Cape Town — Ghanaian authorities have launched a manhunt for the people who cut down a famous 300-year-old kola tree, which was believed to have healing powers, BBC reports.
The ancient tree has roots tracing back to the Ashanti Kingdom in present-day Ghana.
According to locals, it sprouted from a kola nut spat out by the revered priest Komfo Anokye in the early 1700s. This tree, believed to have healing properties, was born from a belief in the curative powers of the kola tree’s black and white seeds.
Anokye was a powerful priest believed to act as a mediator between the spirit and living. Oral tradition says he buried a sword in the ground, which remains firmly in place and can never be removed, on the premises of a hospital in Kumasi that bears his name. The tree served as a constant reminder of his legendary feats.
Ghanaians were angered by images of the chopped-down tree in Feyiase circulating online. This tree stood along a vital road linking Kumasi, Ghana’s commercial center, to Lake Bosomtwe.
The tree was spared during the construction of the highway because of its popularity and was a tourist attraction for Ghanaians and foreigners.
Osei-Bonsu Safo Kantanka, the director of research at Manhyia Palace, emphasized the historical importance of the tree’s location. This site was tied to the Battle of Feyiase, a pivotal moment in the Ashanti Kingdom’s struggle for independence against the powerful Denkyira kingdom.
The reason for the tree felling remains unclear.