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Theophilus Herman Kofi Opoku

Theophilus Herman Kofi Opoku was a native Akan linguist, translator, philologist, educator , and missionary who became the first indigenous African to be ordained a pastor on Gold Coast soil by the Basel Mission in 1872.

Seminary Studies and Health Struggles

Opoku pursued studies in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, theology, and pedagogy at the Basel Mission Seminary. However, after being diagnosed with a heart ailment, his health deteriorated, prompting him to explore traditional remedies. Eventually, his declining health compelled him to discontinue his seminary studies.

Missionary Work and Ministry Beginnings

Opoku started as a student teacher in Mamfe and later became a catechist in Larteh. Despite encountering resistance to Christianity, he effectively established missions in Larteh. In 1872, Opoku was ordained as a minister of the Basel Mission.

 
 
 
 
 

Ethnographic Research and Travels

Following ordination, Opoku conducted ethnographic research and travelled extensively.He visited Togoland and the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, recording his observations in diaries.

Salaga Expedition and Smallpox

Opoku's expedition to Salaga exposed him to smallpox, which he contracted and recovered from. During his illness, he composed the Christian hymn "Ohoho ne mamfrani na meye wo fam ha."

Later Missionary Assignments

Opoku was assigned to Kukurantumi, Adukrom, Mamfe, and Akropong, where he established missions and attracted new converts. Despite encountering resistance from traditional authorities, he persisted in his ministry.

Retirement and Later Years

Opoku retired from active church duties in 1911 due to declining health. In 1909, he was nominated to the Local Committee of the Basel Mission but had to decline the appointment because of his ill-health.

Death and Legacy

Theophilus Opoku passed away unexpectedly in 1913 while visiting his cocoa farm. His funeral drew attendance from notable figures, and he was honored for his groundbreaking missionary endeavors and translation contributions.