Otumfuo Osei Tutu II
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

Happy 74th birthday, Otumfuo

On May 6, 2022, I had the opportunity to witness the 72nd birthday celebration of Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America (USA).


I had accompanied His Majesty on an international trip, precisely to the USA, where he was the Special Guest at the Memphis in May International Festival.

The festival was dedicated to honouring Ghana, in what is known as the ‘International Salute’ and Otumfuo’s presence was seen by the festival organisers as one of the best to happen to the city of Memphis.

Two events

With his birthday falling within the activities, the City of Memphis celebrated him with two events. In the afternoon, some 200 people gathered for a reception at the Peabody Hotel, a magnificent and historic hotel in downtown Memphis, where a birthday cake was cut, and in the evening, a birthday dinner was held at the Renasant Convention Centre, an iconic convention complex also located in downtown Memphis, where speakers eulogised him for being a light for Asante, Ghana and Africa.

As a gesture from the King, the Juabenhene, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, presented the 24-carat Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin to the Chairman of the 2022 Memphis in May International Festival, Charles Ewing.

Significant birthday

Today, the Asantehene is marking his 74th birthday, a significant one of course, as it coincides with the silver jubilee of his enthronement. Per the silver jubilee programme of activities, a mini durbar will be held for the Asantehene to receive visitors.

He will also attend a thanksgiving service at the St Cyprian’s Anglican Cathedral at Fante New Town, Kumasi, in the morning and later in the evening, a birthday dinner, which is strictly by invitation, will take place at the Manhyia Palace.

The birthday of the 16th Asantehene provides yet another space for his subjects and the world to wish him well.


Without a doubt, the Asante Kingdom has a rich history with global recognition, but suffice it to say that the reign of Osei Tutu II has driven this enviable image of Asante to even greater heights.

Within Ghana and in the international world, his extraordinary works have been hugely recognised. Otumfuo’s reign encapsulates everything expected of traditional rulers in modern times.

Personally, it has always been a delight for me to get closer to His Majesty. He has a special affection for journalists and the work they do, and as a son of Asanteman, I feel proud serving him with my pen.

I recall a day before we departed from Memphis, he invited me and two other colleagues to his executive lounge at his hotel and thanked us for the good work we did during the one-week stay in the USA.

In the presence of some of his chiefs, His Majesty said of me in Twi, “Me nana yi, w’asom me paa” to wit,” My grandson, you’ve served me very well”. What a humble monarch!


I also recall another foreign trip he made to Uganda for the 25th anniversary of the coronation of the Kabaka of Buganda, Roland Muwenda Mutebi II, in 2018. I was with the delegation to cover his activities for the Daily Graphic.

Asante and Buganda have age-old relations. In April 1899, the 31st Kabaka, Danieri Basammula-Ekkere Mwanga II, led Buganda in a war against invading British forces. Buganda capitulated under the might of the British firepower and the Kabaka was captured and exiled to The Seychelles where he met the 13th Asantehene, Prempeh I, who had also been captured by the British in 1896 and sent to Seychelles.

While in Seychelles, Mwanga II and Prempeh I became friends. This relationship has been given an added fillip in the reigns of Osei Tutu II and Mutebi II. On the day of the grand durbar, I sat a distance away from where Otumfuo was seated.

He had obviously spotted me, but perhaps to be double sure that I was the one, he sent someone to find out from me whether indeed that was Kwame sitting there. You need to taste his extraordinary love for journalists and their work to appreciate this.

Happy birthday, Otumfuo, the journalists’ King. 

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