Xexe, it has been a while since I heard one of those good old Ananse stories. For those of you who do not know what Kwaku Ananse stories are; they are stories that told of how the spider (Kwaku Ananse) often tried to used wit, mischief, trickery, treachery and other attributes to get its preys into its web, but usually ended up falling into its own trap. The plot in those stories were usually primitive but brilliant, thought-provoking and captivating. This true story I am about to tell, yields itself to a typical Kwaku Ananse story. I trust that the younger BAT (born after technology) generation will get it.
So let’s get by the fire side.
Once upon a time in Anansekrom, there lived Kwaku Ananse, the Abusuapanyin (family head) Mediwohoyaw family, one of the seven royal gates of Anansekrom. He had a son called Kwakute, who was eligible to be King, just like the sons of other family elders in the six other royal gates. Knowing the competition his son could be up against, Ananse made it a daily chore to tell the whole town how brilliant and wise his son was. He had the resources to hire people to go round singing the praises of his son, and they would often compare Kwakute with the sons of the others and actually scorn the others as non-entities.
Meanwhile, among the six other royal gates of Anansekrom was the Bedeatuo royal family, which also stood out as a main contender for the stool. In the Bedetuo family was Opanyin Dei, whose son, Amankwaa had also shown promise, but his dad did not have enough resources to hire people to go round town singing his son’s praises like Ananse did for Kwakute on daily basis. He managed with the little resources he had to convince as many people as possible about the brilliance of his son.
The King of Anansekrom had died and the kingmakers had been observing all the eligible sons of the various royal families. But sooner than later the head of the kingmakers also passed on and there was need to appoint another head. In his usual trickery, Kwaku Ananse manipulated the system and got the first female, Ntikuma to be selected as head of the kingmakers.
With Ntikuma in position Kwaku Ananse was convinced the chances of his son Kwakute was very high. He therefore made it his business to promise Ntikuma heaven and get Ntikuma to make a commitment that no matter what happens, she will ensure that Kwakute was proclaimed as king when the time came to choose a new king for Anansekrom.
But Anansekrom had a unique way of choosing a King. It was not just by nomination by a royal gate for approval by the kingmakers as was the case with other nearby towns. The kingmakers of Anansekrom are spread across various communities in the town and they will each send their decisions on who they prefer to the head, Ntikuma and she will then announce who becomes king based on how many kingmakers chose that person.
That day came and the choice was up to the entire group of kingmakers and not just Ntikuma. They started sending in their decisions to Ntikuma and all the other royal gates had representatives at Ntikuma’s house who kept a close eye on the decisions of the various kingmakers as they came in from the communities.
Kwaku Ananse knew what deal he had with Ntikuma so he did not care much about what decisions each of the kingmakers made. All he cared about was that Ntikuma was going to declare Kwakute king no matter what. Each of the royal gates counted the scores as they came in, but Kwaku Ananse and his royal family pretended to be counting but they never did. They only kept boasting about winning based on the deal he had with Ntikuma.
As time went on, the Bedeatuo royal family became quite confident that their son, Amankwaa was going to be king so they also started jubilating and boasting about their coming fortunes. Faced with the threat to the deal he had with Ntikuma, Kwaku Ananse resorted to threats on Ntikuma to stick to the deal or face the consequences. He started using all kinds of people who have connections to Ntikuma, including Kwakute’s brother, who used to have a very close relationship with Ntikuma, the kind that Ntikuma would like to keep private.
Ntikuma became scared and limited her movement because she was not sure what Ananse and his men could do to her if she was seen in town. Ntikuma asked the Asafo group to provide her with protection. In fact she told some members of the Asafo group about the threats from Kwaku Ananse’s camp, but to her surprise, even those members of the Asafo group were in on Ananse’s plan and they asked her to stick to the deal she had with Ananse or face the consequences.
It became so tough for Ntikuma that she resorted to seeking comfort from her nephew who was a gongon beater and town crier. She reached out to her nephew in tears, sharing the messages of threat with him. In fact she told the nephew how Ananse promised heaven if she kept to the deal, or hell it she broke it.
In the midst of the threats facing Ntikuma, she invited the people of Anansekrom to a brief meeting and announced that the kingmakers have been sending their decisions through some messengers to her, but some of those messengers have been attacked by some mercenaries, so she cannot be sure if the decisions they brought in were exactly what the kingmakers decided, so she had to wait for the kingmakers themselves to tell her what their decisions were.
But Ntikuma’s nephew, the gongon beater invited his colleague town criers to seek answers from those messengers and those messengers completely rubbished what Ntimuma said, but decided they will not speak further, but allow the kingmakers to speak for themselves.
As time passed, it became more apparent that Ananse’s deal with Ntikuma was going to fall through because as the kingmakers’ decisions kept tricking in, they showed clearly that the kingmakers, and by extension the people of Anansekrom prefer Amankwaa from the Bedetuo royal gate to any of the six other eligible candidates. Indeed Kwakute himself realized another was preferred above him and he expressed his readiness to quit the race and allow Amankwaa to rule as the people preferred, but Kwaku Ananse and the other elders of Mediwohoyaw royal family stopped Kwakute from quitting. They kept deceiving him that they have seen the decisions and they confident he was going to be king. At some point Kwakute had to weep and admit that he cannot be party to a wicked plan to subvert the will of the people of Anansekrom but that still did not stop the elders of his royal family from insisting that he kept hope alive.
More time passed and it even became more apparent that Amankwaa was the people’s choice. In fact, without authorization from Ntikuma, the gongon beaters and town criers went to town with the information that Amankwaa was likely to be king of Anansekrom. That even mounted more pressure on Kwakute to give up, but Kwaku Ananse and his folks, knowing what deal they had struck with Ntikuma, still won’t let him.
Finally, Kwakute mustered courage, defied all the odds and sent a message to Amankwaa to say congrats for becoming king. After sending the message, Kwakute wept profusely in the presence of members of his royal family. Meanwhile, Ananse, who had by then been insisting that the kingmakers decisions he and his folks had seen, showed that Kwakute was going to be king, was at Ntikuma’s house waiting for her to announce who is king.
What Ananse did not know was that, in the midst of his machinations and schemes, some of his own folks had hinted some gongon beaters of the original plot to make Kwakute king no matter what; and about a subsequent adjusted plot to insist that a decision on who his king could not be finalized so the whole process should be started again. But all of that did not succeed because the kingmakers were very definite in their decisions and it was very obvious who they preferred. And Kwakute’s honesty in admitting his loss also saved the day.
Meanwhile, Ntikuma too had her integrity and ambition ahead of her, and she did not want to ruin her chances of rising to higher heights. So she chose to do right by the people and forget the juicy deal she had with Ananse.
Greater majority of the people of Anansekrom did not know what went on. But they did not care because in the end they got the king they chose through their respective kingmakers.
So children, that is how Amankwaa became king of Anansekrom, and Kweku Ananse’s tricks and treachery failed yet again.
Then all of a sudden, snap! Ananse woke up from his sleep and realized it was all one bad dream that will haunt him for a longtime to come.
What lessons did you learn from the story, kids?