Community members reconstructing the ancient mosque
Community members reconstructing the ancient mosque

The ancient Bole Mosque: Reconstructed to preserve history

In the heart of the Savannah Regional town of Bole is a historic Sudanese-styled mosque; one of the oldest ancient mosques in Ghana.

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Akin to the famous Larabanga Mosque, the spiritual monument, popularly referred to as the Bole Mosque, boasts of a distinctive architectural design and can take a maximum of 50 worshippers at a time.

The ancient mosque has not only been a place of worship for the local community for the past centuries but has also served as a site of attraction for thousands of visitors from far and near due to its unique history and architectural style.

It was originally constructed with mud and supported by wooden poles, and for four centuries stood as a testament to the rich history and tradition of the Gonja Kingdom, according to the caretakers.

Mosque collapse

Built by the ancestors of the community some 400 years ago, the mosque had not seen any major renovation over the years.

This resulted in its partial collapse in September 2023 following a torrential rainfall which flooded parts of the Bole community.

The news of its collapse attracted national attention with calls for its reconstruction.

Following the development, sons and daughters of Bole and other well-meaning Ghanaians immediately mobilised funds for the restoration of the monument.

Reconstruction

The reconstruction work was undertaken by the local Muslim community in Nyimange, a suburb of Bole.

Maintaining its originality and historical authenticity, the local architects used the same materials used to build the mosque over 400 years ago with the primary materials being anthills, which was known to withstand torrential rains and other harsh weather conditions, cow dung, oil and tree starch among others.

They also mirrored the techniques employed by their ancestors.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, a caretaker of the Mosque, Zackaria Nyimange, indicated that so far the first phase of the project which included raising the building up to its original form had been completed, with painting and other finishing touches remaining.

He narrated that the mosque was constructed by their ancestors some four centuries ago, for which reason they strived hard to preserve its history and give it a befitting facelift.

The reconstructed ancient Bole mosque

The reconstructed ancient Bole mosque

“The mosque is sacred so a lot of people come here to have a look at it and offer supplications, but little attention is given to it,” he noted.

For his part, an Imam of the Bole ancient Mosque, Alhaji Abdallah Nuhu, thanked all those who contributed in cash or kind towards the restoration of the facility, while appealing for more support to enable them to complete the project.

GMMB, GTA visits

Following the collapse of the mosque last year, officials of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB), Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and other tourism related organisations visited the facility to assess the situation.

They pledged to reconstruct the historic mosque with the highest standards of preservation and authenticity as soon as possible.

The Head of the Monuments Division of the GMMB, Bernard Agyiri Sackey, underscored the need to preserve the historical site for future generations.

However, the community members are yet to hear from them.

There are four of such mosques at Bole, Larabanga, Maluwe and Banda Nkwanta, all located in the Savannah Region.

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They have a unique architecture of ancient Sudanese influence which led to the formation of predominantly Islamic communities in northern Ghana, especially in the Gonja and Wala states.

However, currently none of them has been developed by authorities to preserve the heritage of the people and also boost the tourism potential of the area.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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