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The Amoowi hole – Did Bonos come from here?

Amoowi hole, a tunnel which is located at Pinihini near Fiema in the Nkoranza North District in the Bono East Region, has a historic connection to the Bono people.

Bono, one of the large Akan ethnic groups, is normally tagged as “Akan Piesie.” Legend has it that the Amoowi was a hole where the early Bono people emerged to settle at their current locations in the Bono and Bono East regions.

Pinihini, a deprived farming community, is believed to host the exact location where the Bono people originated from, but this is unknown to several people, including some Bonos. The Amoowi community, which is believed to be the first settlement of the Bono people, was said to be a big city with about 79 adjoining communities.

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Civil war

However, oral tradition has it that there was a civil war that occurred in the area during which some of the people migrated to Bono Manso, Yefiri, literally “We are coming out of the cave” and Tanoboase near Techiman as well as Mampongten in the Ashanti Region.

It is said the war, which occurred centuries ago, collapsed the Amoowi community which eventually became a forest. The early settlers were said to have written the name of the community, “Amoowi”, on a rock.

In addition, there are some visible signs and other human activities, suggesting that there had been early settlement in the area. The Amoowi tunnel, which is said to be connected from Pinihini to Mampongten, has, however, not been developed, leaving the entire area bushy and inaccessible to tourists.

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Discovery

The Assistant Head of the Performing Arts Department of the Bono Regional Centre for National Culture (CNC), Julius Yaw Quansah, told the Daily Graphic that a hunter who was on a hunting expedition at night spotted a group of people coming out of the hole.

Mr Quansah said the extremely surprised hunter screamed and wondered how such many people could emerge from that hole. “According to oral history, at the time the hunter screamed, the leader of the group was about to come out from the hole,” he said.

Mr Quansah said when the leader of the group heard the voice of the hunter, he pulled back into the hole, leaving a metal chain which was on his head and neck at the entrance of the hole.

He said it was believed that there was another group of people who were supposed to follow after the leader, but all of them went back into the tunnel. Mr Quansah said from Amoowi, the first settlement of Bono people was Bono Manso and Yefiri, all nearby communities.

He said since its discovery, nobody had tried or entered the tunnel.

Caves

He added that there were caves around the hole, explaining that one of them had developed into a beautiful waterfall. Mr Quansah said there was also a shrine at the Amoowi hole known as “Amoowibiakro”, where libations were poured before visitors were permitted to access the place.

He said the bushy nature of the place made it unattractive for tourists to visit the site. Mr Quansah said it was taboo to send a dog or goat to the Amoowi Forest, especially near the shrine, saying these animals would die when they got close to the Amoowi hole or cave.

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” Amoowi is the genesis of the Bono people and the Bono people are the first to settle on the land we call Ghana today as well as the first people to cross the White Volta,” Mr Quansah said.

Appeal

A resident in Pinihini, Kwaku Adjei, who spoke to the Daily Graphic appealed to the assembly and the Ghana Tourism Authority to develop the site to preserve it and attract visitors and also to preserve the history of the Bonos.

He said the development of the site could also help to improve economic activities in the area and help the assembly increase its revenue generation. Mr Adjei said the evidence of the origin of the Bonos should not be left to go rotten in the bush.

Responding to the appeal, the Bono East Regional Director of the Ghana GTA, Joseph Appiagyei, told the Daily Graphic that at the moment, the Amoowi historic hole was not part of the recently selected untapped tourism sites to be developed.

“For now, we don’t have any plan of developing the site into a tourism destination, but in the future, we have planned to hold discussions with the Nkoranza North District Assembly to see whether it would be possible to develop the site,” he said.

Mr Appiagyei explained that during the selection of the sites for their development, the Planning Office did not mention it. “But, once it has been highlighted, it would attract or boost the interest of investors and the assembly to invest in its development,” he said.

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