​New Chief of Ghanan township "still same old Brian"

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It’s not every day a village can boast that it is the home of royalty.

But that’s exactly what Manby can now claim, as Brian Manson has become the very first white Nana (Chief) in the history of Bamiri in Ghana – but says he’s still “the same old Brian”.

Brian has been ‘enstooled’ as Nana Brian David Manson 1st, Development Chief for Bamiri and as his wife Abigail is a princess of the Kokroko Tuntu Royal Family, he now is too by marriage, as Abigail has also been appointed as Queen Mother.

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Bamiri is a township community of 30,000 residents and forms part of Techiman Municipality, a major township in the Bono East (formerly Brong Ahafo) region of Ghana which has a population of 250,000 inhabitants and boasts West Africa’s largest trading market.

Brian Manson ‘enstooled’ as Nana Brian David Manson 1st, Development Chief for Bamiri, with his wife Abigail.Brian Manson ‘enstooled’ as Nana Brian David Manson 1st, Development Chief for Bamiri, with his wife Abigail.
Brian Manson ‘enstooled’ as Nana Brian David Manson 1st, Development Chief for Bamiri, with his wife Abigail.

The couple met in Ghana in 2010 when Brian was travelling out there, and married in 2011 when she came to the UK and later qualified as a physiotherapist.

Brian, a retired Chief Inspector, served with Lincolnshire Police for 30 years until his retirement in 1997, serving as Inspector for Louth, Horncastle and Mablethorpe from 1988 to 1992.

He has recently retired as a bid writer for St. Andrew’s Hospice in Grimsby, while Abi continues to work in Physiotherapist in Archer Ward at Louth County Hospital, and they now live in Manby.

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His appointment came after the couple were last in Bamiri completing the building of their holiday home, and the Chief there announced that he was going to make Brian the Development Chief (Nana 1) for Bamiri.

Brian and Abigail with the Chief of Bamiri, Nana Asare Baffour 2nd of the Kokroko Tuntu Royal Family.Brian and Abigail with the Chief of Bamiri, Nana Asare Baffour 2nd of the Kokroko Tuntu Royal Family.
Brian and Abigail with the Chief of Bamiri, Nana Asare Baffour 2nd of the Kokroko Tuntu Royal Family.

"It was all very humbling,” Brian said, “Now when I got to the shops, people there are bowing to me and chanting ‘The King is Coming’ in Twi [an Akan language spoken in parts of Ghana] – it’s all been a surreal adventure.”

Brian was enstooled as Nana at the Bamiri Chief’s Palace on April 28 where he swore an oath to the Royal family, and was then welcomed into the Kokroko Tuntu Royal Family, presented with his gold jewellery Kente cloth – a Ghanaian garment worn by royalty.

Brian said that his aim is to raise the profile of Bamiri and encourage the local people to take pride in their community, as there is a lot of plastic waste in the streets and little in terms of recycling.

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"I want to help them to take pride in their community,” he said, “When I was chairman or Cockerington parish council, I got these aluminium signs up which looked great and I want to create a a competition for the university or school students to design a street sign for Bamiri.”

He also intends to utilise the enthusiam of the youngsters who attend the Kokroko Keep Fit Club, a young people’s organisation which he and Abi have been appointed Patrons, and encourage the youngsters to take part in litter picking initiatives.

Nana Brian also wants to encourage and help fund more further education opportunities in the township as after school, few can afford to go to university so try to find jobs either selling items on streets, with girls frequently offering hair braiding, or boys taking on low-paying building aprenticeships.

"Everybody should go to Africa in their lives to see how they live out there,” he said, “You won’t believe the challenges they face every day.”

Brian and Abigail also have plans to create a country park for local families to enjoy, with a visitor centre and library, on some of their newly-gifted land, something unique to Bamiri.