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237 Chapter 10 Akan Asafo Company: A Practical Model for Achieving True African Liberation and Sustainable Development George Anderson Jnr. Introduction “Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African Continent” (Nkrumah, 1963: 136; See: Webster, Boahen, & Tidy, 1967:383). This extract from Kwame Nkrumah’s independence speech suggests that Africa is in ‘bondage,’ hence, the need for a total liberation and development. Nkrumah’s observation largely stands to be valid. This is because recent events in many African countries suggest that Africa needs total liberation from the whims and caprices of external powers. There seems to be more influence and control that is Western on the various quarters of Africa than Africa being confident to take its own initiatives for political, cultural, and socio-economic development. In this regard, the call for the need for Africa to employ pragmatic measures that are typically African to liberate itself and to uphold its cultural heritage is more urgent now than ever. On liberation and sustainable development in indigenous Akan societies, Akan history indicates that the roles of the Akan Asafo Company played important roles. The Akan Asafo Company as a well-structured unified force served as the backbone of the Akan State. Primarily, it functioned as a military, political, and social force to enhance liberation and development (Sam, 2014:22; Acquah, Amuah, and Annan, 2014:50-60). This chapter adopts the Akan Asafo Company as a practical model for a true African liberation and sustainable development. In doing so, this chapter examines the roles the Asafo Company played in the Akan societies that were geared towards liberation and 238 sustainable development. From their roles, this chapter deduces lessons, which if applied to Africa, can result in true African liberation and sustainable development. The research designs used are the historical and descriptive. Wiersma (1986) notes that historical research is the type of research design that deals with critical inquiry into past events. This inquiry, Wiersma (1986) further observes, helps to produce an accurate description and interpretation of those events. Although historical research as Wiersma posits will centre on critical inquiry into past event, the definition seems to lack an important element, that is, the present dimension of events. Kothari (2004) explains descriptive research to mean a design that describes the state of affairs of a phenomenon (p. 2). One may understand Kothari to imply that descriptive research design allows a researcher to observe a particular phenomenon and define the parameters surrounding such phenomenon. This chapter adopts the two research designs because the topic under discussion requires a historical and descriptive analysis of past and present events. This chapter relies on secondary sources of data. However, in order to achieve the set objective, this chapter is structured into three sections. The first conceptualises the terms liberation, and African liberation. Following is an overview of the Akan people of Ghana and a detailed description of the Akan Asafo Company. The third section of this chapter deduces lessons from the roles of the Akan Asafo Company which if applied. The lessons will inform how a true African liberation and sustainable development can be achieved in this milieu. Conceptualising African Liberation Some Euro-Americans have designated Africa variously. Africa, for instance is described as a ‘Dark Continent’, ‘savage’, ‘barbaric’, and ‘heathen’ (Awolalu, 1976:3). Aside such descriptions, Africa is perceived to have no rational capabilities of philosophical thought about entities. In this regard, we turn to Smith (1961) who reminds us of what Ludwig says of Africans. According to Smith (1961) Ludwig maintains, “How can the untutored African conceive of God? ... How can this be? [...] Deity is a philosophical concept which savages are 239 incapable of framing” (Smith, 1961:1).One can infer from Ludwig’s quote that Africans are irrational, and are incapable of knowing anything, which is not the case. Nonetheless, there is reason to maintain that such descriptions and mentalities the Western world has conceived about Africa inform Africa about the need to examine its status quo critically. In today’s world, one reads from the dailies, web and observes the different (economic, political, religious, social, and cultural) difficulties and events Africa is going through. Kah (2012) enumerates and provides explanations to some of the difficulties encumbering Africa at present respectively. He observes that the image of Africa in the present global economy and society is one of a continent at odds with itself. For him, within the African continent are armed conflicts such as those in...


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