Outrage as 300-Year-Old Ghanaian Kola Tree, Tied to Ashanti Kingdom’s History, is Illegally Felled
A man has faced court proceedings following the unauthorized chopping down of a revered 300-year-old kola tree in Feyiase, southern Ghana. The ancient tree, integral to the Ashanti Kingdom’s history, was renowned for its healing properties and drew tourists from across Ghana and beyond. The accused pleaded not guilty to causing unlawful damage and has been granted bail, though his identity remains undisclosed.
Believed to have grown from a kola nut spat by renowned priest Komfo Anokye in the early 1700s, the tree held cultural and historical significance. Local lore attributed healing powers to the tree’s black and white seeds, and it stood in the midst of a major road connecting Kumasi, Ghana’s commercial hub, to the national tourist destination, Lake Bosomtwe. The tree had been spared during previous construction due to its popularity.
While the motivation behind its recent felling remains unclear, the site’s historical importance, linked to the Battle of Feyiase where the Ashanti people fought for independence, adds to the controversy. Osei-Bonsu Safo Kantanka, Director of Research at Manhyia Palace, emphasized the historical significance of the location, stating it was where the Ashanti defeated the Denkyira kingdom.
Komfo Anokye, credited with the tree’s origin, was a powerful fetish priest in Ashanti tradition. According to oral history, he buried a sword that cannot be removed at the site of a hospital in Kumasi bearing his name. The felled kola tree, once a constant reminder of Anokye’s exploits, now stands as a symbol of cultural loss and environmental concern.