King From Ghana Arrives in Easton
Nii Guate of Ghana's Ga people -- who lived in the Easton area for nine years -- is on mission of peace in America.
Dressed in a bright red turban and a blue and gold sash, Nii Guate Asuasa Ekase Ako II of Ghana's Ga people announced his presence in Easton Monday.
In the 1990s, Nii Guate -- then going by his birth name "John Quartey" -- attended Easton Area High School, and lived in Palmer Township before returning to Africa.
"Easton is a historic city, and I'm very proud to be an Eastonian," Guate said.
And when he returned home, Guate said, he was crowed the supreme ruler of the Ga, part of what he described as an ancient bloodline.
For the next two weeks, he'll be in the United States on what he's describing as a mission of peace, aimed at promoting free and fair elections in his homeland.
It's not that Ghana is a particularly violent place, Guate told reporters Monday at a city hall news conference that functioned as a fairly detailed history of Ghana.
But he argued that nearby nations like Mali, Togo and Ivory Coast should serve as cautionary examples for Ghanians.
"We have to be careful not to say 'What happened to our neighbors couldn't happen to us,'" Nii Guate said.
Over the next two weeks, he plans to visit New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Trenton, York, Reading, Lancaster, Allentown and Kutztown to gain support for his mission.
Closer to home, he'll make appearances at the Easton Farmers' Market Saturday and Heritage Day on Sunday, Mayor Sal Panto said. The mayor said there will also be a reception for Guate Friday evening at the Grand Eastonian.
Guate brought with him William Akuffo of Ghallywood, a Ghanian film school, and Reginald Ffoulkes Crabbe of Ghana's YMCA.
Akuffo is making a documentary of Guate's visit to Easton, which will include footage of his crowning ceremony.
"The documentary will prove that what they call 'the chief' is really a king," Panto said, referring to numerous claims from people in Ghana and in the U.S. that Guate is not actually a king but a lower-level chief.
"We're not chiefs," Guate said of his position. "If you take the definition of a king and the definition of a chief, there's a big difference."
He told reporters his bloodline goes back to the year 200 A.D., with his ancestors waging major wars and playing an important role in Ghana's independence. Guate himself was crowned prince when he was four years old.
"And then I had to be like any kid," he said. That meant coming to Easton for his education. Guate graduated from Easton Area High School in 1998 and went on to get a degree in business administration from Allentown Business School.