Asantehene Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II being carried in a palanquin. More pictures available at the links below the article.
By J E Solomon
Last Sunday, April 26, 2009 marked the 10th anniversary of the ascension of Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II
to the Golden Stool as the 16th King of the great Ashanti Kingdom. Born on May 6, 1950, Osei-Tutu
II was named Barima Kwaku Dua after his paternal grandfather. He was the youngest of five
children of Nana Afua Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, Asantehemaa (Queenmother of Ashanti) and Nana
Boakye Dankwa. He succeeded Otumfuo Nana Opoku Ware II.
The splendid ceremony also marked the outdooring of the historic Golden Stool. All 55 paramount
seats and subchiefs under the Asantehene were represented. Also in attendance were foreign
dignitaries, the clery, members of the diplomatic corps, the current and former presidents of the
Republic of Ghana, Mr. J E Atta Mills and Flt-Lt Jerry Rawlings respectively. The former president of
Nigeria, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo was one of former heads of state who graced the occasion.
The Ashanti tribe is the largest tribe in Ghana, and one of the few matrilinial societies in West
Africa. It took the country’s former British colonial rulers four wars to finally conquer the brave
Ashanti warriors in 1900. However, the Ashanti culture remained strong and still has influence on
other tribes in most of southern Ghana. The capital, Kumasi, is well known for its massive Kejetia
Market, reputed to be one of the largest on the continent, covering over 25 acres in the center of
the city, and surrounded by crafts villages where skilled men weave multicolored kente cloth and
make the adinkra cloth artfully designed with special symbols sacred to the Ashanti people.
According to legend, the Golden Stool and a sword descended from heaven. The stool, therefore, is
kept in obscurity and brought out only for special ceremonies, such as the durbar held last Sunday
to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the current king’s ascension to the throne.
Although highly educated and holds a honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy from his alma
mater, London Metropolitan University, by custom and tradition of the stool, Nana Osei-Tutu II is
required to speak only the native Twi language once he is clad in his majestic outfit and in full
regalia representing the soul and embodiment of Ashanti royalty. For this reason, during his May
2001 visit to the United States, he had to speak in Twi to be interpreted by his spokesman Nana
Otuo Siribour. The language is very rich in proverbs and euphemisms are very common.
Veteran Ghanaian photo journalist, Isaac Yeboah, was at the ceremony to cover the event. More
pictures are available at http://photos.myjoyonline.com/gallery/photos/2009/9715.asp and http://photos.myjoyonline.com/gallery/photos/2009/9805.asp