The Story of Kumawu
Know the origin of towns
By: Kwame Ampene
The ruling Aduana clan members of KUMAWU in Asante preserve their tradition of having migrated to their present abode from Bodomase from Jamase, to Jamase from Abira near Kwaman (kumase), to Abira from Apienyinase (about 22km from Asanse Ahinsan), to Ahinsan from Asumegya, the meeting place of a number of Aduana clan members, comprising the royals of Dormaa, Wam, Kumawu, Boaman, Agogo, Kwaso, Abodom, Apomase, Gyakye and many others.
Oral tradition of the states enumerated here are unanimous that the Aduana families were fond of quarrelling among themselves. Subsequently, they scattered to many parts of the country, leaving behind Asumegya at the spot whence ‘they sprung’. The name Asumegya is derived from two words: ‘Asuben’ and ‘Agya’ lit. ‘on the other side of the Asuben River’.
The founding fathers of Kumawu left Asumegya under the leadership of two royals, namely Adoforowa and his sister Seni Fonton. The male ruler unexpectedly died at Abira and was succeeded by kwadwo Twe, a famous blacksmith, who took them on a last leg of their journey at Agyaase (now Kumawu). Soon they discovered that some strange people lived in the neighbourhood at a place called Bankafo. They were subsequently subdued in a single combat.
Kwadwo Twe died and was succeeded by his brother Kofi Akwatia. Nothing noteworthy happened in his time, except that the ancestress, Seni Fanton, died in his time.
The next ruler was kwadwo Fekai. During his time Kwaman had begun to assume a position of importance. And according to W. E Ward: “Okomfo Anokye began moving the capital town at the place where either one grew and flourished. One of them, sure enough, died, and its palce has ever since been called KUMAWU. The other one lived and grew, and Osei Tutu built his new town KUMASE underneath its shade (vide: ‘A short History of Ghana’, p. 30).
During the time of Fekai, there was a powerful Guan king called Ataara Ofinam VII whose kingdom extended from the west bank of the Volta River to the borders of Tekyiman and Denkyira. The tyrannical rule of the king compelled all the states on the western periphery to rebel. Initially, the Kumawuhene formed an alliance with the Agogohene, Ofori Kobon who lived at Satinso on the Afram palin, and kwamanhene Ntori Nimpa, who live at Suminakese (now Ntonso).
As the war progressed, they were joined by the Nsutahene Oduro Panyin (son of the Agogohene) the Kwawuhene Odiawuo, the Bukuruwahene Kwao Baadu, Mamponhene Akuamoa Panyin. Other chiefs who contributed contigents were Beposohene, Asokoehene, Tafohene and Samanhene (now Atebubuhene) who had their grievances to avenge the Guan king.
At the peak of war, the kumawu contingent from kumawu discovered a barn of maize; Nana Fekai himself volunteered to inspect it not knowing that there was a leper hidden inside. He shot Nana Fekai at close range and he died instantly. The corpse was wrapped in local coarse blanket called “nsaa” or “nsabu” and carried to a secret spot on the Plains where it was laid in state. This place was later known as Sabuso. Thus “Meka Ajade” (I speak the Great Oath of Ajade). It became sacrosanct.
Immediately, the command of Kumawu troops devolved upon Tweneboa Kodua, and with courage and determination the allied forces became victorious. King Ataara Ofinam VII fled across the Volta to the east bank and vanished into thin air. This is how all the Akan chiefs on the western fringes of the plain came to own lands on the Afram Plains after the war which lasted for seven years, 1690-7.
A metal vessel of remarkable workmanship was captured from the king. It is known as the “Abammo” pot. Once a year, it is cleaned and polished and carried round the town, followed by all the women who have delivered twins. Every person who meets it must present it with a gift (see: R.S. Rattray, ‘Ashanti Law and Constitution’, 1956,p. 218).
It is absolutely clear from oral tradition that at this time all the Kwaman states, including Kumawu, had come under the suzerainty of the king of Denkyira, Ntim Gyakari. On account of his tyrannical rule everyone hated him and waited for the time his power should fall. Osei Tutu who was endowed with great talent, courage and organizing ability was assisted by his priest friend, Okomfo Anokye, to complete the formation of the Asante Union, ready to overthrow the Denkyira yoke.
As W.E Ward has pointed out “Okomfo Anokye” found a man called Tweneboa Kdua from Kumawu who agreed to give up his life so that the Asante army should win the war. In return for this, Osei Tutu promised him that none of his descendants should ever be punished with death, whatever offence they might commit” (Ward, op.cit. p.33)
Military service was also made compulsory for every able-bodied male. The various contingents assembled at Feyiase between Kutenase and Kumase. Tweneboa Kodua was the first to fall in battle, and in the end the Asante imposed a decisive defeat on Denkyira. The body of Tweneboa was brought back for burial. His successor was Kwabena Asumadu.
The Horn Call of Kumawuhene goes like this: “Asante kotoko, wobekae me” ie. ‘Asante Kotoko, you will forever remember me’ “The rest of Kumawu Stool History which, of course need not concern us here, had been documented by Rattray in” Asante Law and Constitution”, 1956, p.220-222.
Finally, Kumawu was one of the two towns suggested by Okomfo Anokye to be the capital town of the early Kwaman States. Then Tweneboa Kodua of Kumawu gave up his life so that Asante army would win the war against the Denkyira. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that Kumawu was of some importance too.
The Spectator Page: 31 Thursday, April 21, 2011