Rich tradition and culture held sway in Kumasi on Thursday as Asanteman was joined by other Ghanaians and nationals from other countries for the high-point of the 11-day final funeral rites of the late Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led a government delegation which also included the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. It was the second time the President and his vice participated in the 11-day final funeral rites.
The President who comes from the Oyoko clan – the same as the Asantehene – was in kobene (red cloth).
Minutes after taking his seat, President Akufo-Addo, accompanied by the Vice President and his wife, Samira Bawumia and other government officials, walked some 100 metres to where the Asantehene sat in state to pay homage to the King who was also in kobene .
The government donated GHc20,000 and assorted drinks to the Asantehene in line with custom.
Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, members of the Council of State, members of the Diplomatic Corps , the clergy, and chiefs from outside Asanteman were some of the mourners who crammed into the Dwabirem of the Manhyia Palace for the seventh day of the funeral.
A delegation of the government of Cote d’Ivoire was also in attendance to commiserate with Otumfuo.
In Asante custom, final funeral rites were originally held on Thursdays or Mondays but modernity, which prevented workers from participating in the funerals on those days, pushed the solemn occasion to Saturday.
However, Monday and Thursday have been maintained for the funeral of an Asantehene or Asantehemaa.
The remaining four days for the funeral are reserved for some rituals some of which the public would not be allowed to attend.
The late queen mother of Asante, who was the 13th queen mother of Asante, was enstooled in 1977 and reigned for 39 years
Cacophonous honking of atentemmen (traditional horns) and throbbing of atumpan and fontonfrom drums amidst the firing of muskets signaled the movement of the appearance of the long retinue of the Asante King to Dwabirem at about 1.45pm.
The unity of Asanteman was evident in the seating of the various fekuo (divisions) comprising of the Kontire, Akwamu, NIfa, Adonten, Benkum, Oyoko, Kyidom, Gyase, Ankobea, Manwere, Nkosuo and Akyeame.
All the 67 paramountcies from three regions – Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Volta - that owe allegiance to the Asantehene were present and made donations to their overlord.
A major feature of Thursday’s activities was the presentation of ayeyedee ( customary funeral articles) by the wives of the princes of the Golden Stool.
Made up mostly of food items and drinks, they were supposed to be used by the Asantehene to serve visitors who would mourn with him.
Nana Afia Kobi died peacefully at her palace on November 14, 2016 at the ripe age of 111.
Below are some photos from Thursday's event. Pictures by SAMUEL TEI ADANO