Kola Is God's Gift: Agricultural Production, Export Initiatives and the Kola Industry in Asante and the Gold Coast C. 1820-1950

By Gebissa, Ezekiel | African Studies Review, December 2006 | Go to article overview

Kola Is God's Gift: Agricultural Production, Export Initiatives and the Kola Industry in Asante and the Gold Coast C. 1820-1950


Gebissa, Ezekiel, African Studies Review


Edmund Abaka. Kola Is God's Gift: Agricultural Production, Export Initiatives and the Kola Industry in Asante and the Gold Coast c. 1820-1950. Athens: Ohio University Press/Oxford: James Currey/Accra: Woeli Publishing, 2005. xv + 173 pp. Maps. Appendixes. Bibliography. Index. $44.95. Cloth. $24.95. Paper.

The kola nut has been a major commodity in West African markets for many centuries, beginning long before its distinct taste provided inspiration for several soft drinks. The nuts are considered a mild stimulant, an important reason the common folk chewed it at naming ceremonies, weddings, funerals, and other social occasions. For the wealthy, kola constituted a luxury and served as a sign of their hospitality and affluence. In the nineteenth century, a vast interlocking grid of commercial networks in the forest and savanna regions facilitated the exchange of large amounts of kola. States that emerged in the forest regions derived revenue from kolarelated activities, while individuals earned their income from engaging in its production and trade. Edmund Abaka's Kola Is God's Gift gives us an account of the Asante-Gold Coast aspect of the kola industry-the expansion of its production, trade, and consumption-between 1820 and 1950.

In the introduction, Abaka proposes to examine the "transformation of kola nuts from an uncultivated indigenous tree to a major cash crop during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries" (1). Throughout the book he reminds us that the history of kola, like that of other psychoactive substances, is a complicated subject, all the more so because it exists at the crossroads of several disciplines: agricultural history, botany and pharmacology, anthropology, economic development, nutrition, and labor history, to say nothing of Asante-Gold Coast cultural studies and political economy. As Abaka says, "kola has multiple histories." He raises the reader's expectations when he promises in the next sentence that his study will explain "some of the changing patterns in consumerism of kola and kola products in Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America..." (3). This is a bit misleading, however, since this book is not a comprehensive account of the place of kola outside of Africa.

Chapter 2 deals with kola's agronomy: the varieties of kola, soils where it thrives, and its propagation, crop yields, methods of harvest, and preservation techniques. In chapter 3 the author successfully debunks what he calls the "wild tree crop theory," a persistent myth that Africans made no conscious effort in the expansion of the tree crop. Kola's dispersion, Abaka argues, was a deliberate act. He offers a critique of the theory of nature, favoring a story of culture in which the Asante state and traders expanded production in response to increasing demand from the Muslim areas of West Africa and emergent markets in Brazil, Europe, and North America. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Kola Is God's Gift: Agricultural Production, Export Initiatives and the Kola Industry in Asante and the Gold Coast C. 1820-1950
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.