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Rocky's Father: A Local Chief

Learn more about Rocky's father, Chief Nii Adjedu I, and how he went from being a construction foreman in the Bronx to the head chief of a region called Nii Okaiman in Ghana.

In 1970, Emmanuel Otoo immigrated to the United States, where he worked in construction for 30 years; he eventually became a foreman at a construction company in the Bronx, New York. When he retired in 2004, Otoo built a home in a new village called Israel that is located on the outskirts of Accra, the capital of Ghana.

Because of Otoo’s royal lineage and upstanding reputation, the leaders of the local Ga community wanted to elevate him to an official chieftain position and entrust him with a stool. A stool is similar to a throne — it is a traditional symbol of chieftaincy that represents the leader’s status and power. Otoo’s mother descends from the occupants of the Asane stool and his father from the occupants of the Darkuman stool, each of which represents a different geographic area of Accra. Otoo became the head chief, also known as the kingmaker or dzaasetse, of a new area called Nii Okaiman, which encompasses the villages of Tabora, Alhaji, Chanta, Tantra Hill, Israel, Lomnava and Atipoe.

When he became chief, Otoo adopted a new name: Nii Adjedu I. His daily responsibilities as chief include adjudicating family disputes, which revolve around questions of marriage, land ownership and interpersonal relations. He is focused on improving the lives of the people in the villages under his jurisdiction by building roads and medical facilities. The chief, who is in his early seventies, is very active in his local mosque and three times a week he runs through the villages, covering more than 15 miles at a time.

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