of starting school at Osramani and not need to weary my tender limbs walking that long distance everyday. I was glad and looked forward to that day when I would start schooling.
THE SHORT, ASTRIDE STEP THAT MADE ADIFFERENCE
It was September 1964, on the first day of that academic year, my mother supervised my bath and preparedampesi(boiled yam) for us – my older brothers and my sister Grace. She wrapped one of her pieces of cloth around my neck and asked my sisterGrace to take me to school while she hurried to the farm.
That was my first day of schooling. Since Local Authority Primary “B” was nearer, that was to be our school. Mr. C.B. Donkor, the Headteacher - a short broad-mustached man – in his white-drill shorts and white shirt came to welcome the new pupils. But first, we had to pass the test for qualifying to start schooling. The standard test was neither a written nor oral one. A prospective pupil had to extend his right hand over his head to touch the left ear. If his hand touched the ear, he had attained the age of five or six. Those whose right hand did not touch the left ear, were turned away to come the following year.
I passed the test and was escorted to Class One together with other successful candidates. I still remember my Class Oneteacher’s name. Miss Asembi was her name. She took particularinterest in me because I was among the first in the class to begin reading and answering her numerous questions. Primary “B” was however not destined to be my school for my Primary education. Aserious altercation between my uncle and a prominent man whosehouse was along our way to the school forced my uncle to insist on our leaving the school for Primary “A.”
Perhaps leaving for another school was another of the divine timings in my life. Later events were to prove this. The admission process for new pupils was quite simple. New pupils only had to identify the rolls of their prospective classes at the morning “Parade.”
At the school, I met a boy who shared the same surname as I.
Joseph Ntumy, my newfound friend had been promoted to class three. When I told him I was to be in class two, he explained to me what a wicked man the class two teacher was. He would lash, whip and even beat the pupils without mercy. Joseph told me of whatordeal they had gone through that academic year at the hands of the teacher and suggested that I skip the class two roll for that of class three.
Yes, that would be a good idea, but what would happen if I was caught skipping the class two roll. The bell sounded “kren,kren, kren…… Pa-ra-aaade!” My heart bumped. I joined the classtwo roll. We said the morning prayers, sang the National Anthemand listened to announcements. New pupils were told to report totheir teachers once they march into their classes. The tune to the“marching song” was announced. Joseph Ntumy beckoned me totake that one step – a short, smart skip to join the class three roll.
The decisive moment came. It was our turn to start marching into our classroom. Instead of taking a forward step, I took an astride step and quickly joined the class three roll that had started “marking time.” None of the teachers saw me. I stepped right in front of Joseph Ntumy and marched into the class three classroom.
I joined a few other students to present ourselves to the class teacher who wrote our names in the class register. One week later, it was announced that there were over sixty students in the class, instead of the prescribed forty-five. A “justify –your–admission” test was going to be conducted and only the first forty-five were going to be retained in the class. I was afraid. How could a former Class One pupil compete with those from Class Two? We took the examination and I placed fourth in the Class! From that day, I got convinced that I was a brilliant boy and should maintain that performance and excel in it.
Well, it was one short, smart astride step that worked out to be ONE whole year gained in my life. I acted on the impulse of afriend, but I realized that, that one year has made a real difference in my life – it changed the year I finished Elementary School andTeachers’ Training College. In that year, 1977, the Ministry ofEducation decided to staff schools in the Northern Region ofGhana with qualified teachers. Against my will, I was posted tothe North. It was there I got fully converted to Christ and joined The Church of Pentecost and eventually called to the Pastoral ministry with the other events that followed. How true is theword of God? “And we know that in all things God works forthe good of those who love him, who have been called accordingto his purpose” (Rom. 8:26). An action, which could be termedas naivety on my side as a young boy, happens to be used byGod to accomplish his purpose in my life.
Perhaps without it, the events of my life would have had a different routing altogether. God, the Master-Architect however,knows how to bring the things in our lives to pass at the appointed time.
Yes, when He wanted Saul as King over Israel, He caused his father’s ass to get lost in order that Saul might appear before Samuel for anointing.
Well, I do not refer to Scripture to justify an act of trickery in my childhood. Nonetheless, that astride step turned out to bea significant step in my life.
“YOUR CHRISTIAN NAME SHALLBE MICHAEL”
The start of school was also the start of church going. It was obligatory for every pupil to attend church service on Sunday morning, even though ours was a Public School. After every church service, the roll was called to check attendance according to our respective classes. Names of absentees were written. The following day, such people who did not have any “reasonableexcuses” were flogged or punished by being asked to weed aportion of the school compound. There were only two differentchurches to which pupils could attend – the Roman Catholicand the Evangelical Presbyterian Churches. I opted for the RomanCatholic Church.
Right from class one, we began learning the “Catechism” in preparation for baptism. On 18th October, 1965, Reverend FatherSmith came to Osramani from his Parish base of Kete-Krachi andbaptized many people, including me. I held my lighted candle with a solemn disposition. The Father drew near me and sprinkled the baptismal water on my head and gently laid his hand on my head.
He prayed for me and before saying the “Amen” he announced my new name saying, “Your Christian name shall be MICHAEL.”“Michael?” I wondered in excitement. We had learnt in oneof our lessons that “Michael” was the Chief angel in heaven and the one who led the holy angels to defeat Satan and his angels. Why the Father chose to give me that “big” name was what baffled my young mind. I, however, resolved that I would serve God and stay close to His Throne just like the angel Michael and that whenever there was the need to fight Satan, God would give me the ability to defeat him.
That morning, when I returned from church, I told my parents and my siblings my new name. Though they continued calling me“Kwabena,” anytime my parents were in good moods, they wouldcall me by the name Michael. Being illiterate, my father pronounced the name “Machel” while my mother sounded like “Maket.”
Whenever I performed an extraordinary feat however, the people of my neighbourhood would call me “Ole-Koi,” my most popularalias. It was explained to me that Ole-Koi was a very prominentAccra man who came to Dadease village when I was a little child.
This man took great interest in me and said I was going to be a great person in future so I should be called after him. He insisted that anytime I did something great, his name should be invoked to remind me about him and to be encouraged to be like him. Nobody could however tell me exactly who he was, neither have I ever seen him but to date, older people in Dadease still call me Ole Koi.
Well, I had become Michael Kwabena Ntumy, with manypredictions of greatness and keen observations of who I wouldbecome. I had been baptized into the Christian faith, but the battle for my spiritual sonship had just begun – a child of God or of the gods!
“WHOSE SON ARE YOU,
Young David, through God’s enabling, had accomplished a great feat for Israel. He had just killed Goliath and brought anastounding victory to Israel. Abner, the commander of the Israelite army escorted the young hero before King Saul while the lad still held the Philistine’s head. The king was full of admiration for the bravery and extraordinary accomplishment of David. Though the young lad had been in Saul’s service for some time (1 Sam. 16:14—23) and the king “liked him very much”(vrs. 21), the spectacularfeat seemed to have blinded the king’s eyes from recognizing David.
The king asked the famous question, “Whose son are you, youngman?” (1 Sam 17:58).
Like King Saul, people enquire about the identity of others after the latter have displayed some peculiar traits – either positive or negative. It is often assumed that fame and notoriety have family connections; people from famous families should become famous by accomplishing outstanding feats while nothing good should beexpected from those from notorious homes. Every action is therefore traced to one’s family background for a confirmation or otherwise.
For a little boy like me, however, such a question seemed completely out of place. I was walking through the town to playfootball with some friends one Sunday evening. An elderly man seated on the verandah of his house called me. I bowed low before himwith my right hand touching the ground and greeted him. He returned my greeting and quickly asked me, “Whose son are you, youngman?”
“Agya ’Aku from Dadease, please,” I replied.
“O yes, I see. I now understand,” he said.
When I requested to know what he implied by that, the man said I was a very powerful “man” with much spiritual powerfollowing me. When I returned home that evening and told myfather what the man had told me, he bragged about how much spiritual power he had given me.
He told me that being the last-born son, he wanted to hand over all his “juju” powers to me. To this end, he had begun theprocess of empowering me to take over from him in his old age.
Agya ’Aku was widely acclaimed to be one of the most spiritually powerful men in the whole of the Krachi District. He had one room full of juju and it was believed there was practically nothing he could not do through juju powers. In addition, he had three personal gods. What made him most revered however was the factthat he was the chief spiritualist for theYentumishrine in the town.
Tysiące ebooków i audiobooków
Ich liczba ciągle rośnie, a Ty masz gwarancję niezmiennej ceny.
Napisali o nas:
Nowy sposób na e-księgarnię
Czytelnicy nie wierzą
Legimi idzie na całość
Projekt Legimi wielkim wydarzeniem
Spotify for ebooks