THE STORY OF AYKEM BOSOME
Know the Origins of Towns
By: KWAME AMPENE
(Founder of the Guan Historical Society)
The Akyem Bosome State has an interesting history which brought it into close contact with many war-like states. It won many victories but suffered terrible defeats at the hands of war-like neighbours.
The founding fathers, under the leadership of Nana Kwasi Mpem belonged to the Agona clan.
Tradition asserts that they broke off from the parent stock at Nkoho or Mpoho situated on the borders of Wasa (O.S. Wassaw) following humiliation after they had been rejected in a Stool contest. The third ruler of Wasa called Gyankokora was a warrior king, and that the mere mention of his name caused panic among the people living on his land and beyond.
They regarded him as a lion and at his roar all members tremble, bow, pay their respect and keep quiet. Everybody dreaded a visit to his domain, hence the name “Nko ho” (literally meaning “don’t go there”) otherwise you ought to prepare yourself for a rude shock.
Through barbaric oppression, therefore, the Bosome ancestors migrated to Ada-Manso near Bogosu after they had lost their second leader Nana Ntiamoah, in a war. The next leader was Nana Boampadu.
Even at Ada-Manso, the anger of the paramount Chief of Wasa still ran high on them-eleven times, indeed, they repulsed his attacks and the contest continued unabated; during the twelfth encounter they could not stand against the swarming Wasa warriors and, therefore, they abandoned Ada-Manso for Denkyira–Akwabuoho, thence to Mbraem on the Twifo border where after a brief term of peaceful settlement Nana Boampadu expired. The next chief was Oware Agyekum, and there was peace during his short term of office. He was succeeded by Nana Kese Taa.
In those days, a Bosome hunter killed an elephant in the Twifo forest. The Twifo paramount Chief claimed that since he was the aboriginal settler, the elephant’s tail must be presented to him. The distribution of the trophy and the sensational announcement developed into open conflict.
The Twifohene mounted a formidable expedition against his guest, but his army was beaten. However, during the second encounter, the Wasa contingent fought on the side of the Twifo army. Although most of the Bosome able-bodied men were available for the defence of their settlement, they suffered defeat and took refuge in the region of Lake Bosomtwe where they settled at Ahuren together with their Agona clan-brothers.
As time went by, a violent confrontation arose between the Ahuren and Bosome over adultery committed by a royal of the latter with a wife of the Ahuren Chief which resulted in a civil war during which the Bosome suffered a defeat. Emigration continued from there to Omanso, about five-minute walk away, to join one of their womenfolk who had married a prominent person there.
On the sudden death of Nana Kese Taa, the vacant stool was occupied by Nana Ntow Korko. The new chief made war with Asaman over the declaration of ownership of Lake Bosomtwe. In the end, the Asaman won the resounding victory and claimed the Lake.
The chief of Bosome was captured in the war and was succeeded by Gyaasehene Misa Ahweam as Regent, until the installation of Nana Bosompem Ntow. During his reign, a war broke out between Juaben and Kwadutwum. The Bosome assisted the latter whose chief was the clan brother of Bosomehene. When the Juabens won the day, they prepared to attack Bosome, but the people of Bosome would not allow their rights being abrogated. They took a decisive step and made an exodus to the south.
The myth is that the fetish-priest carrying the famous deity Katawere halted at a place where the pad under the pot fell from his head under mysterious circumstances. This incident was considered as a sign of good omen; therefore, a permanent settlement was built at the sacred spot. This is the origin of the name SWEDRU, delivered form the expression, “Soa abeduru” (literally “we have carried you so far”).
The aboriginal settler in the neighbourhood was a hunter by name Asiama from Akyem Nkwantanan, who granted the newcomers land to settle on after Nana Bosompem Ntow had paid on his behalf, a debt amounting to Mpireguan Aduasa, and his village became known as ADUASA. Tradition credits Nana Bosompem Ntow as the leader who acquired the Akyem Bosome land for his subjects.
For the first few years, the Fante at Mankessim under one Adoko began to suspect the newcomers of spying for the Asantehene and planned a surprise attack on them. Thus insecurity to life and property compelled Bosome to retreat and seek refuge father afield passing through Wankyi, Kade, Otumi, Bankume. They arrived at Omanso, their former abode in the Lake District, having travelled all night to conceal their movements.
Upon their arrival, they renewed their allegiance to the Asantehene and served him through the Dadiesoabaahene. When their chief died, a linguist called Oben Apea acted as the Regent. During his regency the two Assin groups living in the neighbourhood suddenly attacked the Bosomes while their able-bodied men had travelled to the coast to procure ammunition. The Assin contingent drove away the few fighting men to the bank of the Pra River where most of them were drowned, including the Aba Komahene, which brought about the Oath “Prah” into being.
After the defeat, Nana Korankye Ampaw was enstooled. He decided, rather impudently, on a total reliance on the Asantehene and served him through Kokofuhene NANA Ofe Akwesim. Once more under the Asante hegemony Bosome followed the Kokofuhene to the Adinkra War. 1818.
They even acquiesced on forfeiting the monopoly of the land they now occupy. They broke through the enemy line and reached the bank of the River Tain. They then forced a passage across the river, wading waist deep. As soon as they reached the opposite bank, news reached them that Adinkra had been captured and decapitated. The Bosome contingent collected booty and withdrew to Kumase in the company of the entire Asante army.
The Bosome lost 120 men and commemorated their heavy loss in the Oath, “Gyaoman”. After the weary of constant fighting and decided to abandon the region. The call for counter emigration to the south went out to the people from all over Asante.
They finally crossed the River to the south and rebuilt the ruins of Swedru amidst tremendous rejoicing.
The Spectator page: 31 Saturday, May 8, 2010