The Implications of the Odwira Festival for Christianity and Christian Mission in Okuapeman

Ernestina Afriyie

Issue: Vol.6  No.3 June 2020 Article 1 pp. 145-157
DOI : https://doi.org/10.38159/erats.2020061    |   Published online 22nd June 2020.
© 2020 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Since 1826, the Akuapem people of Ghana have annually celebrated the festival known as the Okuapehene Dwira (the Odwira of the paramount chief of Akuapem), Odwira for short. The paper examines the spiritual significance of the festival for the people. It considers what an Okuapeni (a person who comes from Akuapem) who converts to Christ may need to do to enable him/her to enjoy life in Christ, and why. The paper gives a brief description of the festival after establishing its history. It follows this by arguing that Odwira is a covenant renewing festival that places all Akuapemfo (Akuapem people) under a covenant with the Odosu (a regalia). The paper then discusses two theological views on the effect of such covenants on people who convert to Christianity. The paper concludes with what Christian ministers must ensure that Akuapem converts do to give them the assurance that in Christ, they are liberated from the covenant. The paper is based on observations, recorded interviews with natives of Akuapem – chiefs, students, opinion leaders and “ordinary” members of the society, as well as responses to questionnaires administered to natives of Akropong living in Akropong itself, Sakumono and Lashibi in the Greater Accra Region. Works of theologians like Ogbu Kalu, Opoku Onyinah, and some others have also been used. The finding of this paper is that effective Christian ministry in Akuapem must include “deliverance”. This will ensure that converts who believe that the covenant with Odosu must be verbally renounced at conversion to Christ, have the assurance of being freed from the covenant. This paper contributes to Missiology and Ministry by adding to the on-going debate on spiritual covenants and their effect on Christian conversion.

Keywords: Okuapehene Dwira, Festival, Conversion, Deliverance, Covenant and Mission.

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Ernestina Afriyie, PhD is a Research Fellow at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, Akropong-Akuapem, Ghana. Email: afriyieernestina@yahoo.co.uk

Afriyie, Ernestina. “The Implications of the Odwira Festival for Christianity and Christian Mission in Okuapeman.” E-Journal of Religious and Theological Studies 6, no.3 (2020): 145-157. https://doi.org/10.38159/erats.2020061

© 2020 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).