We Were Once Friends by Henry Brefo

Asante Nkramo,Asante Nkramo.When I first heard the words, they rapidly sizzled and disintegrated in the ether like unintelligible jargon. It was   only after a few rings in my ear that it developed into a concept, and then later came to indicate a term, an appellation of a social group. Currently in my adulthood the phrase, whenever expressed, evokes a designated socio-cultural group whose habits, mannerism and bearing straddles across two distinctive cultures.
On a research trip to Ghana, whilst boarding a trotro one of the passengers painstakingly argued with his fellow interlocutor that the Ashanti Nkramo was different in temperament and bearing than the so called original Nkramofo (Muslim), often assumed to be from the northern part of the country. Apparently, the Asante Nkramo are not as devout as their northern brothers; they pick and choose which aspects of Islam marry well with their Ashanti traditions. He strongly protested that some even drink alcohol, pour libation to the ancestors and do not observe Jummah, except for during Ramadan. Here also there was an exception, that their commitment to Ramadan lies in the hereafter and of course the jubilant atmosphere of communal exchanges of kindness and generosity. His opponent seated in front of me, dismissed the argument as complete humbug. In his view, all Muslims were the same, and even the Ashanti becomes corrupt under the influence of religion. He stressed that the African is ruined by either the white man’s or brown man’s religion, which has rendered him a ‘bustard to reason’ by entrusting his care and wellbeing to a divine (non) existence instead of his labour and intellect.
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