Our Own Way in This Part of the World

Biography of an African Community, Culture, and Nation

Book Pages: 328 Illustrations: 51 illustrations Published: May 2019

Author: Kwasi Konadu

African Studies, History > African History, Religious Studies

Kofi Dᴐnkᴐ was a blacksmith and farmer, as well as an important healer, intellectual, spiritual leader, settler of disputes, and custodian of shared values for his Ghanaian community. In Our Own Way in This Part of the World Kwasi Konadu centers Dᴐnkᴐ's life story and experiences in a communography of Dᴐnkᴐ's community and nation from the late nineteenth century through the end of the twentieth, which were shaped by historical forces from colonial Ghana's cocoa boom to decolonization and political and religious parochialism. Although Dᴐnkᴐ touched the lives of thousands of citizens and patients, neither he nor they appear in national or international archives covering the region. Yet his memory persists in his intellectual and healing legacy, and the story of his community offers a non-national, decolonized example of social organization structured around spiritual forces that serves as a powerful reminder of the importance for scholars to take their cues from the lived experiences and ideas of the people they study.


"Konadu refers to his work as a 'communography' and offers a portrait of the community of which Kofi Dᴐnkᴐ was a hub. This approach creates a deeply grounded history... [in which] he tries to present the world as Dᴐnkᴐ might have seen it, offering a refreshing perspective. This innovative study is recommended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students." — G. Mann, Choice

"A compelling history of people and their community in twentieth century Ghana. Konadu has gathered an impressive archive, based on which he succeeds to capture societal changes and dynamics in their lived refractions and complexities. ... Konadu makes an important contribution to an everyday and social history of twentieth century Ghana." — Benedikt Pontzen, African Studies Quarterly

“Kwasi Konadu grounds the transformations in West African societies in ways that allow Kofi Dᴐnkᴐ to serve as a counterpoint to mainstream representations that take the perspective of Christianized, modernizing individuals on the coast. Dᴐnkᴐ was an everyday person in some ways, and exceptional in others, making his life a productive window through which to understand culture, experience, and worldview. This is an innovative and outstanding book.” — Trevor R. Getz, author of A Primer for Teaching African History: Ten Design Principles

“Kwasi Konadu has written an important book for understanding social change at the local level in Ghana. His emphasis on spirituality, healing, and education among the Bono people is a model for people-centered histories of African societies.” — Benjamin Talton, author of Politics of Social Change in Ghana: The Konkomba Struggle for Political Equality


Availability: In stock
Price: $27.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Kwasi Konadu is John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Chair in Africana and Latin American Studies at Colgate University and the author and editor of several books, including The Ghana Reader: History, Culture, Politics, also published by Duke University Press, and Transatlantic Africa, 1440–1888.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction  1
1. Libation: Matters Connected with Our Culture  17
2. Homelands:  In Search of Past Events  44
3. Tools of the Trade: I was a Blacksmith . . . Before I Became [a Healer]  73
4. Medicine, Marriage, and Politics: Assist this State to have Progress  107
5. Independences: Never Mingled Himself in Local Politics  137
6. Anthropologies of Medicine and Africa: When the Whiteman First Came  166
7. Uncertain Moments and Memory: Our Ancestral Spirits, Come and Have Drink  195
Epilogue  228
Notes  239
Bibliography  287
Notes  307
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

Winner of the 2020 Sterling Stuckey Book Prize, presented by the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0478-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0416-5