Founder's Day

    Ghanaians and the whole world woke up, the morning of May 22nd 1966, to the news that CHRISTIANSBORG CASTLE, the seat of the Government of Ghana was consecrated by Charles Kwabla Nutornuti Wovenu, the founder and Spiritual leader of the APOSTLES REVELATION SOCIETY (A.R.S.) The range of feelings was profound. It ranged from joy and vindication to utter anger and hatred. The Christian Council of Ghana served the most vitriolic criticism, not only of the events but also of the Government ignoring it and bringing a "village pastor" to perform such an important national duty. To his supporters this was indeed a validation of the man, and his steadfast traditional African approach to Christian worship.

    The Danes built the Christainsborg castle and it served them as a fortress to ward off other colonialists of the time. It became the principal place where majority of slaves was exported abroad. Since Independence it has become the seat of Government. When General Ankrah became Head of State of Ghana and Chairman of the National Liberation Council (N.L.C), he deemed it necessary that the castle be dedicated, and spiritually cleansed before it could serve its role more effectively. To him the only person with the credential to do the job was C.K.N. Wovenu.

    The history behind the National Liberation Council (N.L.C.) was not known to many. Few knew that Wovenu had foretold the cataclysmic events of 24th February 1966; the day the powerful government of Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown

    This is how the story went. General Ankrah, one of the most trusted of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's men was fired from office for no reason. He was devastated and sought spiritual counseling. He came to Tadzewu and consulted with Wovenu. After a serious prayer session he was informed that he was going to be the next head of state of Ghana. His expulsion from the Ghana Army was the work of Providence, designed to insulate him from what was going to happen in Ghana. Ankrah was dumfounded.

    At the height of Kwame Nkrumah's rule Ghanaians had come to accept the fact that "Kwame Nkrumah never dies -He forever lives" Ankrah was no exception, but he believed Wovenu and went through further prayer sessions to be prepared for what was to happen. We do not know if he was told in plain terms what was to happen. We do know that Wovenu knew that on 24th of February 1966 Kwame Nkrumah's rule of Ghana was going to cease.

    He had prophesied to Kwame Nkrumah when he was incarcerated at the Ussher Fort Prisons in 1951. He was also advised about what to do to avoid the events of February 1966 at that encounter at Ussher Fort. When he came to power he lost sight of his God, and sought protection from other things, and did not heed the advice he had been given.

    The coup of February occurred as prophesied, and catapulted Ankrah from unemployment to Head of State. Unlike Kwame Nkrumah he remembered his roots and kept in touch with Wovenu.

    The consecration of the castle was, therefore, one of the spiritual rituals that Wovenu had performed at his bidding. There was so much uproar that Wovenu did not perform any other public ritual at the national scene. It is important to know that most heads of state of Ghana knew him, and consulted him liberally for advice and spiritual protection.

    In passing, it is significant to know that not too long after the dedication there was an insurrection by a few disgruntled officers of the Ghana Army. They came from the Recce regiment at Ho and launched an almost successful armed campaign to overthrow the government. The Christianborg castle sustained heavy bombardment, but the Head of State, General Ankrah, was unscathed. Flagstaff house, which was the Army headquarters, fell into the hand of these insurgents like a pack of cards. The then Army Commander and other top military officers lost their lives.

    Today there is a chapel built inside the Castle to serve as a place of worship and prayer to those who live in or work there. Wovenu laid the foundation, and supervised its construction. This was one of the acts depicting Ankrah's dedication and willingness to submit himself to the will of God. Let us note that most of the principal players in post 1966 coup died through the barrel of the gun-by firing squad. When he was forced out of the NLC he retired but lived to a ripe old age, and died a natural death. This was through the spiritual guidance and advice of Wovenu.

    Who was this Wovenu?

    The world was at the brink of war. As war cries intensified it became imperative for the colonies to supply some of the manpower for the war effort. The Gold Coast, presently Ghana, was no exception and several companies rallied to feed the mother army. CONSOLIDATED AFRICAN SELECTION TRUST (CAST) a British mining concession in AKWATIA in the then Gold Coast was no exception. One conscientious objector was a young man in his early twenties. He was CHARLES KWABLA NUTORNUTI WOVENU.

    At this time he was beginning to experience a spiritual phenomenon that caused him to sing, preach and pray involuntarily. He formed choirs and prayer cells and would rather continue doing the work of God. The cost of his objection was the forfeiture of income and the loss of his possessions, except for a little hand bell. He left Akwatia as a result.

    He arrived at Anyako, the little village of his birth on October 31st 1939. This village held nothing for him, so early the following day he left for TADZEWU a nearby village. The following day, November 2nd 1939, with his bell in hand, he went around the village and announced that he had come to establish a school. This was not new to the villagers.

    The village was steeped in paganism and boasted as the capital of many YEWE cults. Their further boast was that the power of their cult was able to subdue Western religious gods. Indeed many missionaries had come to establish a beach- head in Tadzewu, but they all failed under mysterious circumstances. This bolstered the spiritual claims of the cult leaders, and increased their following from far and near. The village regarded itself as untouchable from the Western religious institutions. Hence they were assured that the effort the young man was about to make would fail.

    Seven little boys remained from a large gathering of children. Most of them left due to parental and peer pressure. What remained became the nucleus of


    In the above picture Wovenu and his first pupils who became the nucleus of the church are shown.

     This young man galvanized the entire village and other villages far and near. His following increased to the utter amazement of everybody, including himself. He told me He did not direct the activities of his group, but that a force greater than he directed it. He started out to form a school to fight the prevalent abject poverty and illiteracy, but he found that his preaching received far more attention than the famed three Rs.

    Baptized as a Presbyterian he invited the Minister in the area to come and baptize the souls he had won for Christ. Much to his surprise he was ex-communicated from the church, ostensibly, because he had no seminary training and could not do the work of God. Others factors contributed to this fallout between Charles Kwabla Nutiornuti and his church.

    When the European missionaries arrived in Africa their zeal and enthusiasm about wining these innumerable souls for Christ blinded them to the richness of the traditions and culture of the people. They, therefore, sought the eradication of these cultural norms and supplanted them with the new religion and its European culture. To the church, African traditional practice was pagan and should be uprooted and supplanted. With the inspiration that Wovenu had he adapted African traditions that were not opposed to the worship of the true God. Hence African drumming, singing, clothing, languages and other practices became integral parts of the liturgy of the church. This was sacrilegious to the missionaries. It is needles to recount the persecution he had to endure not only from the missionaries but also from the colonial administration.

    As an example, to be baptized one had to assume the name of a saint. Since there were no named African saints, one, invariably, had to assume a European name or was not baptized. Africans treasure their names because in each name was a prayer to their God as to the course their life should take. Hence to be named George, Francis, Anthony, etc was problematic. In many ways Wovenu should be credited with fighting Western cultural imperialism and more so by keeping the flame of African cultural consciousness ablaze until recently when all African churches adopted African traditions as part of their liturgy.

    We are limited by space and cannot provide a detailed discussion of the contribution that this man made towards African cultural consciousness and especially his work as the spiritual architect of the independence of Ghana and for that matter the whole of Africa. Several volumes are in the process of being published and these will deal, adequately, with subject.

    As we commemorate the Founder' Day we are celebrating our cultural emancipation and saying kudos to the people and the institution- APOSTLES REVELATION SOCIETY (A.R.S) whose efforts made it possible that our heritage was not lost.  

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