The severed head of Ghanaian King Badu Bonsu II, who was executed by colonialists in the 1880’s, was flown back home late on Friday to a solemn traditional ceremony.
A group of tribal leaders who received the bottled head from Dutch authorities a day earlier, were met at Kotoka international airport by government officials and members of the beheaded king’s clan.
The king, who was leader of Ghana’s Ahanta group, is believed to have been decapitated in retaliation for the killing of two Dutch emissaries. His head was taken back to the Netherlands and has been preserved for 170 years in formaldehyde, among the anatomy collection of Dutch’s Leiden University Medical Centre.
After tracing its whereabouts, Ghana went to claim the head last year saying if it remained unburied, the king would be incomplete and therefore “hunted in the afterlife”. —News24.com
Amazing what you can find in a bottle these days.
“In returning the King to his home, the people of Dutchland have righted a wrong,” said a spokesman for the tribe through an interpreter (who might have translated it slightly wrongish). “The Dutch have given good head.” (Not so slightly wrongish.)
Upon learning the alcoholic content of the formaldehyde preservative, the tribe joked that the king’s head was kept “in good spirits.”
There was no discussion of the whereabouts of the rest of the King, but a Ghanaian ambassador speculated that those “savage squat hairy bastards with the funny wigs and short pants probably ate it.” Informed that the Dutch never practiced cannibalism, the ambassador snorted derisively. “They’re slavers,” he said. “For centuries, my ancestors were the secret ingredient of Dutch Chocolate — why do you suppose it’s so sweet?”
The question is, Why now, after 170 years? Touten van Houten from the medical center told reporters that the head no longer had scientific value, and was just a rather ghoulish historic oddity, “like so much of our colonial history. Ever been in Manhattan?”
Photo credits: 2 varieties of Dutch Chocolate