The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital located in Kumasi is the second largest hospital in Ghana, and serves as the only tertiary health institution in the Ashanti Region. It is also the unlikely setting of the Okomfo Anokye Sword Site, a site that is sacred to the Ashanti people.

This small, yellow and red building houses the Komfo Anokye Sword, a symbol of the unity and strength of the Ashanti people.

 

The sword is buried in the ground and sealed off by a circular concrete wall. Laid neatly around the hilt of the sword are bottles of schnapps, evidence of libation, a ritual of pouring liquid as an offering to a god or deity.
A replica of the sword. The sword is a symbol of unity and strength of the Ashanti people. Okomfo Anokye, a high priest and co-founder of the Ashanti kingdom, planted the sword here over three centuries ago, and it is believed that the sword is unmovable.

 

A small statue on display depicting Okomfo Anokye the Fetish priest. According to Ashanti legend, Okomfo Anokye was born with dreadlocks on his head, and could perform miracles and magic rituals from a young age. His magic rituals aided the Ashanti people in defeating Denkyira, a nearby Akan state. It is also believed that he could turn into a woman and make indents on rocks with his feet.
A picture of the Ashanti Kings hanging on the wall, and the sword replica on the table.

Many people had attempted, and failed, to pull the sword out, such as former professional boxer Muhammad Ali. In 1996, the sword site was built and visitors were no longer allowed to touch the sword.

Michael Oduro, the curator of the Okomfo Anokye Sword Site, emphasized the importance of the sword to the Ashanti people and its history.

“If the sword is removed, it will end the unity of the Ashanti kingdom,” Oduro said.

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Credit: Africa Dispatch (nyujournalismprojects)