Berekuso: Its History and People
Berekuso is a traditional agricultural town of about 2,000 residents located in the coastal highlands in Ghana’s Eastern Region. The residential area of Berekuso is approximately 0.16 square kilometers, though farms, stool, and family land extend far beyond. Most families in Berekuso engage in small-scale farming of pineapple, maize, plantain, teak, cassava, or vegetables. Other than agriculture, trade, small-scale manufacturing (cement blocks, ironworks), and traditional crafts (such as kente weaving) account for the livelihoods of residents.
The original inhabitants of Berekuso are decedents of the Akwamu people, a familial branch of the Akan kingdom at its peak in the 17th and early 18th century, when Akan chiefs controlled much of the Eastern Gold Coast. According to Berekuso oral history, after losing a dispute over a linguist’s affair with one of his wives, Nana Ampofu Ampoti, nephew to a 16th century Akwamu king, left the Akwamu kingdom with his family and followers to settle elsewhere. Over several generations, the descendants of Ampofu Ampoti continued to migrate south and east finally settling in Ajyangoti, just south of present day Berekuso. At Ajyangoti, Ampofu Ampoti’s descendants faced many challenges, most notably the scarcity of water. During a particularly difficult dry season, the son of the 21st chief to succeed Ampoti, discovered a spring on a hunting trip. After verifying the existence of the spring, the chief, Nana Adu Mireku I, announced “bra oku no so“ which roughly translates “come to the valley.” He then ordered the settlement to relocate in the shallow valley adjacent to the spring with “bra oku no so” evolving into “Berekuso” the present-day name of the town.
Berekuso inhabitants of Akan descent speak Akwapem Twi, but there are also a significant number of Ga speakers, descendants of families who migrated from coastal areas during conflicts in the Ga Kingdom. Today, residents with Akan and Ga roots practice a combination of Christianity and traditional religion. Present day Berekuso also has a mosque and a small number of Muslim inhabitants with roots in Northern Ghana.
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