AKOMA "the heart"


Akoma Ntoaso (Symbol of Understanding, Agreement)

Name/Theme: Akoma Ntoaso/ Understanding, Agreement.

Literal Translation: linked heart (Glover, 1969)

Meaning: Akoma- heart, ntoaso- linkage, linked hearts. This signifies a formal or informal decisions-agreement that people have reached together about something of importance.

Background: This symbol signifies understanding and agreement, which fosters togetherness between towns, institutions, married couples, friends and other relations. The configuration and unification of Asante towns that resulted in the creation of an Asante kingdom in 1701 by the first Asantehene (king), Osei Tutu I, and his spiritual adviser Komfo Anokye arose as a result of the tyrannical rule of Ntim Kakarii the king of the Denkyira kingdom who toppled the then reign of the Adanse kingdom. The provincial towns that made up the configuration are Asumagya, Bekwae, Dwaben, Edweso, Kokofu, and Mampong and their rulers were made amanhene. The Asantehene occupies the supreme stool, the sika dwa or Golden Stool, which is said to have appeared from the sky at the foundation of the kingdom, and which is held to embody the sunsum (national soul) of the Asante people.

Paradoxically the length and breath of the entire kingdom is represented by the four hearts of the Akoma Ntoaso symbol and their link to the circle in the centre signifies the fusion of the hearts, mind and soul of the Asante people into one national soul (kra/sunsum). The highly respected Asantehene then becomes the pivotal role as a cultural focal point for Asante identity. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Asante extended their territories and became one of the most powerful kingdoms in sub-Saharan Africa. Its influence covered most of present-day Ghana and extended into the modern Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Togo.

Moral value: The proverb advises institutions, couples, friends and business partners to avoid going contrary to the agreement entered into. Fair play should prominently feature in agreements which avoid disputes. It also encourages people to enter into agreements in order for them to facilitate commitment and development. This is a symbol of understanding and agreement.

Originator: Papa Dwaben an indigene of Asante-Ntonso is believed to have originated the symbol (Nana Agya Bedu-2007 a Master Artisan at Ntonso). The year of its origination is unknown but it is believed to be during the later reign of Nana Osei Tutu I the founder of the Asante kingdom, who ruled Ashanti kingdom from (1695-1719).

Extract from Cultural Symbolism in Asante Traditional Textiles by ABRAHAM EKOW ASMAH

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