Priest, father, son, anthropologist, consultant, educator, instructor, counselor, trainer/coordinator, Nana Kwabena Aboagye Brown had little choice in being what he is today. Born in the midst of a world changed by the Second World War, he was nurtured in a proud West Indian household that stressed a sense of culture and identity. From a mother whose strong guiding hand and smiling supportive face molded and shaped him, he grew into a young man in the 1950s and 60s who had a desire to explore the intricacies of culture and spirit that bonded people together. This natural-haired woman whom we know as Iyalode, not only gave him life, but also she gave him and others so much more. Through her, he got his jump-start that propelled him into a journey along the spiritual path that has taken him all over the world. Through his mother and her mother, he gained a sense of what is right, what is decent, and what is culture.
The myth that had been propagated by white racist anthropologists and sociologists that people of color had no culture to speak of fell on deaf ears in their household. Nana’s grandfather, a Garveyite, would never allow their offspring to fall victim to the racial trap of inferiority. Preaching the doctrine of “Africa for the Africans,” this West Indian family personified the positive attributes of Garveyism. They sunk their roots deep into the earth of racial identity and culture pride. Migrating from New York to Washington, DC, the family brought this cultural awareness and desire to educate their people to Eighth Street Southeast to Zaro’s House of Africa. This mecca of African art and artifacts became one of the focal points of the establishment of the Akan religion in the Washington Metropolitan area. Their vision was further fueled by Nana’s mother, who introduced Nana Kwabena to Nana Yao Opare Dinizulu, who was one of the chief architects for the introduction of African culture to the United States. It was this association that helped Nana shape the foundation of his beliefs for the development of study groups and then the African Cultural and Religious Society.
Nana Kwabena’s studies of the religious and the spiritual have taken him from the esoteric to the metaphysical to the scholastic realms of knowledge. His teachers have been many and varied. In his quest to introduce people to a spiritual path, he has studied under a variety of masters. They include: Yete Tete, a Bukor who taught him the ethical nature of spiritual work; Okyeame Donkoh, who first introduced him to Nana Oparabeah, the Chief Priestess of Akonedi, who taught him about divination, working with the spirits and with the various shrines in Ghana, and is still a teacher to him. There was Dr. Don Eubanks of the Howard University Divinity School, an outstanding scholar who helped Nana to develop into a scholarly and spiritual man. Professor Rema Karifa Smart of Howard University showed Nana the essence of religion as an agent for social change. Dr. Leon Wright gave Nana the metaphysical understanding of applied spirituality. Nana Kofi Donkoh from Techiman gave him the knowledge of herbs and medicines for spiritual work. Kofi Ifa, son of Kofi Donkoh, provided Nana with a greater understanding of the skills and techniques of spiritual work. Also there was Perizade Nyak Khan, a Sufi mystic with whom Nana spent two wonderful summers at the age of twenty-one; from him he learned meditation techniques and concepts of spiritual evolution.
As a result of his studies, Nana has attained two Masters degrees, one in Community Education, the other in Religious Studies. He has also become an ordained Traditional African priest and instructor.
As a man who became involved in the African Cultural Revolution to achieve black pride in the 60s and 70s, Nana has strived to show that God has a plan for the Black man. His beliefs are focused on the concept that every culture has something mystical, something to address the spiritual needs of its people. He envisions African culture and religion as the catalyst for African people to empower themselves. This can be achieved through aligning themselves with the primordial forces of the cosmos. His belief in the African’s innate spirituality is the driving force behind his dedication to developing social programs for at-risk youths. His desire is to assist them in preparing for a positive future that is devoid of drugs, violence, and disease.
As the Chief Priest of the Temple of Nyame, Nana Kwabena Aboagye Brown has been a tireless servant to the people. He continues to provide counseling, Rites of Passage, and consultations on African religions and cultural practices. He continues to be a committed, compassionate, passionate and emotional servant of the people.