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Gwollu Defence Wall, the Sissala act of human freedom

Kuoro Bamula Basinjia Chiemina, the Divisional Chief of Kandia in the Sissala West District, says the remains of the Gwollu defence wall should be considered as one single act that needs to be celebrated and promoted.

As Ghana celebrates Heritage Month, the Ghana News Agency (GNA) interviewed some individuals about the relevance of the Gwollu defence wall, which was built in the 18th century to protect the residents from being enslaved by slave raiders.

Kuoro Chiemina said it was imperative to highlight the remarkable heritage of the Sissala people, especially the Gwollu Slave Defence Wall as an extraordinary act of human freedom.

Kuoro Chiemina added that the Gwollu wall was not just a physical structure but a symbol of hope, courage, and resistance against the injustice of the slave trade.

He added that it signified the bravery and ingenuity of their forebearers in the face of unimaginable adversity.

He called for an event to be celebrated saying, ‘As we mark Ghana’s heritage Month, we must honour and
celebrate the Sissala from Gwollu and the adjoining areas’ people for their contribution to the fight against the slave trade.

‘We must continue to preserve and protect this heritage for future generations, as a reminder of the atrocities of the past and the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of overwhelming odds’, the Chief observed.

The Executive Director of the Sissala Heritage Foundation told the GNA in an interview that: ‘This wall is a physical testament to the resilience and determination of the people’s forebears in resisting the dehumanising slave trade that was perpetrated against Ghanaians and Africans.’ 

He argued that the wall was a reminder that Africans were not co-conspirators or actors in the slave trade, as some people claim. 

He said the Sissala people, through the Gwollu wall, showed their unwavering commitment to human freedom, civil liberties, and the preservation of human dignity. 

Mr Hara Dauda, a native of Gwollu said the wall symbolised the commitment
of their ancestors and that it would be unfair to limit the wall to only the people of Gwollu as other communities joined to build the wall, which indicated that they were united.

‘The unity of our ancestors- it’s a responsibility on us to use the motivation to develop, it belongs to all of us. There were two walls, an inner one and the bigger one around the town, where the adjoining communities dug a big hole as a trap for the enemy.

‘We have to have the mindsets of our ancestors to protect and develop the area,’ he explained.

Some of the settlers said the name Gwollu meant, ‘Let us surround it,’ to protect the residents and the people from being enslaved and transported to the Western world.

Kuoro Kuri Buktie Limann IV, the Paramount Chief of the Gwollu Traditional Area, said the people of Gwollu built an anti-slavery wall against the raiders whom he said were led by Samori and Babatu Zato.

The anti-slave walls were built of mud, and herbs that had holes in them where the locals hid and pointed their b
ows and arrows at the enemy each time they came to attack, and this eventually protected them from the raiders.

The Paramount Chief appealed to the Government to construct roads linking to those important tourist sites in the region as that could boost tourism and woo investors to the area.

He mentioned those roads to include: Gwollu -Jeffisi-Han-Wa road and the Hamile-Gwollu-Tumu-Navrongo road which, when tarred, would ease the burden of tourists who might want to visit the area.

He also appealed to the Ghana Tourism Authority to be interested in both the history and the relics for posterity.

Kuoro Limann identified Southern Burkina Faso through Gwollu and other towns right up to the Salaga slave Market as places where slaves were gathered and sold.

The GNA also found out that besides Gwollu being the hometown of the first President to have come from Northern Ghana where the tomb of Dr Hilla Liman currently rests, a traditional bone setting centre where bone fractures and dislocations are treated can be
found in Gwollu.

It boasts of a local Viagra that treats men with infertility issues and the crocodile pond, ‘Kalgwe’ where crocodiles are preserved and protected by humans.

Source: Ghana News Agency