Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What Do The Akan Names "Takyi" and "Takyiwaa" Mean?

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post documents some information that is found online about the Akan personal (given) name and surname "Takyi" This post also seeks information about the pronunciation and meaning of that name and its female (personal name) form "Takviwaa" and similar variants.

The content of this post is presented for etymological, historical, and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

While searching the internet for Caribbean variant forms of Akan day names during the 18th and 19th century, I came across information about two Caribbean slave uprisings led by men with the name "Tayki":
the rebellion in Antigua by Kwaku Takyi aka Prince Klass or King Court which occurred in Antigua in 1736 and "Tacky's War", or "Tacky's Rebellion" that occurred in Jamaica from May to July 1760.

After happening upon those articles, I continued my research into the origin and meaning/s of the Akan name "Takyi".

This post is a result of that research.

I'm an African American who is interested in name origins and meanings and who is also interested in aspects of African & African Diaspora cultures. I'm not an expert on any of these subjects. I very much recognize that this post could be written better by a person who is Akan or is from Ghana or the Ivory Coast. However, it's my hope that this post will result in someone (or a number of people) who is of that ethnicity, or who is from those countries sharing etymological information about these names for people (like me) who are interested in that etymology for whatever reason/s.

Please correct and add information to this post about the names "Takyi" and "Takyiwaa" and please include information about how these names & the name "Techiman" are pronounced. Thank you.

1. From Tostem Antigua: "Emancipation Stories", October 20, 2016 ·
KWAKU TAKYI aka Prince Klass or King Court
Antigua’s African Anti-Slavery Hero
Written by Edith Oladele,
Antigua National Coordinator, TOSTEM “Emancipations Stories” Project.

"All these names are used to refer to Antigua’s only African born national hero however most Antiguans know very little about him and the other slaves who were executed with him or exiled between October and March of 1736/37. It is hoped that this article will pique the inquiring minds among us.

On the 260th anniversary of his execution on October 20th 1736, it is fitting to remember him and the 87 other slave men of worth in their different villages and estate communities all across the island on this day October 20th 2016.

Prince Klass and his fellow freedom thinkers were executed as suspects in the plot to gain their freedom and set up an Akan based African nation independent of the English and ruled by Klass their leader. Records of that horrific period are chronicled in Dr. Barry Gaspar’s book “Bondmen and Rebels”, a difficult but fascinating book which every Antiguan should read and which should be required reading in all the schools. It is an integral part of our African Slavery history and no doubt influenced Sir Vere C. Bird who had the same idea when he formed the union in the late 1930s."...
Note that the name "Kwaku" is an Akan male day name that means "male born on Wednesday" [from various online sources and African books on names]

2. From
"Tacky's War, or Tacky's Rebellion, was an uprising of Akan (then referred to as Coromantee) slaves that occurred in Jamaica from May to July 1760. It was the most significant slave rebellion in the Caribbean between the 1733 slave insurrection on St. John and the 1791 Haitian Revolution. According to Professor Trevor Burnard: "In terms of its shock to the imperial system, only the American Revolution surpassed Tacky's War in the eighteenth century

Planning and early life
The leader of the rebellion, Tacky (Akan spelling: Takyi), was originally from the Fante ethnic group in West Africa and had been a paramount chief in Fante land (in the Central region of present-day Ghana) before being enslaved. He, along with the Asante Queen Nanny or Nana, both planned to take over Jamaica from the British to be a separate Black country, but for themselves and not as allies.[1]"...
*Given what I've read so far about the name "Takyi" I wonder if the editor of this article incorrectly indicated that "Tayki" is a Fante (Akan) name instead of a Brong (Bono) [Akan] name.

As a result of my internet search, I'm very confident that:
1. The names of the leaders of the "Tacky" and originated from the Akan name "Takyi".
Read the passages that are quoted above.

2. "Takyi" is a given name for males and "Takyiwaa" is a given name for females which originated among the Brong (Bono) branch of the Akan people of Ghana, West Africa.

Here are some websites that document this (given in no particular order):
a "Writing Adolescent Fiction/Character names/Ghanaian"
"Takyi" is listed among the Ghanaian given (personal) names for boys. However, the name "Takyiwaa" or variants of that name aren't listed among the given (personal) names for girls.

b. Regarding "Takyiwaa" being a female given name, note these websites
[Pancocojams Editor: This post about a Ghanaian female includes a photograph.]
“Broadcast: News items
Takyiwaa Manuh
Professor Takyiwaa Manuh
Takyiwaa Manuh is the Director of the Social Development Policy Division at the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

Takyiwaa was Professor of African Studies at the University of Ghana between 2006 and 2011, and was the university’s Director of the Institute of African Studies between 2002 and 2009. Her research interests are in African development, women’s rights and empowerment, contemporary African migrations, and African higher-education systems.

Born in Kumasi, Ghana, she was educated at the Wesley Girls’ High School, Cape Coast; the University of Ghana; the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Indiana University in the US. She has also practiced as a lawyer and is active in the women’s movement in Ghana."...
There are a number of other references to Takyiwaa Manuh online.

c. information/examples given on

d. [statements from]
“The variants mostly consist of different affixes (in Ashanti, kwa- or ko- for men and a- plus -a or -wa for women).
Note that this is from that page's section on Akan day names. However, that doesn't mean that the names "Takyi" and "Takyiwaa" are day names.

and [from that same page]

"In the olden days of Ashanti it was a disgrace if an Ashanti man was not able to name any Ashanti child after his Ashanti father and/or Ashanti mother because that was the pride of every Ashanti household.*[3][4] Most of the ethnic-Ashanti family name (surname) given to boys could also be given to girls just by adding the letters "aa".[3][4] Some Ashanti family names (surnames) can be given to both boys and girls without changing or adding anything.[3][4] However, there are other ethnic-Ashanti family name (surnames) that are exclusively Ashanti boys names while others are exclusively ethnic-Ashanti girls family names (surnames)
I added italics to highlight those sentences.
*I think the referent "Ashanti" in that page probably (incorrectly) means "Akan". "Ashanti" is an old referent for "Asante" people and "Asantes" are only one branch of the Akan people. Also, the Brong (Bono) [Akan] people and the Asante [Akan] people have a long and some would say still quite contentious history.
Among the websites that document and/or comment about Asante/Brong history is "Essays On The Society, History And Politics Of The Brong People, by Kwame Arhin, Senior Research Fellow, Institute o f African Studies, University o f
Ghana, Legon

and "Feature Article of Thursday, 1 April 2010 Columnist: Akumfi-Ameyaw, AbubakarTano-Subin: The Brong-Ashanti Divide« (Part 1) [92 comments]
This historical account is written from the point of view of a Brong (Bono) man and was vigorously countered by some commenters who (I gather) either were Asantes or weren't Brong.

3. "Takyi" and "Takyiwaa" are Akan surnames (family name; last names) that is still being used.
Here are some websites that document this (given in no particular order):

Excerpt from that website:
Usage: 3% firstname, 97% surname.
Takyiwaa first name was found 1 times in 1 different countries. (UK)*
Surname Takyiwaa is used at least 26 times in at least 4 countries

Christiana Takyiwaa (2)
Ama Takyiwaa (2)
Joyce Takyiwaa (1)
Gladys Takyiwaa (1)
Akosua Takyiwaa (1)
Olivia Takyiwaa (1)
Florence Takyiwaa (1)
Stella Takyiwaa (1)
Comfort Takyiwaa (1)
Agnes Takyiwaa (1)
Afua Takyiwaa (1)
Amma Takyiwaa (1)
Christina Takyiwaa (1)
Abena Takyiwaa (1)
Elise Takyiwaa (1)
* This website didn't provide the "one" example that it found of "Takyiwaa" being used in the United Kingdom. Of course, it's highly likely that there are more than one "Takyiwaa" in the UK, and certainly there are other females with that given name in Ghana, The Ivory Coast, and elsewhere.

Note that three of these women listed have Akan day names: "Akosua", "Afua", and "Abena".


[Pancocojams Editor: This first portion is a reformatted excerpt of the nations that were listed on that website]
Country: Ghana
Incidence: 1,118
Frequency: 1: 24,189
Rank in Nation: 2,782

Country: United States
Incidence: 7
Frequency: 1: 45,752,882
Rank in Nation: 954,845

Country: England
Incidence: 2
Frequency: 1: 27,000,000
Rank in Nation: 201,317



c) Google search resulted in a number of people on Facebook and other internet social media with the surname "Takyi", including this example from 2015 [Dissertation]
"A Comparative Study of the Concept of Atonement in the Aboakyer Festival of the Effutu
Tribe in Ghana and the Yom Kippur Festival of the Old Testament: Implications for Adventist Mission
Among the Effutu" by mmanuel H. Takyi
Andrews University"...

and this example from Obibini Takyi Akosombo Nkania - Ghana Highlife [a sound file of Ghanaian Highlife music performed by Obibini Takyi]

Also, the name "Tayki" is listed as an "Ethnic-Ashanti* family names (surnames) on this Wikipedia page
*Read the comment that I wrote above in which I maintain that the Wikipedia editors are misapplied the referent "Ashanti" instead of the correct referent "Akan".

4. The current city "Techiman"'s name came from "Takyiman"
Among the numerous online references to "Takyiman" is this one:
An eponym is the name of a person or group of persons after or for whom a place is named. In Ghana some place names are formed from eponyms, e.g. Christiansborg, Kwesikrom, and some just use the eponyms themselves, e.g. Kofi Pari, Kwame Danso.


Techiman is the district capital of Techiman Municipal District in Brong Ahafo. It was founded by Nana (Chief) Takyi Firi after the first capital of the Brong state, Bono Manso, was destroyed by the Ashantis in a war in 1723. The town's name is thus a contraction ot 'Takyi' and 'oman', meaning Takyi's town/state.
Source: O.Brempong, "Twi Etymology: A Study in Ethno-Linguistics", Inst.of Afr. Studies Res. Rev. NS vol.7 nos. 1 & 2 1991"

5. An example of the name "Takyi" in an Akan proverb
From The 50 Most Important Akan Proverbs; Akan or Twi proverbs are more than wise sayings.
"They have a wide range of uses and show, principally, that the user is wise and well-educated in the customs of the Akan people. The ability to use language enriched by proverbs is considered sage and is the hallmark of great public speaking.

I present fifty important Akan proverbs. I have adjudged them important for being popular, versatile, and particularly demonstrative of Akan philosophy and thought. As this is just my opinion, it is completely fair for others to compile a different list.

Also, the meanings and remarks are from my own learning and experience so the scope of some of the discussions is limited to a few use cases.

Each proverb appears under a heading. Unfortunately, it appears better to make the anglicised spellings of the proverbs rather than the correct Twi spellings the headings. This is because most people are unwilling or unable to type the letters er and or with their keyboards when searching for Akan proverbs on the web.

Below are the fifty sayings with their literal meanings and some remarks in English.


37. Abaa a yede bo Takyi no yede bebo Baa

Literally: The stick that is used to hit Takyi is also used to hit Baa."
Here's an excerpt from PHOTOS: Takyimanhene at Asantehemaa’s Funeral. Easing Asanteman-Takyiman Tension?
...."BaafuÉ” Pim had betrayed Nana Takyimanhene by stealing gold he had been given to take to the Asantehene, and then filling the pot with dust. This action infuriated Opoku Ware Katakyie who then dealt a massive defeat to the Bono Kingdom of Takyiman. Nearly all his lands and property were taken by Asantehene."

Is "Baa" a clip of Baafuo and "Takyi" a clip of Takyimanhene? (the paramount chief of the Takyiman people)? And does this proverb mean "If you try to hurt your adversary, you’ll end up hurting yourself"?

1. From my online reading, it appears that "Takyi"/"Takyiwaa" aren't Akan day names, birth order names, or names associated with the birth of twins

Note: Those names aren't listed in any website about Akan day names, birth order names etc. such as

I wonder if the name "Takyi" was created by combining the Akan elements "Ta" + "kyi". If so, does the "ta" in "Takyi" have anything to do with the Brong (Akan) deity Tano and other deities whose names (or titles?) begin with "Ta" or "Taa" as quoted in this pancocojams post: Excerpts From R. S. Rattray's 1922 Book "Ashanti" & Other Quotes About Traditional Ghanaian (Asante) Religion

Here's an excerpt from that post:
quoting part of page 206 from Rattray's 1922 book Ashanti:
..."I have water, I have water,
I come from the Tano river.
Little spirits from Lake Bosomtwe, I have water,
Otwedodo, son of Botsomtwe, I have water,
I come from the Tano river.
I am he who was created son of God.

Besides Konkroma, the chief of the gods at Ejura, the following gods were attending the ceremony. All were 'sons' of the great Tano already described:
Ta Kwame
Ta Konkroma Kuma
Ta Asubonten (a son of the Asubonten whose rites have already been described).
Ta Konkroma Kuma II.
Ta Kojo
Ta Bonia
Ta Kwesi.
Ta Amoa"."

Also, if the name "Takyi" was created by combining the Akan elements "Ta" and "kyi", what does "kyi" mean in Akan?

This website indicates that "kyi" means "to hate", but it appears to be written by a person from the African Diaspora and not someone who has (known) Akan ancestry. I'm interested in "hearing" from someone who is Akan aobut this definition:
Excerpt: page 11:
"In Twi, kyi also has the definition: to press, squeeze, wring or crush out. [It is important to note that while kyi in Twi is a verb: ‘to hate; to abhor’, some have popularized the term okyi as a noun version of the word meaning: hatred, abhorrence.]"
-end of quote-
"Twi" = Akan

Also, that writer indicates that in Twi (Akan) "kyi" is pronounced like the English sound "chee" and not like the English word "key". Is that correct?

This website provides three sound files that purport to be how "Takyri" is pronounced:

Two of those examples sound like "tah-ker-ree" and one sounds like tay-ker-ree.

Here's a YouTube sound file of the name "Takyi":

How to pronounce Takyi (Germany/German) -

Pronounce Names, Published on Feb 22, 2016
That sound file sounds to me like "TAH-key".

Note that that example is from Germany, which probably mean that it is a name that was given to people of (at least some) Akan ancestry who live in Germany.

I've not found any sound files/videos that pronounce the name "Takyiwaa".

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Visitor comments are welcome.

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