A group of Asante citizens have commenced preparations to celebrate the life of the legendary Queenmother of Ejisu, Nana Yaa Asantewaa.
The celebration, which has received the blessings of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, will be an annual event.
It will be celebrated under the banner of the Yaa Asantewaa Foundation, which the group is setting up.
Last Wednesday, some members of the foundation, led by the Director of Newspapers of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, paid a courtesy call on Otumfuo Osei Tutu at the Manhyia Palace to brief him on its activities.
Other members of the group were the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Silver Trust Travel and Tours, Mr Kwame Omane Kwarteng, a royal of Manhyia; Mr Mathew Osei Prempeh, and the Ashanti Regional Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Mr Peter Theophilus Acherman.
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They were introduced to the Asantehene by the Ejisuhene, Nana Oguakro Afrane Okese IV.
Nana Yaa Asantewaa led the Asante army in the famous Anglo-Asante War of 1900.
The Asantehene said although a lot had been said and written about the Asante warrior and traditional ruler, she had not been celebrated enough to befit her status and gave his blessings to the foundation, promising to ensure the success of the annual celebrations.
He commended the group for its initiative.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu was full of praise for Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh, whom he called ‘my grandson’, and said he was a good and experienced hand in journalism.
He said he was waiting for Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh to render service to the Golden Stool after his retirement from public service.
He noted that Nana Yaa Asantewaa’s name and fame, especially her unmatched bravery, were widely known, following which some women who had attained very high positions were referred to as Yaa Asantewaa.
The Asantehene noted that the move by the foundation would not only lead to the exposure of Nana Yaa Asantewaa to those who had not read about her but also boost tourism in the Ashanti Region and, by extension, Ghana.
He recalled that when men could not utter a word when the British were threatening to seize the Golden Stool, which represents the soul of the Asantes, Nana Yaa Asantewaa stood up to them and led in fighting them.
He also talked about the way the then Asantehene, Nana Agyeman Prempeh I, Nana Yaa Asantewaa and others were exiled to The Seychelles by the British government and how she died and her remains brought down by Nana Prempeh to be buried at home.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu welcomed the foundation’s decision to build libraries in honour of Nana Yaa Asantewaa.
He said in the past, the Asantes fought wars to expand their territories and for protection, but now they expended their energies on fighting for development, especially educational opportunities for all.
Briefing the Asantehene, Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh said the foundation would use educational and entertainment activities to tell the youth about Nana Yaa Asantewaa, as well as teach people about Asante culture, while boosting tourism.
He explained that the annual week-long activities to commemorate Yaa Asantewaa would include memorial lectures, which would be delivered by a renowned international lady from any part of the world, and spelling competitions among primary and junior high schools in the Ashanti Region.
He said other activities would include spelling competitions among senior high schools in the region, as well as a walk from Ejisu to Kumasi to trace Yaa Asantewaa’s famous steps.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh added that the foundation would set up Yaa Asantewaa Leadership and Governance clubs in second-cycle institutions in the region to compete among themselves in the areas of leadership, governance and the history of Ashanti, the winner of which would receive a prize to be presented by Otumfuo Osei Tutu.