Published on December 23, 2022.
By: Priscilla Wiredu
1964 was the year that my grandfather, Reverend Abraham Osei Asibey, discovered Atwea Mountain. It was a crucial year in Ghanaian culture and religion. Upon discovery, my grandfather viewed the mountain as a sacred place of prayer to help those who believed in God and to encourage Christianity and virtue.
Atwea mountain is arguably one of the most popular prayer locations and tourist attractions in Ghana. It is also the most talked about prayer mountain in Africa. It is located in the Sekyere Central district of the Ashanti region. This video is a documentary that allegedly gives a detailed description about this mountain, along with the miracles and wonders that it offers to its visitors. However, the documentary leaves out and misrepresents some important facts, and those shall be debunked today.
In this article, I decided to interview my mother, Barbara Afrakomah Wiredu, about the discovery of Atwea mountain. She was one of my grandfather’s helpers who went with him to discover the mountain, set it up, and lived there for some time.
Here is the original, exclusive tale of Atwea Mountain.
- I understand there are some discrepancies with what the video says. What really happened on Atwea Mountain?
It is always important to start from the beginning. We were a Christian family. We had a ritual every morning; wake up at five AM to gather around each other and pray. One day, my father told us he received a message from God; that he needed to build a prayer sanctuary on a mountain. My mother, Beatrice Osei-Asibey, asked him “Where? And who builds on a mountain?” My father was not sure how to start, but he was going to find the destination.
My father, accompanied by his driver, Mr. Boateng, and his secretary, Mr. Boamah, drove from Effiduase where we were stationed at the time. One aspect the video misrepresents is that my father was stationed in Accra, which he never was. It was not until the evening when he announced that he had found the place: Abasoa Atwea. He then ordered my mother to start baking lots of bread, cake, and food, because they were heading up there and staying for three days.
2. Why did grandpa want to make a prayer mountain?
My father was a firm believer in sacrifice and wanted Atwea mountain to be some form of pilgrimage to believers. Atwea Mountain has long winding steps that one must take in order to reach the top, and only those who are dedicated to their religion and would do anything for God are capable of reaching the mountain. With hard work, you are worthy of praising God on the mountain and being blessed. That is what your grandfather believed.
3. What was it like the first day there?
The first day was the most difficult. It took a whole day to reach the top of the mountain. By sunset, the view was magical and spiritual. Even though I was a child at the time, I felt the power of the mountain, if that makes sense. The following morning was just as magical. The mountain was silent, and we had slept on onion-like weeds that substituted mattresses—we were well rested.
My father had gathered all of us around and sang this wonderful song in a loud booming voice: “OYAME MEYI WO AYE DAA.” We all joined in, and we could all feel the spiritual energy of God among us. It was such a magical moment because animals did not utter a sound or make a movement. The mountain dew started to form and the rays of the sun sliced through the trees. The dew dispersed into a purplish fog that swirled around a particular spot before vanishing.
My father then put a stick in the ground of said spot to mark where the cross will be mounted. When the song was over, it was like the animals came back to life, making loud sounds and moving about. This was the moment we believed we had found the perfect mountain. The following days were exhausting too, with my mother baking food for everyone who visited,and my dad calling her to come kill snakes that he had found on the mountain, ha-ha.
4. Did you or grandpa ever think it would become famous?
I do not think he imagined it was going to be famous. He wanted it to be a quiet, holy place, not something for commercialization. The point of Atwea Mountain was to climb the mountain to “meet God.” However, as the mountain was gaining popularity, it received international attention and grandpa was even beckoned to meet the Queen Mother Elizabeth to praise him on behalf of his discovery.
5. Can you describe the landscape of the mountain?
Today, the landscape is in a sad condition. When I was on the mountain, there were small onion-like weeds that acted as carpeting for the mountain. Beautiful luscious trees everywhere that clustered together, with the sun shining through beautifully. It was an amazing sight. Your grandfather was able to protect everyone from dangerous edges, he used to call it “Ekono Mu,” as if he had a personal relationship with the mountain. Now, the prayer mountain is bare; no trees, no organic carpeting, sweltering heat from the sun. How can anyone connect with God now?
6. What is one memory you have of Atwea Mountain?
One memory I will never forget is the purple mist I mentioned earlier. The mist swirled in a way that still mesmerizes me. I feel as though something magical had happened upon laying eyes on that purple mist. So many people have witnessed this purple mist, and became born-again Christians. When Atwea Mountain was too popularized, your grandfather lost interest in it and set off to find another mountain. However, he will always be remembered as the founder of Atwea Mountain in Ghanaian culture and history.
7. What is something you wish people would know about Atwea Mountain?
I want everyone to know that this mountain was chosen, in a way, by God. You go there to take a fast and pray, not to eat. When I was there, all we did was fast and pray with my family. The mountain was chosen by God, and it should be treated as so. Nowadays, it is seen as a tourist attraction more than a sanctuary for worship. As my father claimed, it was a place of pilgrimage; you slept on rocks, you did not sell anything on the mountain, you stayed there to connect with God and be blessed.
My grandfather, Abraham Osei-Asibey passed away in 1989, his wife, my grandmother Beatrice passed away in 1984. They were both hardworking religious individuals who brought their children into the Ghanaian wilderness and the unknown to support their beliefs and create a sanctuary for Ghana. My mother, Barbara is blessed to have been there the first day, as I am blessed by the legacy of Atwea Mountain.
Reverend Abraham Osei-Asibey is survived by his children:
Matthew Osei Asibey
Agnes Sisi Osei Asibey
Barbara Afrakomah Wiredu
B. Ataa Osei Asibey
Who bore him many grandchildren and great grandchildren.