a1 University of Birmingham
This paper – which builds upon the author's previously published work on the forest kingdom of Asante (Ghana) – deals with the role of Komfo Anokye in Asante thought and history. The source materials and historiography pertaining to Komfo Anokye are critically reviewed, but the principal focus of the paper is on issues of cognition, belief and philosophy. Komfo Anokye's ‘place’ in Asante thought is analysed, and his meaning(s) identified with reference to Asante concerns about the nature of history, society and the human. The paper tries to go beyond epistemology and a ‘traditional’ reading of Asante religion and its practices to a hermeneutical interpretation of Komfo Anokye and the sense-meaning of Asante history. Philosophical and psychological issues are addressed in a historical context. The larger object of the paper is, by the example of Komfo Anokye and Asante history, to attempt to indicate a way forward for the Africanist historical enterprise in the understanding of meaning.