Help Save the Fort Prinzenstein at Keta

Posted by By at 3 February, at 03 : 30 AM Print

Help Save the Fort Prinzenstein at Keta

Help Save the Fort Prinzenstein at Keta

Femi Akomolafe in front of the Fort Prinzenstein

Femi Akomolafe in front of the Fort Prinzenstein

Our elders say that the tree that forgets its root will wither and die. It is a pithy warning to us to take good care of our inheritance. Very sadly it is an admonition we refuse to heed.

The great scholar, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, warned us that though history is not everything, it nevertheless serve as a compass to guide us through life. The great man’s wise words fell on our deaf ears.

The great things a people remember of their history is what inspired them to do better. The Chinese wisely remembered that they were, once, a great people. They drew inspiration from that knowledge so much so today that their country is poised become the most important nation in the world soon.

In his classic, ‘The African Origin of Civilization, Myth or Reality?’ the great Egyptologist multi-disciplinarian, Cheikh Anta Diop told us to remember where we came from if we intend to make progress. He wrote: “Ancient Egypt was a Negro Civilization. The history of Black Africa will remain suspended in air and cannot be written correctly until African historians dare to connect it with the history of Egypt.”

The great man’s words were wasted on us. We do not even care about what happened just yesterday, much less in Ancient Egypt two thousand years ago.

I was told that the teaching of history has been taken off our school curriculum, if so, I daresay we are lost.

We have use this column to lament our apparent inability to take care of our cultural and historic patrimony.  We do this to awaken us to the importance of looking at ourselves as custodians of what is bequeathed to us, look after them and take proper care so that we can pass them on to the next generation.

It pains greatly to see that, as a people, we are certainly the most negligent when it comes to seeing that what is bequeathed to us by our ancestors are well taken care of.

We even take for granted what nature generously endowed us with. It is as though we simply do not care for anything that has no connection with Now or Today!

I have visited several places of historical interest in this blessed republic of ours, and I can only relate my utter sense of shame at how unconcerned we are, generally, to consider our history as something of importance.

We spent loads of money in merriment at festivals without thinking of documenting them for posterity.

And the ones we inherited from nature and our parents we left to ruins.

Our visit to the Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra led to the piece Nkrumah’s car.” Our visit to the wonderful Bosomtwe Lake led to our penning Lake Bosomtwe: a neglected goldmine.”

In the article on Nkrumah’s car we lamented that it is a national tragedy and shame that treasured historical pieces like the official car of the first president of Ghana, was left to rot at the mausoleum.

We gave some advice on what could be done to preserve it.

Luckily, our officials woke up from their slumber and did something. The car is now well-preserved in a good garage.

Our piece on Bosomtwe bewailed our inability to use what nature generously bestowed on us freely to lift ourselves from poverty.

Bosomtwe is the largest lake in West Africa and, very sadly, it remains in terrible state and it is said to be fast shrinking.  In the article, we opined that with good management, the Lake can very easily support the economy of the Ashanti Region.

There is a university of technology at the Ashanti region capital of Kumasi. Nkrumah established it to support to support the country’s technological advancement. We need to ask why all our book people located at the university has never deemed it fit and proper to take a look at the Lake and come up with ideas to utilize it commercially for the benefit of our people.

In the last week of January this year, I visited the historical city of Keta and was overwhelmed by the devastation the sea has wrought on the ancient town. Luckily the government has started a Sea Defence project which, hopefully, will stem the tide.

Keta is the capital of the 36 Anlo towns and boast an impressive lagoon among other landmarks. But very sadly, it is a city that has seen better days!

A visit to the city’s Fort Prinzenstein made me vibrate with ire. I am an African patriot who will never buy into the theory that we Africans are a cursed people, but there must be something terribly wrong when, as a people, we have such very scant regard for history and historical things.

Fort Prinzenstein, constructed in 1784, is among the four major structures the Danes built in what is today Ghana.

The Fort played major roles in Anlo’s history and also in the Atlantic Slavery that resulted in millions of Africans captured in wars, bought, sold and transported to horrible fate in the horrendous Great African Holocaust.

It is sad to see such historic edifice, that oozes with historical significance and which must have been magnificent in its time, reduced to horrible ruins by angry ocean waves, while officials look on unconcerned.

Why is the Ministry of Tourism not doing something, anything to rescue the Fort? Why are all the great citizens of Anloga not mobilizing to save this historic relic? Would it tax us greatly to set up special funds to maintain our historical sites? Would it be too much for us to begin a salvage operation on the Fort and perhaps ask the Danes to chip in?

It would be a tragedy of epic proportion were this historical edifice be allowed to crumble while we look on unconcerned.

Fort Prinzenstein, Keta

Fort Prinzenstein, Keta

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About the Author  

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and ModernGhana, and Correspondent for the New African magazine, Femi lives in both Europe and Africa and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the Man and Machine Coordinator at Alaye Dot Biz Limited, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organization that specializes in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

  1. Freedom Bookshop, near Apollo Theatre, Accra.
  2. WEB Dubois Pan-African Centre, Accra
  3. Ghana Writers Association office, PAWA House, Roman Ridge, Accra.
  4. Afia Beach Hotel, Accra

Where to buy them online:

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18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories

Ghana: Basic Facts + More:

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Africa: it shall be well

on Kindle books:

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Africa: Destroyed by the gods

on Kindle books:


18 African Fables & Short Stories:


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A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: It shall be well’ can be downloaded here:

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