THE STORY OF SANTROKOFI
KNOW THE ORIGIN OF TOWNS
(Founder of the Guan Historical Society)
Santrokofi is located in the Hohoe District of the Volta Region. It shares common boundaries with Akpafu to the north and Lolobi to the east. The Santrokofi dialect (sele) and the Likpe dialect (sekpele) are closely related and are barely distinguishable from the Guan language spoken by the aborigines of Ghana.
Santrokofi consists of three towns — the first from Hohoe is Benua, the second is Bume or Abume and the third is Gbodome on the road to Jasikan.
The original homeland of Santorkofi is shrouded in mystery and what is known is from tradition. What is certain is that, like their kith and kin — the Akpafu, Likpe and Lolobi — the Santrokofi founding fathers appear to have emigrated from some area in the Afram-Sene-Pro Basin when the Akan from Adanse overran the basin between 1690-1697.
The Santrokofi were originally called the BALE. However, in the course of migration, they were led by a man called Kofi, hence the expression “sartelo Kofi” i.e. “Our Master Kofi” became corrupted to SANTROKOFI. From the east bank of the Volta River, they moved into the mountainous region close to the Togo border.
They were able to overcome strangers who obstructed them during their attempt to settle on a hilly ground at Olekpo. During their stay on the Olekpo hill, the Asante army invaded the whole area from Nkoya to Buem in 1870, under Adu Bufour. When they got wind of an imminent attack, they declared themselves friends of the Asante, and sued for peace to avoid torture.
While negotiation for peace was in progress, a certain distinguished, forceful and influential woman unexpectedly poured hot tapioca porridge on the head of one of the enemies which urged them to retreat en-masse.
She was nicknamed “Dzanyikpo” meaning “fall down before you know what happens”, from this relative safe abode, the somewhat mobile Satrokofi ancestors moved to a more open country, mainly because of population pressure.
Having left their hilly abode, the Santrokofi made permanent settlement on the lowlands in the following order:
Bume - 1905
Gbodome - 1906
Brnua - 1907
Upon arrival they created a Traditional Area made up of eighteen clans with eighteen divisional chiefs and one paramount chief which rotates within five major clans, upon settlement, they were joined by a group of people who had migrated from Nyagbo between Govie in the south and Tafi in the north.
At first they hid themselves in a cave in the mountains near Alavanyo and Nkonya before reaching Santrokofi where they acquired the name Banyangbowusu.
The Santrokofi who had been mainly agriculturist and skilled hunters, later acquired skill in the use of iron from neighbouring Akpafu specifically for making arrows, spears, knives and other domestic tools. Gbodome mine was sunk at a period of which the present generations have no recollection.
INFORMANT: M.K. Agbodza, the local historian and retired school Teacher
The Spectator Page:31 Saturday, October 9, 2010