Ofori Atta I

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Nana Sir Ofori Atta I
Okyenhene of Akyem Abuakwa
Reign1912 – 1943
BornOfori Atta
(1881-10-11)11 October 1881
Died21 August 1943(1943-08-21) (aged 61)
SpouseAgnes Nana Akosua Duodu of Abomosu
HouseOfori Panin Fie of Kyebi

Nana Sir Ofori Atta I, KBE, KT (11 October 1881[1] – 21 August 1943)[2] was the Okyenhene or King of Akyem Abuakwa, one of the most influential kingdoms of the then Gold Coast Colony, from his election in 1912 until his death in 1943.

Ofori Atta was educated in Basel Mission schools and at its Akuropon seminary, now named the Presbyterian College of Education, Akropong. He left the seminary after two years to work as a clerk, and then served in the West African Frontier Force, fighting during the Yaa Asantewaa War.[3] Elected Omanhene of Akyem Abuakwa in 1912, he became the second African member of the Legislative Council in 1916 to represent the Gold Coast, the first being Torgbui Sri II, KMAC, OBE, CBE, the Awoamefia of Anlo, known in private life as Cornelius Kofi Kwawukume from the Adzorvia Royal Family[4] [5] "Ofori Atta was the son of a senior official of the palace; his mother was the descendant of one of the founders of the kingdom.... Once in power, he was determined to return Akyem Abuakwa to its former glory. His approach to politics was a mix of educational modernism and aristocratic nepotism that gave as much importance to merit as it did to blood." [6]

He created the Ofori-Atta dynasty by privileging education both amongst his sons and daughters, through two paths, “one firmly rooted in a concern for binding the state by the traditionally sanctioned method of multiple marriage and the other rooted in his strong case for ‘modernisation’ and ‘progress’.”[7]


He was the brother of Dr J. B. Danquah (a founder of the United Gold Coast Convention, Kwame Nkrumah’s arch rival and one of the Big Six, who collectively led the struggle for the independence of the Gold Coast), and the father of Aaron Ofori-Atta, (the fourth Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana, a Minister of Communications and Minister of Local Government), Adeline Akufo-Addo, (First Lady under the Second Republic), William Ofori Atta (a Minister of Foreign Affairs, Presidential Candidate of the UNC), Dr Akwasi Amoako-Atta (Governor of Bank of Ghana and Finance Minister under the First Republic), Dr Jones Ofori-Atta (Deputy Minister of Finance), and Susan Ofori-Atta (the first female doctor in Ghana). He was the grandfather of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, (Ghana's former Foreign Minister and now President), Ken Ofori-Atta, (Ghana’s current Finance Minister and founder of the Databank Group), and Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin (the Okyenhene, current King of Akyem Abuakwa).


  1. ^ Richard Rathbone, Murder and Politics in Colonial Ghana Archived 2018-04-21 at the Wayback Machine, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1993, p. 27.
  2. ^ Rathbone, Murder and Politics in Colonial Ghana (1993), p. 69.
  3. ^ Roger S. Cocking, The History of Ghana, 2005, p. 295
  4. ^ .cit. in Ho archive No. 0083/s.f/23, 2 Dec. 1947 District Commissioner' speech on the 4th anniversary of Torgbui Sri II)
  5. ^ F. M. Bourret, Ghana: the road to independence, 1919-1957, p. 161.
  6. ^ Esperanza Brizuela-Garcia, "The Past Never Stays Behind: Biographical Narrative and African Colonial History", Journal of Historical Biography 2 (Autumn 2007): pp. 63–83, p. 71.
  7. ^ Rathbone, Murder and Politics in Colonial Ghana (1993), p. 41.