Takoradi: The tree stories behind the name

BY: Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu
The iconic Takoradi Market Circle currently undergoing redevelopment.
The iconic Takoradi Market Circle currently undergoing redevelopment.

Takoradi, the commercial capital of the Western Region, shares its glory with Sekondi, the administrative capital of the region.

Together, the two are commonly referred to as the twin-city and so share the title of the capital as Sekondi/ Takoradi.

One intriguing thing about Takoradi is that there are varied accounts of the origin of that name, yet the two accounts share a similarity – a tree.

A retired employee of the Ghana Railways and Port, which later became Ghana Railways Corporation and today is Ghana Railways Company, Abaka Amoah, who grew up in the twincity, schooled and worked as a public relations officer of the corporation, told the Daily Graphic that the name came from a tree known as Takore-dua (Takore-Tree), which was only found in the Western and part of the Central, Eastern and Western North regions – but is now extinct.

According to him, the name Takoradi came about after the early settlers who used the Takore-dua as a home were described as those who were under the Takore-tree – Takora-adi (meaning under the Takore tree in the local language).

“When we were in elementary school, the tree was near the present location of the harbour, and it was a big tree known as Takore-dua, and that is where the original settlement was,” he said.

Reason for location

Mr Amoah added that the early settlers chose that location, “because the tree provided a lot of shade to withstand the storm, with tree branches from the top to the bottom and protected the settlers under but they were later moved to pave the way for the construction of the rail and the port.

“The settlers were Ahantas, therefore they referred to their settlement under the tree as Takora-adi (under the Takore-tree) and that is how the name Takoradi came about.

The Takoradi Harbour

The Fantis from the Central Region say Takora-adzi, while the Ahantas say Takora-adi and the rest twi-speaking name it Takora-asi – so that is why we have Takoradi and Takorasi.

“There was one at Ataabadzi in the Central Region and another one at Akyem after Akyiase towards Kade, there is a settlement there called Takorasi, and another town in the Western North Region known as Takorasi, all with the same story – but sadly the tree is no more - we lost it to modernity and the quest to settle, through human activities,” he recounted.

Second account

However, another account which is labelled as coming from the archives of the Sekondi Library shares a different view.

It states that the name Takoradi is a combination of the Portuguese word Taccarada...and a local word Ntakor.

It says before the Portuguese arrived on the shores of the country, the local inhabitants, mostly the Ahantas, called the place Amanfulkro meaning Amanful’s town, or simply Amanful, which name has been maintained for some part of the city till this day.

“The Portuguese in 1485 built a slave post where the Harbour View is now and called it Taccarada. Meanwhile, the local people were already referring to the place as Ntakorase, meaning “under the Ntakor tree”.

However, because the whites could not pronounce Ntakorase very well and the Ahantas could also not pronounce Taccarada very well, as time went on the pronunciation of the two words merged to form Tacorrasi, which then became Takoradze, (local pronunciation), and later before 1800, the British and the Fantes made it TAKORADI which has remained the official name till today.