Torgbui Gawu and the Lion of Dahomey

Torgbui Gawu and the Lion of Dahomey
Torgbui Gawu and the Lion of Dahomey

In the late 17th century, perhaps the most astounding event in the history of the settlement of Fiaxor (Formally known as “Keteklebi”) was the encounter with the lion of Dahomey. It happened that the King Of Dahomey, Dahomɛ Kundo wanted to subdue and annex Anlo land to his kingdom through military attack. In order to embark on this military exploit successfully, some rituals had to be performed. A man and woman were transformed into a Lion and a Leopard respectively by magical powers.

The task of these animals was to move through all parts of Anlo land. The main aim of this ritual was that should the animals ravage Anlo successfully and return to Dahomey unhurt, then Dahomɛ Kundo’s Army could subdue Anlo very easily. The animals did come through Anlo land but the Leopard according to oral history was said to have been killed at Adzato area. The Lion eventually returned to Dahomey unhurt. The people were much excited that they could defeat Anlo easily.

Few days to the day of expedition to Anlo land, a priest in Dahomey consulted King Kundo, and informed him the revelation he got from his  Afa oracle. It was then discovered that the Lion did not go into all the villages of Anlo. One  very important village was left out and that was Fiaxor. The Lion was sent the second time to visit Anlo and especially Fiaxor.


Torgbui Tette Devi, a member of the Dzevia clan of Anlo, who was also the ahakua (wine connoisseur) Of Torgbui Nyigbla, the warrior god of Anlo State. Torgbui Gawu was accused of acquiring so much magical powers and on that account was relieved of his services as the ahakua.

Consequently, he left Anloga and settled at Fiaxor.

It was during Torgbui Gawu’s old age when the mysterious lion of Dahomey arrived at Fiaxor to accomplish its mission. It laid ambush on the eastern flank of the village where people were doing their “distin” early in the morning. A young woman at dawn came across the Lion  and took to her heels,  run straight into a room belonging to Heʋi ( son of Gawu). The lion rushed madly and followed her into the room, the young woman retreated fast, while Heʋi, astonished, took a little while to realized the graveness of the situation. A Lion! He jumped out and banged the door behind the wild beast. The Lion was neatly trapped, holes were made in the thatch roof and gun shots rained on the Lion but to no avail. The bullets could not penetrate the skin of the Lion. The only way left was to burn the Lion together with Heʋi’s possessions.


At this juncture, the oldman, Torgbui Gawu Tette Devi, came out from his room to ask the reason for the uproar. On hearing of the Lion, he ordered the door to be opened so that he could face the lion bare handed. No one could obey such insanity. He went to the door amidst protests and opened it. The lion jumped on him but he slapped it and all its teeth scattered. He grabbed the lion and removed its claws one after the other. The lion behaved like a little lamb, it could neither struggle from the hands of Torgbui Gawu nor do him any harm. When he was done, he released the lion. It ran wildly trying to escape as men fired musket at it. The bullets after that ordeal, penetrated its skin and it laid there motionless. It was left where it felt, and decomposed. Part of the remains( the skin) is still kept with Torgbui Zoiku stool. Torgbui Zoiku is the Đufia of Fiaxor!

The statue of Torgbui Gawu was erected at the exact location he conquered the Lion.

In my next piece I’ll talk about the exile of Torgbui Adzanu, the 6th occupant of the Awomefia Stool and the 3rd from the Batɛ Clan to Fiaxor!


1. Dumega Ing. Godwin Kofi Agbleze

2.  Torgbui Zoiku IV, Dufia of Fiaxor


Napoleon Kotoka
Wetsu Agbedonu
Hon. Clement Kofi Humado
Togbi Atiflo of Fiaxor



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