The 16th occupant of the Golden Stool, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, yesterday performed a key traditional rite to openly demonstrate to the whole world that indeed, Asanteman is mourning.
The Asantehene, who was dressed in the ancient ‘Batakari Kesee,’ which literally means the biggest smock, fired several gunshots in a thick bush, situated right behind the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional capital.
Dignitaries like President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia and former President John Agyekum Kufuor, were all present when Otumfuo fired the symbolic shots.
Also present at the rich traditional ceremony were the Asantehemaa, Nana Ama Konadu; Lady Julia, wife of the Asantehene; children of Otumfuo and some prominent Asante traditional rulers.
The event marked the fourth day of the funeral rites of the late Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, who died at the age of 111. Two weeks have been earmarked for her funeral.
Reason For The Shots
The Asantehene, who was holding a nice gun decorated with tiger skin, fired a series of gunshots straight into the forest, amid the chanting of war songs and his name by the huge crowd of mourners.
Sources at the Manhyia Palace disclosed that the firing of the gunshots by the king was to prove to his people that he is a strong and fearless leader, who wouldn’t have hesitated in fighting death to rescue the late queen mother (who was his biological mother) if it was possible.
It was also to announce to the world that Asanteman had lost a great queen mother whose 39 years on the stool brought about peace, unity and massive transformation for the Asanteman in particular and Ghana in general.
Otumfuo, who from the look on his face, was sad following the demise of the Asantehemaa, was conducted round several spots in the thick bush as he fired the gunshots.
He started the firing in front of the new Asantehemaa, Nana Ama Konadu, who is also the biological daughter of the late Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II.
On completion of the ceremony, Otumfuo, who was dressed in red cloth (Kobini) was carried in a palanquin, as he majestically danced to ‘Fontomfrom’ tunes, which kept the charged crowd shouting.
President Akufo-Addo, Dr. Bawumia, ex-President Kufuor and all the dignitaries that were seated on the dais, were even seen standing on their feet as they made hand gestures to give the king more impetus.
Chiefs Fire Gun Shots
Earlier in the day, some selected prominent chiefs from Bantama, Asafo and Asokore-Mampong, just to mention but a few, stormed the thick bush and fired gunshots to show that they were mourning.
The noise from the firing of the gunshots was so deafening that some terrified people even took to their heels to take cover.
The funeral rites of the late Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II will continue with other rich Asante tradition and culture until it finally comes to an end with Muslim prayers at the Central Mosque on December 15, 2017.