By: Kwame Ampene
(Founder of the Guan Historical Society)
Geographically, the Prang State is situated in the Atebubu-Amantin District in Eastern Brong Ahafo Region. Prang (or Jala-ewu) lies on the main motor road about 25 kilometers south of Yeji. Prang connection with Atebubu and Yeji had been one of equal alliance. In the olden days, the area commanded the trade-route known as Amaniampon-tempon (i.e. Amaninampon-highway) between Kumase and Salaga in the north which sent annually, their cravans with cattle and coarse blankets to be exchanged for Kola nuts in the south.
Most of the Prang land is watered by the Pro River which is the main source of water supply for the people. The basin of the river is fertile and this has resulted in the growth of forest belt along the bank of the river.
By tradition, the indigenous people of Prang belong to the Guan ethnic group. And for that matter, they speak the same language with Yeji and Nchumuru, and do not regard Brong as their native language.
The founding fathers of Prang, Yeji and Nchumuru claim migrant origin form Larteh-Akuapem. In those days, constant wars caused unrest among the Guan-speaking communities on the Akuapem hills; therefore when the Akwamu at Nyanawase intensified their campaigns, the Prang ancestors left Larteh. The date of the emigration took place much earlier than the Krachi, Yeji, Dwan and Nkonya who stayed behind for a while before deserting the hill country.
In order to conceal them, the Prang ancestors emigrated up-country unnoticed under the leadership of Anyalewu Denga together with a woman (unnamed). Their first place of settlement was located near a giant Baobab tree which contained an opening in the form of a house which could shelter them. The place was named JALA-EWU meaning ‘Jala’s house” because EWU is a Guan word which means house. The hole in the Baobab tree was named DADIE TOKURO-an Akan word meaning iron hole’ which place had since become a sacred shrine called Jala Kofi very much revered by the people of Prang. And the priest of this tutelary-god was Egyilipo Jadon.
The big hole in the Baobab tree sheltered them for three days, but there was no drinking water. At first they did not know where to find water; but by divine intervention of the deity the frustrated ancestors were led by the priest to discover for themselves the Pro River which had since become the main source of water supply.
The myth is that on the journey to the river side, the priest lighted three sets of fire at different places, and they returned to find them still burning; so they settled permanently at those sites: one became the house of Asasewura (the Earth priest), another that of the Kpenewura (the chief) and the third spot for the Pro priest (known as Biatro).
It has been said that the indigenous name of Prang was Jala-ewu. The present name, PRANG, came about in this way: When Ndewura Jakpa, the Gonja warlord with his army were conquering towns and villages within the Pro plain, they came to Jala-ewu. His soldiers asked Jakpa whether they should attack the inhabitants, but Jakpa, looking up at the village yonder, said Kplong or Kplang, meaning “let’s pass by” in Gonja. He explained that “it’s not every village or people who should be destroyed. KPLANG reminiscent of Jakpa’s refusal to attack the settlement replaced JALA-EWU as the new name of the settlement, and Kplang has since been altered to PRANG.
The oral traditions of Prang disclosed that the powerful priest of the deity Jala Kofi called Egyilipo Jadon was in office for many years. During his last days, he assembled the whole community of Prang made up of Jalaja, Gbrumuntumu, Gbereato and Adengas and informed them that the original settlement should be abandoned and a new settlement sited somewhere else. Therefore he advised that each of the five towns including Jala-ewu should provide a log of firewood to be lighted at various points few kilometers from Jala-ewu. The following day after the ceremony, they discovered that the fire prepared for four towns had blown off, leaving that of Jala-ewu which now constitute the present town of Prang. The inhabitants of the four towns were believed to have migrated south-east of Prang to settle in the Volta Basin at Krachi at a place called Krenkuase whose Headchief was Akpowia (Krachi Left Wing) of the Keanae patrilineal group.
Formerly, Prang had no King or chief except the Priest Jala Kofi who was recognized as the Head of the community. Therefore after the “fire lighting ceremony” the Theocratic Priest, Egyilipo Jadon, appointed a man of Enyelewu Denga was the migrant-leader from Larteh Akuapem. The new chief was bestowed with the official title, KPENEWURA. And by an ancient tradition, the chief of Prang is lauded with the appellation DADIETOKURO having originated from the hole in the Baobab tree where they first settled.
The first chief, Enyelewu Denga, was succeeded by Kpenewura Kwame Sampah. During the reign of the thirteenth Kpenewura Kwabena Benja, the Hausas arrived from Atebubu to settle permanently at Prang, 1927. The stool of Prang was raised to the status of Paramountcy in 1960 during the reign of Kpenewura Kwadjo Nyarko I. His successor Kpenewura Kwadjo Nyarko II was enstooled in 1965 while he was studying at the University college of Cape Coast.
The Spectator Saturday, December 31, 2011 Page 31