Kwasi Boakye (Aquasi Boachi): The First Black Mining Engineer

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Kwasi Boakye was known as an African-Dutch mining engineer who was a Prince of the Ashanti Kingdom, born on the 24th of April 1827. He was the eldest son of Kwaku Dua I’s children, who was the eighth King of the Ashanti kingdom. During and after the enslavement period, many people left Africa to search for greener pastures in America and Europe.

Kwasi Boakye was also one who left the African continent to study together with his cousin, Kwame Poku, while others were forced to leave the continent. An arranged agreement was signed between Kwaku Dua I and King William I, that Kwasi Boakye was to come back with his cousin, Kwame Poku after they were done with their studies which was part of a larger negotiations between the Ashantis about the recruitment of the Ashanti soldiers for the Dutch East Indies Army.

Kwame Poku later returned to the Gold Coast as they had planned, but Boakye did not return, instead he stayed in the Netherlands. He was then trained as a mining engineer at the Delft Royal Academy, where he graduated in 1847. Later in July 1847, Kwasi Boakye had lectures also at the Freiberg Mining Academy in Germany. During his studies there, he stayed with one of his colleagues called Caroline Geudtner at Petersstrasse.

Kwasi Boakye

Boakye was later sent to the Dutch East Indies in 1850, where his superior Cornelius de Groot van Embden discriminated against him, and in that, he received a financial compensation in the year 1857. Boakye became a member and associate for the Dutch East Indies again in 1871. As part of the compensation, he was awarded a place in Bantar Peteh, south of Buitenzorg. He was appointed as an honorary member in 1893. Boakye died in the estate in 1904. He was one of the members of the Association of Civil Engineers which was later changed to Association of Delft Engineers.

One of the Dutch writers Arthur Japin has written a historical fiction novel based on the Boachi brothers’ lives, The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi which was released in 1997.

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