Agya eei m’adi abenee
Ena eei m’adi mai ee
Ankwansu mankukuru dade anko
Owoso adoto Nana m’adi amia
Ene dee biribi aye me ooo
Ameyaw ee, Ameyaw ee
Ameyaw ee, Ameyaw kan.
Ladies and gentlemen, above is one of the Techiman Appor festival songs meaning that “Fatther, I’m in dire straights, mother I’m in dire straights; Ankwansu the mighty one I’m in dire straights. Grandchild of the powerful one, something unimaginable has happened to me today.
This is one of the songs sang as a remembrance for the bravely of some of the leaders or any misfortune that might have befell the town during the festival which is described by many as the most democratic in the whole wide world due to its uniqueness and peculiarity. It offers an opportunity to the subjects of the Ameyaw Stool of the Bono-Techiman to look in the face of the king and voice out his shortcomings, any concerns or ills associated with his administration in the previous year without any retribution from the palace. Similarly, it offers an opportunity for the king and his retinue of elders to take a retrospective look into their administration and make the necessary amends and reforms.
The Techiman Appor festival started in the 1770s during the reign of Nana Kwaakye Ameyaw l who according to legend, alienated his subjects due to his alleged brutalities in dealing with them. This culminated in his isolation which eventually led to his capture by the Asantes in the 1722-23 Bono-Techiman – Asante war. Even though Nana Kwaakye Ameyaw was alleged to be a tyrant by his people, he was still admired by them for his bravely and his eventual suicide at the outskirts of current Techiman town, hence the song quoted above whereby the people are calling on him to rescue them.
History has it that Nana Kwaakye Ameyaw mysteriously sunk underground, leaving one of his forefingers above ground at a location in Techiman called Amanfoomu and the place where he is supposed to have sunk in the Amanfoomu dubbed “Ohene Ameyaw Anim” where rituals are performed annually in April for the commencement of the Apoor festival which lasts for a week. This year’s celebration starts on Friday April 20th, climaxing on Friday the 27th (Apoor Fiada) when all the subchiefs from villages like Tuobodom through Techiman Tanoso, Tanoboase, Nwoase, Krobo, Aworowa, Fiaso, Nkwaeso, will throng to Techiman to pay homage to the Omanhene and also partake in the festival through the principal streets of the town. Also participating in the festival from time immemorial through recent days on their own volitions are some Fantes from Mankesim, Anomabu, Ekumfi (Akumfi), and Elmina who settled in the coastal areas from Bono-Techiman.
Even though the festival is meant to warn the traditional leadership to refrain from acts which are deemed counterproductive or bring the chieftancy administration into disrepute, it also has individual connotations whereby it is used as a vehicle to remind friends, family members or visitors to change their bad ways. These are done in some of the Apoor songs like the one illustrated below:
Emmere yi adane Kwadwo ee
Kwadwo Fodwoo ee emmere yi adane
Mento mma wo nni na menya ka a w’asere me
Mere yi adane Kwadwo ee, Kwadwo Fodwoo ee mere yi adane.
This is a warning to a freeloader friend who always wants to depend on others and the translation is that Times have changed, Kwadwo Fodwo; may I always buy for you to eat so that you make a mockery of me when I run into debt?
It’s interesting to note that owing to its democratic nature which allows each and soundly to voice out and say it as it is, most Techiman citizens and non-citizens from in and out of the country strive as much as possible to participate in the festival every year. In recent days, family members capitalize on the opportunity to trash any disputes among them while the traditional council also uses it as an avenue to launch developmental projects for the area. In fact, the festival is full of fun and a sight to behold and therefore I urge anyone interested to endeavor to witness it at least once in their life time
Chris Gyamfi Boateng aka Koo Boateng, Philadelphia, USA.