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Coat of Arms of Akanland
Coat of arms of Akanland.jpg
Armiger Asantehene - Akan / Ashanti
Adopted 1723
Escutcheon Akofena: Symbol of courage, valor, and heroism

The Akofena is a heraldic nickname for the Akan coat of arms Coat of Arms of Akanland, adopted by Akanland's king Opoku Ware I in 1723, and is based on the Akrafena, which has been an Akan national symbol and used since the 18th century AD.[1][2]

The emblem is surmounted by two crossed Akan Akrafenas:

  • Two black Akrafena's on a white background, a prominent symbol of the Akans in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries;

The shield is accompanied by a black and white scroll bearing, and the escutcheon, Akofena ("Symbol of courage, valor, and heroism").

Heraldic description[edit]

Akan Akrafena (Sword)
c. 19th – 20th century

The Blazon: There are two main types of swords in the regalia of the Akan Akrafena: afenatene (long sword) and the short sword. The afenatene usually did not have a sheath. It was, however, topped by a symbol. The short sword were used as nsuaefena (also known as akofena). The akrafena is used in conjunction with the stool blackening ceremony. Nsuaefena is used in the political ceremony of taking the oath of office by the king and in swearing oath of allegiance by the subjects to the king and Akanland. The akofena may be carried by the king’s emissaries on diplomatic missions. In such situations, the meaning associated with the symbol embossed on the sheath conveys the message of the mission. Blade of an afenatene sword showing the akoma (heart), denkyem (crocodile), akuma (axe) and the sankofa bird.[3]


Akan Akrafena (Sword)
c. 18th century

The Akan Akrafena sword in the Akanland coat of arms was used by the Asantehene in taking the oath of office in the 18th century AD. The Omanhene used the Akan Akrafena sword to swear the oath of allegiance to the Asantehene and Akankland.[1] The Akan Akrafena sword is one of the four principal state swords of the Akanland. The first Akan Akfrafena sword was created by Asantehene Nana Opoku Ware I (r. 1731 – 1742), and is the foremost example of Akrafena. The mpomponsuo sword symbolizes Responsibility, Power, Loyalty, Bravery, and Authority.[1]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]