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West African 'Prince' in Coventry, May 1931

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Athelstan
Sheffield
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1 of 9  Fri 30th Aug 2019 4:29pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2019  Total posts:3

Hi everyone. My name is Mel and I'm hoping that someone out there may be able to help with some research that I'm doing at the moment. While researching the British Newspaper Archives for information on a gentleman going by the name of Prince Zulamkah (sometimes spelt Zuluamkah), I came across an entry on page 5 of the Coventry Evening Telegraph for Saturday 16th May 1931, describing his visit to the Triumph motorcycle works. This however was all I could find on his visit to Coventry. Needless to say, that although he had previously claimed to be an Ashanti prince from the island of Ga off the Gold Coast (modern day Ghana), he was most likely to have been a member of the Ga tribal group from the area around the modern city of Accra. As for the island of Ga, that doesn't exist. My interest in him is down to the possibility that he may have been involved as a child or young man with one of the large groups of 'Ashanti' who had been touring Europe and the UK from 1896 onwards. Two visit were made to the UK in 1900 and 1902/3. If anyone has any knowledge of his visit to Coventry, I'd be most interested in hearing about it. Cheers Thumbs up Mel.
West African 'Prince' in Coventry, May 1931
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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2 of 9  Fri 30th Aug 2019 8:28pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1522

Hi Mel. He appears to have been around from at least the 1920’s. I can’t find him in the newspapers before that. His death says he was born in 1897 but on the 1939 census it says 1887. He also appears to have been in a film! I also came across this. I am sorry this does not answer your question but maybe there is a bit of information you have not found. He seems to have been a busy man.
West African 'Prince' in Coventry, May 1931
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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3 of 9  Sat 31st Aug 2019 2:42pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3006

Athelstan. Wasn't it a hoax? It had happened before, a guy named Cole (actor) visited, fooled the Navy in 1910. Italian actor fooled thousands of women that he was a sheik. Virginia Woolf with a bunch of actors (disguised) fooled an admiral, it happened a lot in those days. Ras Prince Monolulu, a tipster, fooled race crowds for many years (Peter Mackay) in the 1920/30's. 1931. If it really happened, that would have been something, the newspaper must have spoken of his visit, before and after - it would be colossal news.
West African 'Prince' in Coventry, May 1931
argon
new milton
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4 of 9  Sat 31st Aug 2019 5:19pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2016  Total posts:224

I may be missing something here, but from what I have found he was a singer in the early part of the 20th century
West African 'Prince' in Coventry, May 1931
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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5 of 9  Sat 31st Aug 2019 8:23pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1522

Yes, Argon I saw that as well, he seems to have done everything!
West African 'Prince' in Coventry, May 1931
Athelstan
Sheffield
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Thread starter
6 of 9  Sun 1st Sep 2019 10:40am  
Member: Joined Aug 2019  Total posts:3

Good morning everyone. Thank you all for replying. Yes, this fellow was a bit of a hoaxer as many of these acts were. However, you have to give them credit for being so convincing, especially over such a long time period. The earliest appearence that I've discovered was in 1921and the latest, so far, is 1943. He did make a record, in either 1927 or 1928. It was entitlled LigiLigi and can be found on the cd Living is Hard: West African Music In Britain, 1927-1928. It is noticable that he's singing in Ga and not Twi, which he would more than likely be doing if he was an Ashanti. But I didn't know about him staring in a film. Anne may I ask where you found the newspaper cutting? Once again thank you for helping. Mel.
West African 'Prince' in Coventry, May 1931
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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7 of 9  Sun 1st Sep 2019 11:25am  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1522

Athelstan, I found that searching on Google, there is another one as well. I searched for Zulankah Henry Prince. This is the site for the one I posted - Zulankah He is listed on the film “Men of Two Worlds“ as the Chief’s Messenger right on the bottom of this list of actors as P Zulankah - Men of Two Worlds The P in his name seems to stand for Prince! This appears to be a free copy of the film. I have not tried it! - Film Edited by member, 1st Sep 2019 11:30 am
West African 'Prince' in Coventry, May 1931
Athelstan
Sheffield
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Thread starter
8 of 9  Sun 1st Sep 2019 3:50pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2019  Total posts:3

Hi Anne, thanks for that info. That's certainly added to what I've found out before. I'll have a look at that film over the next few days. I'd googled his name in the past and never found anything other than sites with the song. But, guess what I've found this time? It turns out that he had a daughter who is the artist Ruth Kole Chargill. And, as she has a website I've just sent a message asking if she would be prepared to answer some questions on her fathers career. So, fingers crossed. If I get a reply, and if anyone is interested I'll let you know what I find out. Cheers for now. Mel.
West African 'Prince' in Coventry, May 1931
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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9 of 9  Tue 3rd Sep 2019 9:38am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3006

Mel, The Ashanti tribe was really As-hanti, British soldiers found it easier to say Ashanti. After several skirmishes over years the British captured it around 1900, called it the Gold Coast because that's all it had. They exiled their Royal Family and top men to the Seychelles, 1900/1. So it's unlikely to me they could have toured Britain or had any dance group, or had any say in their future at that time, so to me everything was a big hoax by a band of showmen. There was a rumour that Gene Krupa (drummer) went to the Gold Coast to learn their drumming techniques - I think that was false also. Now, 1931 Coventry was different than you can imagine, I doubt their was half a dozen African persons in Coventry. It would be interesting to find out if Coventry Hippodrome ever had an African act around that time. All adds up to there would have been more in the papers, had it been genuine.
West African 'Prince' in Coventry, May 1931

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