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General News of Tuesday, 2 March 2021


GhanaMonth: History behind the naming of Manhyia, Bantama, and Asokwa in Kumasi

File: The Manhyia Palace Museum in Kumasi File: The Manhyia Palace Museum in Kumasi

On the second day of our Ghana Month series, our compasses landed on the Ashanti Region. It is no secret that the Region has very popular places with some interesting names, including the town where the palace of the King, Osei Tutu II is located.

What are the stories behind some of these names? Let’s take a look at what oral history has to say about Manhyia, Bantama and Asokwa.


Manhyia is a town in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, in Central Kumasi specifically. The word ‘Manhyia’ is an Akan term which means a place where a state meets. It is from two words, Oman and nhyia3.

In the past, the area was used as a gathering place for state activities. It is also a place where chiefs swore an oath of allegiance before the Asantehene.

According to ghanaplacenames, the Asantehene’s palace, a museum, an office for processing stool and land documents and the Asantehene’s secretariat are all located here. It is also used as a place for state gatherings and important traditional events including the Akwasidae. It also serves as a court for settling chieftaincy disputes.


Bantama is a suburb of Kumasi and is located in the Kumasi Metropolitan district of the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Oral history has it that, the creation and subsequent consecration of the golden stool took place at a place known as Pimpimso; a spot located within the premises of present-day Uadarra Army Barracks in Kumasi.

Per the narrative, Akwasi Baa, who was the son of Nana Adu Gyamfi of Wonoo and belonged to the Twafoo group of the area, was weeding the path that led to Pimpimso. In the process, he lost his cloth in a stream in the area.

Per the narrative documented by ghanaplacenames, people in the area started calling Pimpimso and its surroundings Baa-Ntoma to translate, the cloth of Baa; son of Nana Adu Gyamfi.

This was later corrupted to become ‘Bantama’ which has remained the name of the area till today.

A busy street in Bantama


Asokwa is a town in Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. History has it that, ‘asokwafo)’ was the term by which trumpeters in Kumasi were known. ‘Asokwafo)’ is from two words; ‘Asokwa’ and ‘fo)’, coming together to mean the ‘Asokwa people.

Ghanaplacenames which references authors Rattray and Wilks indicates that, the term could have emerged from the word ‘asokoben’, the term for ‘elephant horn’ or a horn made from the tusk of an elephant, which the trumpeters used every night they trained.

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