In 1838 a Chief of the Ahante tribe, Nana Baido Bonso (or Bonsu) II, killed two Dutch soldiers who invaded his farm. He was court martialled, hung and beheaded. His head was send over sea and ended up preserved in a bottle in Leiden University University Centre for Medical Research….I assume the chief did what every farmer would do to uninvited invaders of his property….
The issue of Nana Baidoo Bonso (or Bonsu) II’s head came to light when a Dutch historian Arthur Japin raised it during former President John Kufuor’s official visit to the Netherlands in October last year.
After hearing the story of the head, the former President instructed the Ghana Embassy to negotiate to secure the release and the return of the head.
After much negotiation the Dutch government finally allowed the release and the head was finally returned to Ghana on July 24.
I’m currently reading two books that shed new light on the influence of the Dutch on both the UK and the US. I will come back with the names and bearings. This is why this story drew my attention. It is part of our colonial history. I’ve not read much about it in our Dutch press….tellingly?
The people of Ghana will be glad to have the opportunity to give the chief peace with a proper ceremony…
Read the entire story by Francis Kokutse in the African Press blog:
One thought on “Dutch Return Head of Ahante Chief to Ghana”
you know, i love paul raffaele’s book, among the cannibals. somehow, it ties in with this, in that these old cultural customs seem so different to us now.
i am glad that they can rest him in peace now. and send along those book titles!