Sorrow at Manhyia as Asanteman marks one-week observation of queenmother

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem
Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II

Today the Manhyia Palace, the seat of the Occupant of the Golden Stool, will be a beehive for hundreds of mourners from all walks of life who will observe the one week passing of the Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II.

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Chiefs from every corner of the Asante Kingdom, which stretches to the northern part of the Volta Region, and other royals and dignitaries from around the world will be among the mourners who will join the Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the occupant of the Golden Stool, to observe the day.

It is on the same day that the funeral arrangements for the late queenmother will be announced.

Political party leaders, especially the presidential candidates, including President John Dramani Mahama, are expected to be at the Dwabrem (gathering grounds) where the one week observation would be done for the queenmother who saw the reign of the late Otumfuo Opoku Ware II as Asantehene from 1970 to 1999 and was succeeded by the current Golden Stool Occupant.


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Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who is the biological son of the late queenmother, is the chief mourner.

A visit to the palace and some parts of Kumasi by the Daily Graphic team indicated a sombre environment with   sadness hanging around the Asante kingdom. Many of its subjects were clad in traditional dresses, signifying that a great tree had fallen, in  recognition of the death of the Asantehema, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II.

Already, a ban has been placed on drumming and noisemaking throughout Asanteman. Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II died last Monday night at the age of 111, after reigning for 39 years.

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In town, a few people were spotted wearing black and when approached, they told the Daily Graphic that they were mourning the demise of the queenmother.

Madam Yaa Fremah said “although I never saw her in person, I am saddened by her death. I am an Asante from Ejisu and I will wear black till after the funeral”.

A 42- year old phone dealer, Richard Bonsu, who said he had seen the queenmother once, described her as a mother of the kingdom and added that “I take it that it is my grandmother who has kicked the bucket and I will mourn her”.

Manhyia

A large number of mourners has been trooping to the palace since Wednesday morning. Others were seen in clusters sitting outside the palace. The men were in their kuntunkuni (black cloth), while the ladies were spotted in their usual traditional mourning cloth of ‘brisie’ (black cloth) and others with both black and red cloth (Koben).

In fact, a sea of black clothes could be seen from a distance from the palace.

Business

Businesses have taken advantage of the situation and mounted their canopies to give  out their products to mourners and at the same time advertise such products in a strategy they call sampling.

Conspicuously present with about five canopies is the Guinness Ghana Limited’s Sales Manager, Selasie Dagadu, who told the Daily Graphic that they would be giving out samples  of their products, Alvaro and Origin.

Radio

Some radio and television stations have also mounted their masts and set up studios, with some expected to bring in their Outside Broadcasting Vans (OB)

The Kumasi Traditional Council has banned all funerals throughout the Ashanti kingdom until the burial of the Asantehemaa.

The decision was taken after an emergency meeting on Thursday by the council after the official announcement by Manhyia Palace of the death of the mother of the Asantehene.

The late Asantehemaa was the 13th queenmother of the Asante Kingdom.