JONKANOO/HIDEOUT LODGE ONE DAY TOUR
A tour in collaboration with Hideout Lodge, Butre
PRINCESSTOWN AND FORT GROSS FRIEDRICHSBURG
The drive to Princesstown, some 50 kms distance from Hideout Lodge takes us through lush rainforest to this remote seaside town. Our first stop is a seventeenth century trading fort built by the Brandenburg Africa company in the days when Brandenburg Prussia was a country in its own right , before Germany became unified in the late nineteenth century. We cool off at the beach for a swim and go on to Yellow Rose lodge for lunch in the garden. The lawn stretches to a mangrove lagoon where birds and monkeys of various descriptions come and go before our very eyes. optionally there is a canoe tour through the mangroves to view alligator and myriad bird life . We return to Hideout in time for dinner.
In 1681 Otto von der Groben, a German merchant and representative of the Duke of Prussia led an expedition which bargained with the local chief of what was then a tiny settlement at the mouth of the Nyan River to build a fort on a promontory overlooking the bay. The deal he struck was to protect the village from earlier , more established Dutch slave traders. By 1690 the fort you will visit was active in various forms of trade, including slaves. Unlike the Dutch or British traders, who had become far more numerous and successful elsewhere along the Gold Coast, the Brandenburgers decided to abandon their sole trading post along this coast, leaving the fort as a gift to a local man, John Konny who took over the fort, so becoming the only African to own such an establishment in those days. Konny becam famous as amost successful trader, both in materials, spices and slaves, such that his hospitality was renowned up and down the coast. Dutch and British sea captans would revel in konny's magnificent hospitalityy, feasting on Kenkey and palm wine and any other entertainments laid on.
But . . . the Prussians had double crossed Konny. Unknown to him, these Germans had sold the fort to a Dutch company who appeared in 1722 with a small fleet to claim the fort. A pitched battle on the hill outside led to the entire crew of armed Dutch mariners being slaughtered. konny had their skulls set out neatly alongside the path from village to the fort. Two years later a larger Dutch force arrived and in the ensuing battle Konny disappeared, escaping some say, to Kumasi. The Dutch renamed the place fort hollandia until the British took it over in 1872.
The memory of John Konny lives for ever all over the Caribbean islands. In Jamaica, the windward islands and the Bahamas, an annual festival celebrates the temporary defeat of European colonialism and its replacement with an African merchant prince, despite his connections with the slave trade!!
The ultimate celebration of the life of a Hero
For centuries the African Diaspora have honoured a Great African with this festival in the Americas. Its origin is however in Africa and we invite you to where it all started
JONKANOO AFRICA TOURS
TAKES YOU TO JOHN KANOO’S FORT in GHANA, West Africa
People of Africa descent have made Ghana the destination for pilgrimage to their ancestral home, because this West African state has inspired the entire Black race with its trailblazing independence from colonial rule in1957.
The hero of that victory was Kwame Nkrumah, a leader in the struggle for the emancipation of the African .
An even more poignant draw of the African Diaspora to Ghana is the scores of old forts through which their ancestors passed as slaves to the plantations in the Americas. These are the only remaining points of spiritual contact for the African Diaspora with their ancestry in Africa and are now shrines, as it were, for the thousands who have made that pilgrimage.
Again, Ghana led Africa to emerge from the dark post independence era of despots and dictatorships into democracy; for which reason it became the first African country to receive the first Black American President; Obama in2009
But before all this, there was an even bigger African Hero from Ghana, whose exploits in the 17th century are celebrated with the JONKANOO FESTIVAL. He was PRINCE GYAN KONEY, mispronounced as JOHN KANOO, the chief of Apokezoe or Prince’s Town who took on the Europeans, at the height of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade and beat them at their own game of trading in slaves.
In 1708 Gyan Koney or John Kanoo defeated the Prussians, captured their Fort in Prince’s Town and took control of the entire slave trade from West Africa for 20 years; a feat so unimaginable then, it sounds like fiction now.
His astuteness in business and warfare so astounded both the Europeans he defeated and the Africans he sent across the Atlantic they could not help but adore him and pass it on as folklore.
Gyan Koney or John Kanoo’s fort in Prince’s Town is virtually intact; ready to receive you.
And it is not all about a solemn nostalgic visit. Take a look at the view from the Prince’s balcony and decide if that beach is not worth the trip to the motherland