A graduate from the University of London and an economic advisor for the Ghanaian administration, The King of Akropong holds for the last sixteen years the “sacred seat” of the Akuapem-Asona, one of the seven major Akan clans. To his right, his “spokesman” carries the royal emblem, the elephant, a remembrance that his kingdom was founded by force.
In 1733, Akwamu launched his army against the city-State of Akropong, which had been spared from the Ashanti conquests. To defend itself, the city called upon soldiers who liked war, the Akim, and who are also the hereditary enemies of the Ashanti. Akropong was saved, and as a reward, the chief of the Akim was enthroned as the King of Akropong.
At the feet of the king sits a young child, his “okra”, meaning his soul. Protected by fetishs, the Okra plays the role of a human shield, who has to defend the King from evil spirits, sickness and death. The King is the Nation. He should never be wounded or sick, or the entire nation will weaken. The Okra diverts all evil forces upon himself. He, therefore, must die with his master.
During battles, the Okra would ring the small bells suspended on his neck, to show the king’s presence and to stimulate the warriors’ bravery. If the king was frightned and did not want to attract the enemy’s attention he would stiffle the ringing bells; his soldiers interpreted this as desertion and would abandon the battle.