The Making of an African King

Patrilineal and Matrilineal Struggle among the Awutu (Effutu) of Ghana, Revised and Updated

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Anthony Ephirim-Donkor
  • Lanham, MD: 
    Lexington Books
    , January
     340 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


In this edition of The Making of an African King: Patrilineal and Matrilineal Struggle Among the Ᾱwutu (Effutu) of Ghana, Revised & Updated, every chapter is updated, taking into account the 2015 Ghana Supreme Court ruling on the internecine kingship struggle among the Ᾱwutu (Effutu) of Simpa (Winneba). The patrilineal Otuano Royal Family sued the Acquah faction and proponents of matrilineal succession in 1976, seeking confirmation of their inalienable right as the sole kingmakers of Simpa, and also for the court to place perpetual injunction on the Acquahs never to interfere in the royal affairs of Simpa. During the intervening decades from 1976-2015, Simpa witnessed a spate of intermittent political violence, especially the months leading to their annual Nyantɔr (aboakyir) Festival, all aimed at preventing the king from propitiating the ancestors and deities of Simpa led by Pɛnkyae Otu. With the Supreme Court ruling, people now have the opportunity to read the judgment in its entirety and make up their own minds. What is actually fascinating about the whole internecine royal struggle is, that we have a situation whereby a matrilineal political system practiced by the Akan is displacing a long-established patrilineal system of descent traditionally practiced by the Guan speaking people of Simpa. Such an idea would be unheard of in the West, but this is what is happening among the Ᾱwutu (Effutu) of Simpa (Winneba) socio-culturally and politically. Indeed, it shows how unique and transformative the Akan ābusua (a mother and her children) system is all about.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Anthony Ephirim-Donkor is Professor of Religion and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Binghamton University.


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