As a teenager attending Mawuli School in Ho, we all had heard of the old German bell at Ho Kpodzi. Today, I finally went to the ancient bell to satisfy my historical hunger.
Did you know that…??
The first Basel Mission on this side of the Volta was established in 1864 close to where the Mawuko Girls’ Senior High School is situated in Ho. All those who grew up in Ho know it as Ho Kpodzi. There is also an old German cemetery where German missionaries were buried at.
During the Asante/Akwamu war against the Krepis (includes the Pekis and Hos) somewhere around 1869 ( hope I got the date right), the Asantes approached Ho from the direction of Adaklu and took the town. They plundered the German Basel mission at Ho Kpodzi, burnt parts of Ho town and took the German church bell. The bell suffered a gunshot “wound”, possibly from an Ashanti or Akwamu gun.
When the Akwamus and Ashantis were forced to flee due to defeat, they carried the bell along. It took the intervention of Adolf Friedrich Herzog Zu Macklenburg, a German governor in Lome who ordered the immediate return of the bell to its rightful place at Ho Kpodzi to force the Akan warlords to return the bell, where it still stands at Ho Kpodzi today. I visited the bell this evening. On it, the writing/relief states that the bell was manufactured in Stuttgart in 1857 for the Nord Basel Mission. This means the bell is 165 years old.
This writing is legible to date. Unfortunately, people sit around this bell today and yet, there is no plaque or anything around it to show the “experiences” the bell has been through. Portions of the old mission house still exist.
I pray that the E.P. church does more to preserve this rich history we have sitting in Ho. The town has little to boast of in terms of tourist potential and this is one of them. Speith’ s book “Die Ewe Stamme”-1906 and Reindorf’s “History of Ashanti and the Gold Coast” give first hand accounts of this war. I have both books as well.
Dear friends, I present to you the old German bell, survivor of Ashanti wars and gunshots.
Source: Professor Etornam Ashiley Kassah
15th November, 2019.