Pokou of Baoule was born around 1730 as the daughter of Nyakou Kosiamoa. She became a leader of a group which broke away from the main Ashanti Confederacy, which she had refused to join. She had led her group to the Komoe river after a long journey but was unsure as to how to cross the river safely. When she asked for advice from a priest, he told her that a sacrifice was required. We’re not sure why she settled on her own son as the sacrifice, but she threw the child into the water and called out “Ba Ouli” or “the child is dead.” For this reason, she is now known as “of Baouli.” Apparently, after this sacrifice, a group of hippos appeared and formed a bridge allowing the group to cross safely to the other side.
The group then settled into life in the savannah in the area. They still inhabit the territory between the Komoe and Bandama rivers and are the largest tribe in the Ivory Coast. Pokou did not live long enough to enjoy this new life as she died at the age of just 20 in 1750. 1