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…