WHO WE ARE
The Commemoration is a collaboration between Nana Kofi Asiedu Ofori, Obosumfo of Nsumakwaa Fie, and Akom Kese. The overall purpose is two-fold:
To preserve Akom history for present and future generations.
Raise funds that will be used to make road improvements and establish a healing center at the Akonnedi Shrine and provide seed money for a future conference on Akom in the Asante Region.
As the visionary of the Commemoration, Nana Kofi serves as the Project Manager. Akom Kesi is a nonprofit tax-exempt organization based in New York. It provides research and promotional support and serves as fiscal agent for the Commemoration.
Nana Kofi is Obosumfo (keeper of the shrine) for the mmeotia (dwarf) spirit Nana Kwaku Odaaku which comes from a sacred grove in the mountains near Jamasi-Asante Ghana. He completed his training as a priest in 1999. Nana Kwaku Ofori chief mmeotia Okomfo in Ghana as well as Nana Ankobeahene Ama Oparebea Bekoe in America graduated him into the priesthood. Nana Ofori holds a B.A. in political science from Tufts University and a J.D. degree from Boston University School of Law. He is a member of the Bar for the District of Columbia.
Akom Kese was born out of the Akan Culture presented by Nana Yao Opare Dinizulu I. In the late 80’s and 90’s, Nana Dinizulu organized weekend long conferences at Howard University. These conferences focused on the tenets of Akan culture. Namely, the naming ceremony, puberty rites, marriage, and funeral rites. In addition, the conferences provided a venue to rekindle friendships and family ties.
In 2013, Okomfo Dr. Kwesi Amoa began having individual conversations with community members about Akom Kese. An Akom is a spiritual gathering of the community to invite the gods and ancestors to commune with humans. Akom is a Twi word that means “to posse” and kese is a twi word for “big”. So literally Akom Kese is “the big possession.”
In 2015, Okomfo Dr. Amoa organized the initial planning committee. This committee comprised of himself, Okomfo Akosua Baakan, Okomfo Afua Ababio, and Okomfo Fofie Abaogyewa. The intent is to resume a conference dedicated to teaching the community in the Americas about Akan culture. He specifically chose the word “Akom” to describe the gathering because many of the shrines that have since come to America are not of Akan origin and the term “Akom” is more universally applicable.
The planning committee convened in 2015. Subsequently formal presentations were made to the major Akan shrine houses requesting their participation and explaining the intent of such a gathering.
The first Akom Kese was in 2016 at Roy Wilkins Park in New York City. It also coincided with the 45th anniversary of Akan’s in America. The event was a beautiful occasion and attended and supported by Onipa Abusia, Banafo Bsonsumfie, The Temple of Nyame, Spirit Central, ASUO, Circle of Light, Adade Kofi Shrine House, and Obatampa Abosumfie.
In 2017, the conference was held in Washington, DC, area. This conferenced focused on hearing the vision of the elders for the Akan culture for the next 50 years. Guest speakers were Nana Ansaa Atei, Nana Kwesi Agyeman, Nifahene of Akans in America, and Nana Adzua Opare, Okomfohene, Onipa Abusia. The event was well attended and provided a time for our Akan nation connect and re-connect. In addition to listening to the vision of the elders, the priests came together and created an agreement for their standards of behavior.
In 2018, the format of the conference changed from a one-day conference to three-days. This allowed for greater interaction among participants. It was also hosted in Wilmington DE, as this was a destination that was midway between two of the cities that had biggest Akan communities (Washington, DC, and New York, NY). During this conference, the guest speaker was Dr. Kwasi Konadu who presented on the connection of Akan people to the United States. As a powerful accompaniment to the previous conference and its focus on eldership, the Akom Kese Board instituted a platform for the young people to have a voice to express their concerns to the community. Presenters also conducted sessions on songs and protocol.The same year Akom Kese incorporated as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.
The Board elected:
Okomfo Dr. Kwesi Amoa, President/Executive Director,
Okomfo Akosua Yiseral, Vice-President,
Mrs. Andrea A. Amoa, Treasurer,
Okomfo Dr. Angela Tano McMillians, Secretary
Nana Asamoah Sarpong, Board Member
Okomfo Efua Sloan, Board Member
Okyeame Wofa Y. Tyus, and Board Member
Nana Ama Willock Board Member
In 2019, the conference, again, was held in Wilmington, DE, with an eye on understanding and determining the role of eldership. There were also important sessions on the creation and maintenance of ancestral alters, relationships, and issues that were unique to men and issues that were unique to women. This conference also marked the first time a symbolic ritual was conducted from elders to young people.
In 2020, due to the restrictions that were imposed throughout the country in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the conference was held virtually.
This year, Akom Kese will celebrate virtually again and welcome our community to join our conference (Saturday, July 31, 2021 to Friday, August 6, 2021) at no cost.