British Columbia

The Return of the King: B.C. landscaper crowned African chief returns to Canada

Eric Manu left his landscaping job in B.C. to take his place as chief of an Akan tribe of Ghana last year. But now he's back in Canada — and back landscaping — in an effort to help his people.

Eric Manu, chief of an Akan tribe in Ghana, has returned to Canada to help his tribe

Eric Manu wears his ceremonial garb. Manu is back in Canada to help his tribe improve their living conditions through his landscaping job. (CBC)

Last year, Eric Manu left his landscaping job in Langley to take his rightful place as the crowned chief of a West African tribe.

But now he's back in the Lower Mainland to help his Akan tribe in Ghana improve their lives by working, once again, as a landscaper and sending money back.

"The [Ghanaian] government wasn't really concentrating on those villages, cottages or hinterlands. Their focus was mainly in the cities. And that was really, really, really disturbing," he told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

"They were having challenges with their borehole water system, electricity, telecommunications network … the hospital, poor facilities."

Manu will also be looking for philanthropic gifts and partnerships while in Canada.

'I feel like I am for the people'

Manu moved to Canada in 2012, but inherited the position of chief when his uncle died at age 67 in 2015.

Eric Manu says being the chief of his tribe has made him more mature. (CBC)

He says being in the position has made him "serious and flexible": serious when administering his tribe but flexible enough to adapt to what his people need.

"I feel like I am for the people and I'm accountable and responsible and they look up to me," he said. "It makes me a totally changed person."

"I feel more mature. It gives me a broadened idea and mind to think far and accept people, irrespective of who they are. Either young or old, physically challenged or able. Everybody."

Manu says he has had to be a strong advocate when dealing with the Ghanaian government. He was able to get the country's vice president to look at the conditions of the village, he says, adding it was an eye-opening experience for the politician.

He says after living in Canada, he wants to make sure everyone thrives in his community.

"I really want my home, my village, to be 'Second Canada,'" he said.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: The Return of the King: B.C. landscaper crowned African chief returns to Canada