Kingsley Holgate shares a bush-note from Ghana:
Ghana has the same warm-hearted nature of Malawi – just more vibrant. And for us, the amiable Ghanian people we meet make this West African journey so worthwhile. One such character is Amos Kwami, a jolly, open-faced 60-year old fisherman from the coastal village of Butre who uses delightfully creative English and travels with us to Cape Three Points.
“Africa – Ghana – too much corrupt! Big men in big cars, too many girlfriends, big houses, our money taken overseas,” he declares. “Meanwhile, man in village, no tyre for bicycle, food too expensive…no jobs. So we vote for change,” he says, referring to the Dec 2016 elections. “It’s our right and the new President will be forced to live up to his promises. After all, Ghana is honeymilk and sugar land, full of gold, minerals and oil – enough for all to enjoy.”
Amos is a bit of a traveller like ourselves, and tells how he ‘went on a journey’ after finishing school because his parents were to poor to afford university, working his passage on ships to Las Palmas, Senegal and eventually Rotterdam, saving enough money to fulfill his dream of owning a traditional wooden longboat with crew and a 40HP Yamaha outboard. But that venture failed. “The tuna – they don’t come like before – those Chinese trawlers are stealing our fish,” he says sadly. “So now I fish alone in a one-man dugout canoe. Maybe one day, I can get enough money to buy another outboard.”
And then Amos roars with laughter as we pass an unsteady, near-naked drunk weaving down a sandy track from a forest gin-still. “That’s Akapetchi,’ he says, “Distilled from Palm-oil tree: 3 small glasses and you’re finished; drink a bottle and you sleep for days; more – and you’re dead – they call it Kill Me Quick!”
I ask about security out here in this remote area. “Steal or trouble-cause and we give good hiding – even finish you off.” And so we pothole it through coconut, palm oil and rubber plantations, dusty, red mud hut villages with fields of maize, cassava, yams, bananas, plantains, pineapples, papaya and groundnuts.
Low-ratio – and the Land Rover Disco bounces onto a rocky promontory: “Look – Captreepoint!” shouts Amos with pride. The crumbling remains of the first lighthouse built by the Dutch in 1875 on Ghana’s most southerly point stand in the shadows of the new one built in 1925 by the Brits.
We meet George, the equably amiable lighthouse keeper whose grin of white teeth dazzles from a head as round, black and shiny as a canon ball. Up the twisting, red, newly-painted, nearly 100-year old wooden steps we go to the top, to gaze east and west along a coast dotted with 29 forts and castles made infamous for their trade in slaves and gold.
At the base of the lighthouse, George modestly points out a simple, hand-etched cement slab that shows Cape Three Points place on the African continent and these words: ‘God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong’.
Following the old slave routes, we turn the Land Rover north: direction – Kumasi, the bustling, capital city of the Ashanti empire and the inland terminus for most of the 18th century slave trade. So much to Explore – Will keep you posted.
Source Kingsley Holgate Foundation Facebook page
Images: Kingsely Holgate Foundation