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Yaa Naa Andani’s funeral continues ; Kumbung Naa makes spiritual journey to Yendi

BY: Zakaria Alhassan & Samuel Duodu
The Chief Warrior of Dagbon, Kumbung Naa Yiri II (arrowed), embarking on the three-day journey from the Bin-biem Palace in Kumbungu to Yendi
The Chief Warrior of Dagbon, Kumbung Naa Yiri II (arrowed), embarking on the three-day journey from the Bin-biem Palace in Kumbungu to Yendi

Traditional and customary activities which formed part of the final funeral rites of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II continued in Yendi yesterday, the seat of Dagbon ‘Nam’ (kingdom) in the Northern Region.

Significant yesterday was the beginning of the three-day journey of the Chief Warrior of Dagbon, Kumbung Naa Yiri ll, from the Bin-biem Palace in Kumbungu to Yendi on horseback.

The chief warrior, believed to be covering the 116-kilometre journey with bees and spiritual protective powers, made a stopover in Tamale, where he passed the night, before proceeding to Mion and then Yendi for final rites to climax the funeral of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II.

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Spectacle

Activities in the central business district of Tamale came to a standstill as hundreds of anxious residents trooped to that part of the city to savour the rare piece of history as the warrior arrived in Tamale.

The people, some of whom lined up the streets in the warm hazy weather to observe the unveiling spectacle, became agitated on sighting the Kumbung Naa on his immaculately adorned horse.

Traders, including hawkers, along the routes he used with his large retinue of warriors were earlier cautioned to close down their shops to save their wares from being vandalised.

Pregnant women were also advised to stay away from the event because of the long-held belief that an eye contact with the chief could lead to miscarriage.

In line with tradition and custom, the Kumbung Naa usually moves along with bees and the Logu (spiritual powers) as a protective symbol, amidst drumming and singing of war songs, and he changes horses at regular intervals.

The last time people in the metropolis witnessed such a traditional event was about 40 years ago.

Reactions

“This is one of the best organised most massive crowds I have witnessed in Tamale in recent times,” a welder, Mr Hassan Ibrahim, said.

A 44-year-old trader, Hajia Amama Musah, said: “I am here with my children to witness history and also have a feel of the rich Dagbon culture.”

“I have read bits of the performance of a Yaa Naa’s funeral in books. After this, I will travel to Yendi with some of my colleagues to observe the entire ceremony that will climax the funeral on Thursday. We are really enjoying our rich culture,” a 22-year-old student of the University for Development Studies (UDS) said.

Significance

The presence of the Kumbung Naa at the funeral of a Yaa Naa is very significant as the Chief Warrior of Dagbon.

He is also involved in consultations on the selection of a new Yaa Naa, even though he is not a kingmaker.

The chief further provides spiritual protection for a Dagbon Regent during the circumambulation, the act of moving around a sacred object, of the Gbewaa Palace.

Activities in Yendi

Drumming and dancing are also underway in Yendi by different cultural groups from far and near, while various paramount chiefs and sub-chiefs pay homage to the Kampakuya Naa, Abdulai Andani.

Background

The funeral rites of Yaa Naa Andani started about 4:45 a.m. last Friday, January 11, 2019 with drumming and singing of dirges at the temporary Gbewaa Palace, supervised by the Royal Chief Drummer, N-yab Namogu.

That was followed by three rounds of musketry display by the royal warriors, led by their leader, Yani Achirikpema, to traditionally announce the commencement of the funeral.

Last Sunday, January 13, 2019, children of the Yaa Naa (about 100) and other family members were given clean shaves (Kubihi Pinbu) to depict their royalty during the entire funeral process.

Major rites to climax the funeral will be performed on Thursday and Friday. The ‘Buni Wuhibu’, which literary means “display of wealth”, will be performed on Thursday, while the ‘Sara Taribu’, the offering of alms, will be done on Friday.