A historian, Kweku Darko Ankrah, in narrating the origin of the Fanti ethnic group in Ghana on Happy FM’s ‘Epa Hoa Daben’ show, stated that Fantes came from ‘Timbktu’ in the present day Mali.
On their journey to their present day location, they made several stops.
‘’Their first stop was at present day Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana and fought with the Bono people who were the original inhabitants of Techiman. The Fante people, led by three great warriors known as Obunumankoma, Odapagyan and Oson (the whale, eagle and elephant respectively), arrived at the bank the of river Prah for them to cross the river, Komfo Amona performed a miracle and the river Prah receded to allow the people to cross the river,’’ he narrated.
However, he added that the Wassa people went north and landed at their present day location in the Western Region.
“The Ahanta’s on the other hand walked along the bank of the river Prah and arrived at Shama,” he said.
According to Mr. Ankrah, Obunumankoma and Odapagyan died on this exodus and were embalmed and carried the rest of the way.
” Oson led the people to what would become known as Mankessim.The Fantes arrived at their initial settlement called Adoakyir which was named by its existing inhabitants. But the Fante called ‘Etsi-fue-yifo’, meaning people with bushy hair. The Fantes conquered the people and renamed the settlement to ‘Oman-Kesemu’, meaning big town.”
“The name exists today as Mankessim. The Fantes settled on the land as their first independent kingdom and buried ‘Obunumakankoma’ and ‘Odapagyan’ in a sacred grave called ‘Nana-nom-pow. Komfo Amona’ and also planted the limb of a tree he had brought from the Akan homeland in Krako to see if a place was good for settlement.”
” The day after the priest put the limb in the ground, the people found the plant budding. The tree was named ‘Ebisa-dua’, meaning consulting tree and is one of the most important shrines in Mankessim today.”
Kweku Darko Ankrah also stated that the Fante sub-groups; Ekumfi, Abora, Enyan, Nkusukum and Kurentsir, were the first to settle at Mankessim. They were later joined by the Gomoa, Ajumako, Akatakyi and Edina.
By: Bridget Mensah