AUTHOR PROFILE: CHRISTIANA OWARE KNUDSEN
CHRISTIANA OWARE KNUDSEN was born and brought up in Ghana. As a young, newly trained schoolteacher, she met the Danish, medical doctor, Peder Christian Kjaerulff Knudsen, at Koforidua, Ghana in 1955. They married and had three children. Later on they moved to Denmark to settle. However, her family connection with Denmark goes back long before she met her husband. As the book, The Theologian Slave Trader shows, her mother’s family legend is interwoven in the affairs with the Danish slave-trading fortress, Christiansborg, over three hundred years ago. Also, over one hundred and fifty years ago, Christiana Oware Knudsen’s grandfather, Nana Kwaku (O)Ware, a regional chief, the ‘Gyasehene’, of the kingdom of Akyem Abuakwa, traded with the Danes for Danish guns, gunpowder and schnapps in his young days. This family trade continued with the British, after Christiansborg Fortress was sold to the British in 1850.
Christiana Oware Knudsen holds a Cand Phil. degree in Social Anthropology from Aarhus University, Denmark. She has carried out research and published books in the field of Female Circumcision (The Falling Dawadawa tree: Female Circumcision In Developing Ghana, 1994), and Tribal Markings in Ghana, (The Patterned Skin: Ethnic Scarification In Developing Ghana, 2000). She has also researched in the UK, on topics such as Distant Spiritual-Healing as complementary to medical health care.
Her Ph.D. degree was awarded by Derby University, England, and her theses is to be found in the British Library, London. Recently, she has published a satire (Christiansborg Fort: Danish West Africa Revisited, 2008) about Danish tourists failures to reach their destination: the old Christiansborg Fortress in modern Ghana, due to their serious problems with excessive materialism.
Now a pensioner, she continues to research and write about certain special diseases that modern medical science cannot yet cure but just control, but a few African Medicine Men & Women (Witch Doctors) in Africa can cure.
The Theologian Slave Trader
A Personal commentary on Fredericus Svane Africanus’ autobiography.
The Theologian Slave Trader explores the life of Fredericus Petersen, a mulatto adopted in 1710 by a Danish Lutheran Priest at Christiansborg Fort in what is now Ghana and who was subsequently brought back to Denmark as a teenager. The Danish king, no less, Frederik IV, was his godfather. Fredericus Petersen wrote a compelling autobiography which for many years has been largely ignored.
In The Theologian Slave Trader, Dr Christiana Oware Knudsen, herself a Ghanaian who for 50 years has lived in Denmark, brings this autobiography, The General Declaration, to life and contemporary relevance by contextualising Africanus’ experience within a personal commentary on her personal family history in Ghana.
Dr Knudsen approaches this historical material with the lively and engaging approach of an African story-teller, interweaving historical facts with family legends and documented impressions of the period. In so doing, she also poses a number of challenging contemporary questions about aspects of our understanding of slavery and inter-cultural relations.
The Patterned Skin: Ethnic Scarification in developing Ghana
Ethnic scarification has always played an important cultural role in the distinction between many ethnic groups of the African continent. But what is the significance and the meaning of the numerous different marks? Do they merely serve as identification marks or do they serve other purposes as well? These are some of the questions covered by this comprehensively illustrated book.
Although written in the context of anthropological research the book may be useful for anybody interested in the ethnic complexity of Ghana as a handbook of scarification marks it will be a practical tool for both scholars and lay persons, such as travellers visiting Ghana or Ghanaians studying part of the cultural heritage of their post-colonial nation.
The book contains more than 250 indexed b/w illustrations with the ethnic markings of all cultural groups in Ghana
Ancient West African Women: Toppled Cornerstones
The period between the 9th and the 19th centuries was a dark period in the history of West African Women. The effect of this dark period continues today, in part, in the form of persistent gender inequalities.
Prior to this period, ancient West African women were empowered to the point that they effectively organised their own societies in ways that helped complement their interaction with men. In those instances, matriarchal inheritance systems ruled. The phenomenon of females ruling societies was based on the basic acknowledgement that all men and women, great or humble, emerged into this world from the womb of a woman.
However, these matrilineal cultures were gradually destroyed by the arrival of, first, Islam, then the North Atlantic chattel slave trade, colonisation and, finally, Christianity. Slave trading was taking place across the world, but chattel slavery was first introduced in West Africa by a number of Western European countries.
Ancient West African Women is a short, crisp book which systematically explains how women in ancient West African tribes migrated from the Nile Valley in Egypt westwards to an area south of the Sahara, which we now know as West Africa. The book also polemically explores the lasting impact of chattel slave trading, colonization, Christianization and Islamization on the standing of West African women.