THE ROLE OF KING TACKIE TAWIAH I
To pull to pieces is, after all, the work of a child…our chief duty as Citizens is to build up our country, mould our nation, and help to effect the uprising of our race…In all circumstances of life – “Be wilde, Be bolde, and everywhere Be Bolde.”
We come now to the high point of this series of lectures; the role of King Tackie Tawiah I in the modern history of Accra and the importance of his reign in the development of Ghana into a nation-state. Coinciding with the formal colonisation of the Gold Coast in 1874, King Tackie Tawiah’s reign usshered in a period of systematic institutionalisation of European concepts and systems in the motherland. Johannes Zimmermann’s translation of the Bible into the Gá language in 1865 and the earlier works of various missionaries, African and European, had already created the basis for the introduction of mass Christianity. The transfer of the capital to Accra in 1877 gave the Gá-Dangme a central role in the spread of colonial European ideas across the Gold Coast and beyond.
From the traditional perspective the emergence of King Tackie Kome I and victory at Katamanso had created a new militarism and surge of confidence, leading to various military campaigns in the Volta area. The reception of European ideas was therefore received by a Gá-Dangme at the height of its military prowess and ready to spearhead the propagation of such ideas. In many ways, the new era in Gá-Dangme affairs commenced with the divine ordination of Tackie Kome I; it continued steadily through the reigns of Nii Ofori Gakpo (Kpakpo) (1856-1859) and Nii Yaotey (1859-1862). In the person of King Tackie Tawiah they found yet another bold and fearless leader to lead the building of the new nation.
Tackie Tawiah’s fourty-year reign provided the basis for Gá-Dangme entry into the modern era. Widely recognised by both Europeans and Africans as King of the Accras, Ga Manche Tackie Tawiah was a fearless military general and wise leader. Like Caesar, Tackie Tawiah returned to Accra at the head of many a victorious military expedition. His reputation for bravery, invincibility and sagacity grew as he advanced in years, increasing the stature of the Gá-Dangme.
Born to the Ga royal family of Teiko Tsuru We at Kinka, Tackie Tawiah (originally known as Nii Quarshie Tawiah) succeeded to the stool in 1862, shortly before colonisation of the Gold Coast. He was descended in a direct line from Ayi Kushi, the first Gá king in recorded history. Tackie Tawiah lived and reigned for some time under the Dutch flag. King Tackie Tawiah’s charisma, bravery and authority derived in no small way from psychosocial factors in Gá-Dangme society which ascribed to him the combined mystical force of the Gá royal households as well as the added spiritual authority of the Sakumo oracle. To the Gá-Dangme still enthralled by the extraordinary military exploits of Nii Tackie Kome I, the hallowed name and prestige of the deceased leader attached to his grandson. King Tackie Tawiah succeeded to his predecessors’ role as senior military leader of all the Gá, Dangme and Akan states of South-eastern Ghana.