“Once I was young, but now, I am old and once too many times, I’ve been told; He who brings kola brings life. But today, I say; she, who brings cocoa, brings health and wealth and wellbeing.”
These were the divine words that echoed through the vibrant air, breaking forth many miles across the Atlantic in a sacred ritual that will be known and be called The “sacred golden pod breaking ceremony”
In the heart of Tepa-Kyekyewere, where the rich soil cradles the promise of prosperity, a vibrant celebration unfolded on Friday the 7th of July, 2023. The sacred cocoa pod-breaking ceremony, hosted by Africaniwa to commemorate World Chocolate Day 2023, transcended the boundaries of tradition and modernity, weaving a narrative that echoed through the leaves, the sky, and the very earth beneath.
As the co-creative force with nature behind Africaniwa, Adelle A’asante, graced her Ghanaian soil after five years in the UK, joining in the celebration, by the power of technology from a location not so far from the Atlantic.
The stage was set for a historic gathering. Nana Nyanteng, founder of Shahamana Chocolate. A beacon of leadership and a cocoa farmer, orchestrated the event with selfless dedication, overcoming challenges posed by internet connectivity to unite chiefs, elders, school children, and cocoa farmers in Tepa-Kyekyewere.
The ceremony unfolded on the fertile grounds of a cocoa farm, marking a significant departure from previous venues. The rhythmic breaking of cocoa pods, a symbol of empowerment, resonated with the mantra: “Chocolate has a name.” Mwintombo, the tribes’ eloquent orator, intertwined the event with oral narrations, creating a tapestry that connected the past, present, and future.
Despite challenges with internet connectivity, the ceremony unfolded in a colorful and picturesque manner. The virtual presence of sympathizers from the UK, Italy, and America added a global dimension to the celebration. The ambient sky, the rustling leaves, and the scent of the rich soil formed a backdrop that elevated the ceremony to a sacred ritual.
Each participant, from chiefs to school children, received cocoa beans – a tangible connection to the sacred ritual and a testament to the shared commitment to health, wealth, and well-being. The fusion of tradition and modernity was evident in joint performances with school children, responses from the Chief and elders, and the overall atmosphere of communal celebration.
As the ceremony concluded, a feast unfolded, featuring indigenous dishes crafted from cocoa products. “Ankwa moo,” cocoa butter-braised rice, and “kelewele,” deep-fried spiced ripe plantain, showcased the versatility of cocoa thus changing the eating culture.
Chocolate, in its myriad forms, added a sweet note to the culmination of this extraordinary event.
The ceremony concluded with a profound quote from Africaniwa:
“Once I was young, but now, I am old and once too many times, I’ve been told; He who brings kola brings life. But today, I say; she, who brings cocoa, brings health, wealth and wellbeing.”
This quote encapsulates the newfound cultural significance of cocoa pod breaking in the Africaniwa tribe – an essential part of their ceremonies, celebrations, and shared humanity.
In the vision of Leonard, a tribesman and father of three, cocoa pods will become integral to marriage traditions, symbolizing not just wealth, health, and wellbeing, but also love, unity, and understanding for new families. Africaniwa has etched a cultural landmark, intertwining the roots of tradition with the branches of a cocoa-laden future in the vibrant tapestry of Tepa-Kyekyewere and beyond.