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Nana Kofi Owusu II
Ɔpemsoɔ Osei Tutu captured the original nkofe trumpets in one of his first wars with the Akyem at Adanse Abadwam (in the time of Okyehene Kuntunkunuku). We are told that by the time Osei Tutu and his men got to Adanse Abadwam, the Akyem had retreated, leaving behind their ivory trumpets. The king and his men collected the trumpets and when they got to Kumase, he assigned the name, nkofe, to the trumpets. Nkofe is the name of a village near the spot where they found the trumpets and there may be symbolic reasons for picking this name. Osei Tutu gave the trumpets to Ta Amankwaa, a priest and spiritual advisor at the time, for safe keeping. Since Osei Tutu fought and captured the nkofe, they made sure no other chief could possess similar trumpets as part of their regalia. In fact, there is a general belief that these trumpets were the original kɔkroanya since they accompanied Osei Tutu to various places, including war. However, the nkofe, as we know them today, comprise seven chiefs, dating from the reign of Asantehene Osei Kwadwo (Ɔko Awia-1764-1777) as a result of the Bana Sa (Banda War, circa 1770) with Worosa (see Asomfomfena and Worosati sword). For the Banda war, Osei Kwadwo elected Dadeɛsoabahene to lead the Asante army. Although the Asante eventually defeated Worosa, beheaded him and brought his head to Kumase, several of them perished. As in past wars, Dadeɛsoabahene thought Worosa’s army would take to their heels if they heard the blaring sounds of the Asɔkwafoɔ (trumpeters). So he sent the trumpeters ahead of the infantrymen and when things got worse, several of the Asokwafoɔ perished. Since the immediate environment surrounding Banda was relatively new and the Asante were not immune to diseases in this area, they suffered severe casualties from diseases such as bropete (chicken pox). Those who were seriously affected by diseases were left behind. They intermarried to the extent that presently the Nkofe Fekuo can trace some of their families to Banda Adadeɛm. Understanbly, King Osei Kwadwo was not happy losing most of his cherished Asɔkwafoɔ. Some of them returned with just a surving trumpeter, others with none, others with two or three trumpeters, so the Asantehene asked them to form a single group, took them away from Dadeɛsoabahene and placed them in the care of the Akyeamehene, Boakye Yam. Although all seven chiefs kept their autonomy, the Asantehene gave them a neutral name, nkofe, with the chief of Ta Amankwaa’s stool as the fekutire (head of the group) and Nkofehene. The seven chiefs are the Abɛnbɛn (actual name is Abamoo Abɛn), Nnomua (Ɛdɔm mmoano abɛn), Ankaase mmɛn, Akyerɛmade mmɛn, Adwensodwensobɛn, Gyaaman Mmɛn, and Edwaase mmɛn. They all swear the oath office to Asantehene. Although Nana Nkofehene’s stool, Ta Amankwaa, is situated in Atraman near Kumase, Asantehene Osei Kwadwo settled the newly formed Nkofe Fekuo at Adadeɛm also near Kumase. According to the Nkofehene, they chose the name Adadeɛm in reference to the town in Banda where some of their kinsmen currently live. Following the war, the losses and the experience with diseases became the ntamkɛseɛ (great oath) of the Nkofe group: Me ka Bana sa (I swear the Banda war). It is worth noting that although chiefs who ocassionally represent the Asantehene at ceremonies or funerary rites are allowed to include the ntahera and kɔkroanya trumpets as part of their procession, no chief is allowed to use the nkofe except the Asanthene.
From left to right: Nana Akwasi Assien II (Nnomuahene), Nana Kofi Owusu II (Nkofehene), Nana Osei Kwadwo (Abɛnbɛnhene)
Description: The seven nkofe trumpets are one bɔsoɔ (the reinforcer), four agyesoa (the responders), one afrɛ (the caller) and one seseɛ (the sayer).