Nana Baffoe's 2014 AyerYe Festival Speech
This is a day that God has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. I greet Nana Brebo and Nana Montoa and Head of Family Idum. I greet the chiefs and elders of Kuntu. I greet the visiting chiefs. My greetings to all of my Kuntu friends and Kuntu family.
I do not come to Kuntu as a guest. Like many here today, I have returned to my home village. Kuntu is my village.
I first came to Kuntu 13 years ago. My wife and I met Nana Brebo in Saltpond the year before and he invited us to return for a durbar in Kuntu. There was drumming and dancing. Then they sprinkled my head with white powder. I was alarmed because I did not know Ghana customs. Maybe they were going to cook me and eat me. I was more fat then. What I did not know is that Nana Brebo and Nana Montoa, with my friend Ato Aikens, and the Kuntu chiefs and elders were asking me to be a Kuntu sub-chief. They wanted me to be nkosohene, or development chief, of Kuntu. They wanted me to help Kuntu.
I returned to Kuntu in 2002 with my 2 daughters and a granddaughter to be enstooled as Kuntu nkosohene with the stool name, Nana Kwame Baffoe II. I learned that the late Kwame Baffoe had been a respected Kuntu elder and that I looked like him. The enstoolment was a beautiful 5-day program. Nana Brebo always has a beautiful program. He told me about the history of Kuntu and instructed me on how to dance. Everyone in Kuntu was friendly to me.
I thought, how can I help Kuntu? Nana Brebo was proud of education in Kuntu. He had added classrooms to the Kuntu primary school block. When I was enstooled in 2002, the Kuntu JHS (Junior High School) was also opened. When the first class graduated Kuntu JHS in 2005, I learned that many parents could not pay the SHS (Senior High School)( Note SHS’s are boarding schools and not local) school fees. Just as Nana Brebo helped the primary school and Kuntu JHS, I would help Kuntu students in SHS. Because we are not wealthy, I am a pensioner, my family came together to form the Kuntu Village Nkosohen Committee-USA. We would ask friends, churches, clubs and organizations to sponsor Kuntu youth to attend SHS. Since 2005, 49 students have attended SHS as Kuntu Nkosohen scholars with their school fees paid by the committee or by sponsors. There are 20 Nkosohen scholars now in SHS as Kuntu Nkosohen scholars. 10 of the scholars that completed SHS are now continuing their education in teacher training schools, university distance learning and polytech schools. We want to help more students continue their education but we need more sponsors. We are very proud of all of the Kuntu Nkosohen scholars.
As nkosohene I pledged to help Kuntu. In addition to the scholars, we have donated school supplies and computers. We bought poly tanks for safe drinking water. We helped with the new palace. We also helped a young boy get surgery for a badly deformed lip.
How much does Kuntu pay their nkosohene? When I am in Kuntu, parents bring me fresh fish, plaintan, pineapples, bananas, live chickens and more. They made a very beautiful suit for me and a parent made me a nice shirt. How much is all of this worth?
I am an African American because slaves came from different countries in Africa but were not identified by country or tribe. We know that Ghana was a major slave country. Kuntu adopted me and gave me their Kuntu ancestors. I can now proud of my Ghana African heritage. What is the value of ancestors?
It has been my pleasure to be Kuntu nkosohene. Kuntu rewarded me with love. Love is worth more than all of the cedis (Ghana currency) in Ghana. I thank all of you, including many friends and family outside of Kuntu. I thank you for your fish, plaintan, pineapples, bananas, live chickens, suits, shirts, ancestors and most of all, for your love.