Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital, was yesterday turned into a ‘black city,’ as thousands of mourners besieged the forecourt of the Manhyia Palace to mourn the death of Asantehema Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, whose one-week celebration was being marked.
Chief among the mourners were President John Mahama, former presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and Jerry John Rawlings, ex-First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate.
Some powerful traditional leaders on the African continent, including Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, Esama of the Benin Kingdom in Nigeria, chiefs from Asanteman and Ghana at large, other politicians, the clergy, business men and women, as well as people from all walks of life were present.
The late Asantehemaa, who was the biological mother of the sitting Asantehene, reportedly died in her sleep at the Manhyia Palace on November 14, this year.
She was said to have been unwell for some time now, according to sources at the palace.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who was dressed in a black cloth, left his Manhyia Palace in a palanquin at about 1pm, amid the singing of dirges and the firing of musketry. He also majestically danced to traditional Asante mourning tunes.
The Asante King, who was seen chewing cola as custom demands, was taken to the Asantehemaa’s palace where some rituals were performed behind closed doors.
The Asantehene and his entourage finally touched the funeral ground around 2:10 pm to rapturous ovation by the charged mourners.
Otumfuo finally sat in state for the dignitaries to pay homage to him.
Some Asante culture, which dates back to several centuries, were showcased during the solemn event. For instance, some women were seen holding long brooms which were lit with fire as they moved across the funeral ground.
Some strange horns were also blown at the event to signify that the Asante Kingdom had lost an influential personality.
Some of the Asante chiefs were also seen dancing to some strange mourning tunes.
Top fetish priests in Asanteman also made some magical displays.