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The story of a Ghanaian king whose birth is linked to a mysterious leopard



To date, there is a statue of him mounted in the central area of Kumasi – one of a man with a gong-gong standing on a leopard.

His birth was remarkable, one that can never be forgotten in the history of the Ashanti land. An extraordinary birth of a royal.

The story is told of how in August 1892, a dangerous leopard had besieged Kumasi. After this was announced to residents by gong-gong beaters, then Asantehene – Nana Kwaku Dua III, summoned all skilled hunters and warriors with very clear instructions “Catch the leopard alive”.

While the search was going on the same day, a young royal – Nana Abakoma who resided in Edweso Besease, a few kilometers from the palace was ready to have a baby for her husband; Nana Kwaku Owusu.

According to information by History Ghana, credited to Nana Yaw Afre, Nana Abakoma was a princess and granddaughter of Asantehemaa Nana Afua Kobi I.

As fate will have it, the leopard was captured alive at Dominase (a ward in Kumasi) but only after it had killed two persons and injured 5 others.

Just about the same time the capture of the leopard was announced to the Asantehene, the ‘mmagyegyefo’ (royal midwives) had also arrived to announce the delivery of the royal baby by Nana Abakoma.

The King; Nana Kwaku Dua who was awed by both events proclaimed that the baby is named – Barima Kwame Kyeretwie. Kyeretwie in Twi is translated as “Catch the leopard” to signify the victory of the warriors over this leopard.

Barima Kwame Kyeretwie later became the 14th Asantehene with the stool name Otumfuo Osei Tutu Agyeman Prempeh II.

A kente cloth has also been designed and named after this event. The literal meaning of this beautiful traditional hand-woven kente cloth is “the lion catcher”.



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