In a patriarchal society such as the Effutu State, the notable traditional homes are invariably those of the male lineages, known locally as prama. One departure from this norm is Sakooso, a female house located in Penkye, next to the Dawur Prama and within some 100 meters away from Otuano. This is the home of the female siblings of the first leaders of the original settlers; Otuano house. Sakooso is a small homestead but became surrounded closely by other houses for defensive purposes, with a high population density.
Sakooso, or whatever it precursor was known, is a female house. It never became prominent in Simpa cultural affairs until sometime in the seventeenth century when Bondze-Asiedu, the most famous son of Sakooso was enthroned the eighth priest-king of the Effutu state. Sakooso was the maternal home of King Bondze Asiedu, and certainly, the monarchs before and after Bondze Asiedu had their respective family homes outside Sakooso, however Sakooso has over the years been accorded that honour. Acculturation of Akan culture introduced the Ebusua (clan) concept into Simpa and today, the descendants of Bondze-Asiedu belong to the branch of the Nsona Ebusua that is named after him. Bondze Asiedu reigned from 1600 to 1666 and established a second Asafo company (Dentsi, Number Two) and created the position of Tufuhen.
The creation of Dentsi Asafo company was also to lead to the emergence of another famous personality in Sakooso –Akwesi Nyaa a fetish priest who is up to this day worshiped as a deity by the Dentsi company. Across the country, a prized possession of the Asafo institution (traditional militia) is the system of deities. In Simpa, deities are to Asafo companies what the Pope is to Catholicism. Bondzie Asiedu decided to make his maternal home, Sakooso, custodians of the first deity of the Dentsi Asafo company. The first priest of the deity was Akwesi Nyaa. With time, Akwesi Nyaa became a powerful fetish priest whose exploits compared to those of his contemporary, Okomfo Anokye of the Ashantis. He was consulted by people from far and near for assistance on various matters and became so renowned in the art of divination that up to this day, some three hundred years after his death, the Dentsi group perform rituals on his shrine in Sakooso every year as part of their preparation for the Aboakyer festival.
The name Sakooso (literally, the white enclave), was said to have been acquired in the eighteenth century at the peak of the colonial mercantile system when Winneba became one of the dozen or so surf ports that dotted the littoral of the Gold Coast. The location of Sakooso, less than 50 metres from the shoreline and surrounded by bonded warehouses, made it a major thoroughfare linking the port to the rest of the settlement. The general view was that, with time, goods such as cement and other powdery stuff spilled onto the unfenced compound as head porters plied their trade. Sakooso, thus, derived its name from the trail of whitish stuff left behind by head porters engaged in the colonial import-export trade. So, whereas the dwelling predates the colonial mercantile system, the name Sakooso gained currency during the peak of the colonial import-export trade. More importantly, whereas the names of the leading prama in the Effutu state were either associated with deities (e.g. Otuano, Akramano, Sakagyaano, Akyeampongano) or their role in the Asafo set up (e.g. Tuafo Police Station), or the name of the first patriarch (e.g. Eyi pramaso, Ekuma pramaso) the name Sakooso was a by-product of the colonial mercantile system.
Socially, Sakooso has undergone two major metamorphoses over the years. The first was its conversion from a predominantly Dentsi stronghold to a Tuafo enclave mainly through marriages. Besides the Akwesi Nyaa shrine, Sakooso was also the custodian of another prized Asafo paraphernalia which underlined its Dentsi beginnings. The gourds used by the women’s group of the Dentsi (adzewa) were housed in Sakooso. Until the 1970s, the group would bring drinks to Sakooso to ask permission to collect the gourds for performance. Towards the end of the 1970s, they were relocated to the newly constructed home of Obaapanyin Araba Nkankrama, a leading member of the group who hailed from Sakooso. Over the years, particularly in the wake of the heightening chieftaincy row, the Densti members have moved out of Sakooso leaving their Tuafo cousins who now dominate the house. The second transformation has to do with the gender composition of the occupants.
In the typical prama of the Effutus, only male occupants are found, as the eldest sons normally take over from the fathers. From the account so far, the male children from Sakooso moved out leaving a predominantly female homestead. Nevertheless, it retains its status as the headquarters of the Bondze Asiedu Nsona Royal clan where annual family gatherings and other important meetings are held. Other kindred homes in Winneba whose occupants trace their roots to Sakooso include Buw-nsi, Otwekwenyibi-anyinase and Maame Sarah-yie. (fie in Akan) In modern times, the descendants of Sakooso have, with the exception of an insignificant few, been unashamed stalwarts and supporters of the cause of the male house, Otuano in the Effutu chieftaincy feud, offering material and moral support in diverse ways.
In late 1997, in recognition of their dedication and contribution to the advancement of the Otuano Stool, the Effutu Paramountcy created a stool (sub-chief) at Sakooso. Its first occupant, Naase Aprekuwa Kese II, was subsequently made the Sanaahene of the Effutu Traditional area. Naase Aprekuwa Kese II was named after Naase Aprekuwa Kese, the only female name of significance in the annals of Sakooso who passed away some two centuries ago. Naase Aprekuwa Kese II is known in private life as Mrs. Victoria Amoo; a beautician, caterer and a businesswoman. In modern times, some eminent sons of Sakooso worth mentioning in the history of Sakooso are Isaac Baiden-Amissah, Sam Odonsu, and Benjamin Kwesi Oppong, Esq. Baiden-Amissah made his name as a brilliant young man working in the colonial civil service. Known locally as Kweku Damboley, his traditional name, Baiden-Amissah rose through the ranks of the colonial judicial service, a fearless advocate of human rights and a budding politician.
He, along with Dowuonna Hammond (who later became the first elected Member of Parliament of Effutu), were the founding members of the Winneba branch of the Convention People Party (CPP) which spearheaded Ghana’s independence struggle. He later parted company with the CPP and contested the 1958 elections as an independent candidate. For his perceived opposition to the CPP, he spent time in detention without trial. He made his fortune as a para-legal brain, a merchant and an importer. He rebuilt Maame Sarah-fie, one of the allied houses of Sakooso; he joined his ancestors in December 1977. Sam Odonsu, became Supi (commander) of the Petu Division of the Dentsi Asafo Company from 1968 to 1987 when he passed on to eternity. Benjamin Oppong was called to the Ghana bar in 1968 and is regarded by many as the first Effutu in living memory to qualify as a lawyer. From 1993 to 2005, he was the first Deputy Commissioner of Ghana’s newly created Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice. He passed away in February 2009.