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The role of Saltpond in Ghana’s fight for independence and more

The significance of beautiful and historic town of Saltpond can never be erased from the history books of Ghana. The Coastal town has since time been very important to the history of Ghana.

Modern day Saltpond

Saltpond had the first tarred road in Ghana and happens to house the first UGCC headquarters, the first political party in Ghana. UGCC went on to give birth to CPP, the political party which led Ghana to her independence.

The Big Six and other members of the UGCC

The mortal remains of renowned mathematician, Professor Francis Kofi Allotey is laid to rest in a tomb in Saltpond.

The grounds on which Ghana’s first president stood to declare the fight for independence now is in Saltpond. After the formation of the CPP, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah stood at the Hammond Hall to declare the fight for independence now.

The Hammond Hall

Being a coastal town, many of the residents were predominantly fishermen and fish mongers.

“Historically, Saltpond is an Nkusukum sub-Fante ethnic group. They includes towns such as, Kuntu, Anokyir Biriwa, Akatakyiwa, Mpesedadze, Yamoransa and others. Yamoransa is the capital town of the Nkusukum people.

Saltpond’s Fante name is Akyenfo. On their signboard it is now mistakenly spelt “Akyemfo.” There is truth in both spellings and why using both shouldn’t be a problem. The original Akyenfo (Saltpond) town developed from Nkusukum settlement known as Anakyir and the dead town called Amoku.

The early European records identify Anokyir or Anakyir as Anashen. In the 1700, the European activity there saw massive movement of Gold Coasters to the area. One of the major ethnic group to enter Anakyir leading to it’s expansion were, surprisingly, Akyem people mostly from the Kotoku and Abuakwa areas who came to transact business.

The great Pan Africanist, Chief Kofi Sam, who used his money and cash to repatriate some African Americans to Gold Coast in line with Marcus Garvey’s request, is an Akyem indigene, but prefers to be called a Fante from Saltpond. Thus the overwhelming presence of Akyem people in the area made some historians to conjecture that the original name of Saltpond was Akyemfo, meaning Akyem people in Fante language. But, the name itself is Akyenfo. The chiefs of Saltpond have used Akyen and Baah names.

In Fante language, Akyen means “town”, “cottage” or “hamlet.” It is believed that the cottages that developed out of the area came together to form Akyenfo. This could be true in the face of various independent cottages which make up Saltpond. It is also averred that there was salt (nkyen) pond there where salt was mined. Thus the name Akyenfo, came from nkyenfo, people who mined salt. This was also one of the reasons why the Denkyira and Akyems moved to live among the Fantes there.

In Saltpond, there is Upper Town area called Ekwaadaa division, and the Lower Town division, Nankesidu.

Inside there in that town is the great Political Mecca of Ghana, a suburb called Prabiw, where Professor Paul Archibald Vianey Ansah hailed from, and through his writings made it popular in his Ghanaian Chronicle column. Two political parties, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) and Convention People’s Party (CPP) were all founded in Saltpond.

People from this town are fearless and in the past, they have no regard for the Police. The colonial government’s attempts to build Police Station there suffered major setbacks. They continued to resist the building of Police Station by breaking it down several times. As a result they proudly boast, “me fi Akyenfo, ye nsuro polis” (l am from Saltpond, we don’t fear police). If you tell a man from Saltpond like Professor Ato Quayson that you will call police to effect his arrest or to be invited to the Police Station, he will laugh, because he doesn’t fear police.

Saltpond like all other Fante towns also have their national(town) anthem. It goes like:

” Akyenfo brefi Akyenfo,

Wo da mpoano so wonko po

No ntsetsew nkube nko Kormantse

Nkegye nkamfoa mbedzi.”

Credit : Kweku Darko Ankrah and Fredrick Kofi Deladem Dro (Talking GH)

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