Kwahu is a region in south-central Ghana, or in the eastern region of Ghana, on the west shore of Lake Volta. Shares the region with the Akyems, Krobos, and a small sect of Ewes. There are two common spellings of the name, Kwawu and Kwahu. The "w" spelling is the official spelling from the African Studies Centre, University of Ghana, and more resembles the pronunciation. The "h" was put in by Swiss missionaries from Basel, who added the "h" to ensure that Kwa, the first syllable, was not pronounced as "eh." The "h" is not separately pronounced in the name.
The term Kwahu also refers to the variant of Akan language spoken in this region and to the Kwahu people who come from the region, there are about 65.000 Kwahus. Kwahu are originally Akan people.
The name derives from its myths of origin, "The slave (awa) died (wu)," which was based on an ancient prophecy that a slave would die so the wandering tribe of Akan would know where to settle. The myth was part of the historical stories of the Agona matriclan, the first paramount lineage of Kwawu, and was later adopted by the Bretuao-Tena matriclan (Twidan) who later replaced them.
The paramount chief and the royal matrilineage of the Kwawu reside at Abene, north of Abetifi on the banks of the highlands. Until their leaders seized upon the opportunities presented with the Bond of 1844, Kwawu was an integral part of Ashanti, a historical migration is traced largely, but not limited, to the area of Mampong. Abetifi (Tena matriclan) is the head of the Adonten (vanguard). Obo (Aduana, Ada, Amoakade) is the head of the Nifa (Right Division) Aduamoa (Dwumena, Asona) is the head of the Benkum (Left Division).
As part of the Asante Empire, Kwawu had an Asante emissary, governor or ambassador at Atibe, next to Mpraeso, of the Ekuona matriclan). To indicate its independence from Asante in 1888 the Kwawu assassinated the Asante emissary in Atibe, about the time of the arrival of the Basel missionaries from Switzerland. The Kwawu royals invited the missionaries to build their mission in Abetifi. Obo led the pro-Asante opposition to the Swiss. It is orally told the Kwahu's also made Obo their financial center.
In recent years, Kwahu has become the best place to celebrate Easter. Many from far away places within the borders of the country and even beyond go there to enjoy themselves. The Kwahu Hill are a good spot where Paragliders are able to showcase and display of their long-learned skills to the public. Such events also serve as Tourist Attractions sites and generates income for the Ghanaian Economy. Characteristics of Kwahu natives are centred on economics, self-sufficiency and an incredible ability to forego short-term or immediate wants in planning for longer-term goals.
Trivia: Experts in thrift, the Kwahus surprise with relative success where others fail in any manner of business, from cocoa farming to house front trading and modern service sector or manufacturing industries.
As a result, they are often thought to be wealth-creating magicians.
Until recently, they shunned political activism and are arguably under-represented in government appointments, compared with other Akan groups such as Ashanti, Fanti, Brong or Akyem.
Kwawus often wish to spend the retirement years in their mountainous region and are more likely to marry from their tribal group and invest in a magnificent home. Choice of spouse outside the group often will depend on strategic business calculations and a willingness to relocate in old age.
Kwawus have special relations with the Ga of Accra and assimilate very well. There is also a considerable population of Northern migrants and Ewes who permanently reside among them, exercising Caretaker functions on lands and farms in the fertile Afram Plains.