The ambivalence of a principled zongorian

Wed, 14 Aug 2013 Source: Yahaya, Tanko Ali

In my last article captioned, Zongo:the eleventh region?,I stated that I regard myself more of a Zongorian than a Northerner. And I still stand by that.

Out of narcissism and intransigence, some Northern brothers took me to the cleaners; calling for my crucifixion with a bald allegation that I write to impress the South.

In any case, I didn't hide the fact that Manga in Bawku is my ancestral root.

What ever it is, it's within my right to have a strong feeling for Zongo, my birth place, than the North, my ancestral root. No Zongorian has ever taunt me as 'Kanmonga' for my deficient in Northern indigenous orientation.

If an AKan native may tag me as 'Pepeni' or 'Taanni', and an indigenous Northerner will scorn me as 'Kanmonga', then where do I stand as a Zongorian? Zongo is not an aboriginal Community, but take it or leave, It has come to stay. If the Zongo was to be contiguous, It would really have been the eleventh region of Ghana.

If I am taunted as 'Pepeni' or 'Taanni' by an indigenous Southerner and ridiculed on the other hand by an indigenous Northerner, as "Kanmonga", then I deserve to seek refuge in the middle as non-align as a Zongorian.

I respect every Ghanaian, regardless of his or her social background. I don't feel inferior nor superior to to any mortal under the sun. Surely, your life time deeds echoes in eternity. After all, I aspire to be a person at home in the world of humanity. It's just that I have succeeded in disabusing my mind from our stereotypical "hog wash" of tribal arrogance and imaginary enemy syndrome.

Ghana is one nation with a variety of ethnic groupings, and like wise Zongo, a Community with people from diverse background and ethnic groupings. There are Zongorians whose original tribe is Ga, Ewe, Akan etc.

What has my Zongo pride got to do with this absurdity of the North/South divide? My friend, Otuo Serebuo, an Asante who was born and bred in Ayigya Zongo once confessed to me that he feels more of a Zongorian and for that matter, he is ever ready to fight along side the Zongo in defence of our dignity and safety if the need arises.

My sense of "Zongoliness" is based on principle not mischief. As a Ghanaian without a "regional identity" nor an indigenous traditional upbringing, I deserve to be tolerated and understood for my Zongorian ambivalence, wether I adopt the region that accommodates my Zongo Community or decline to do so. The Kumasi Zongo existed before the British conquered Ashanti and made Kumasi it's capital. Hausa and Mossi caravans who battered cattle, kola nut, and cloth for gold dust and salt from the south settled at Mbrom near Ash-town In the early part of the 19th century, The British recruited Soldiers from Nigeria, recruits from Northern territories, and civilians gathered from the then Kumasi Zongo to assist them to fight the Ashanti Kingdom. These heterogeneous army of men were grouped on the basis of ethnic affiliation and were christened, the Northern Constabulary which eventually became the West African Frontier Force(WAFF). They formed a significant segment of the early Zongo Population in Kumasi. labor force from the Northern territories who worked on cocoa plantations, railway construction and the City Council also contributed to the development of Kumasi Zongo. These successive waves of Northern migration contributed to the expansion of the Kumasi Zongo. After the war, the British resettled the Zongarians frrom Mbrom to Yalwa-Zongo which became the cradle of the Kumasi zongo, spreading to Sabon-Zongo, Asawasi, Aboabo, Sawaba etc.

In due course, we will delve into the socio/political dynamics of the Kumasi Zongo in terms of chieftaincy, ethnicity, political ideology and religion. Man's nature is like a mirror covered with a dust, wipe away the dust of neglect and ignorance, and the true nature of the man appears as bright as ever.

Tanko Ali Yahaya,

Independent Minded Zongorians. skiliwonda@gmail.com

Columnist: Yahaya, Tanko Ali