Thousands join Asantehene to mark 15th anniversary
An electrifying atmosphere dominated by rich culture characterised the celebration of the Akwasidae Kese to climax the 15th anniversary of the enstoolment of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as the Asantehene.
Scores of tourists and international journalists were at the celebration, as the event provided an opportunity for them to taste the rich culture of Asante and catch a glimpse of the Golden Stool, also known as Sika Dwa Kofi, which embodies the spirit and tradition of the Asantes.
More than 5,000 security personnel were deployed to provide security and maintain law and order.
Hundreds of people, both old and young, including chiefs from other regions in Ghana and dignitaries from other countries, defied intermittent drizzles early in the morning to line up the streets from Abrotia at Amakom from where Otumfuo Osei Tutu, adorned in pure gold and other ornaments, was carried in a palanquin to the Baba Yara Stadium.
The Asantehene, clad in a rich Kente cloth, waved intermittently to the crowd as he danced to the tunes of fontomfrom (big drums) and other rhythmic appellations against the background of the blowing of traditional horns.
President John Dramani Mahama, two former Presidents of the country, Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor, and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo were among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.
The Golden Stool was paraded for the first time in five years, the last time being when the Asantehene marked his 10th anniversary at the same venue.
The stool is believed to have been commanded from the skies by the great Asante priest, Okomfo Anokye, on a Friday.
It was an awe-inspiring moment when the Golden Stool finally entered the 41,250-capacity stadium, with everybody standing on his or her feet to catch a glimpse of it.
Trained traditional dancers heralded the majestic entry of both the Asantehene and the Golden Stool in an electrifying atmosphere.
Earlier in the day, the Asantehene had gone to key traditional shrines at places such as Nsuase at Adum to pour libation and perform other traditional rites.
Major roads leading to the stadium, including the one from the Ahmadiyya Roundabout, were closed to vehicles, a situation which compelled people to trek long distances to the stadium.
The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), which worked together with the Asantehene Anniversary Planning Committee, provided buses to convey people from various bus terminals to vantage points where they could look for other alternative means of transport to their destinations.
Traders selling various anniversary paraphernalia took advantage of the event to make some cash. Even at the 11th hour, the ceremonial cloth was still on sale, with a full piece going for GH¢100.
But business activities were restricted to the main entrance of the stadium, with only a few sachet water sellers and other hawkers being allowed into the stadium to do business.
Some popular Ghanaian actors and actresses, including Agya Koo and Kyeiwaa, livened up the atmosphere on their arrival at the stadium as they acknowledged cheers from the crowd.
Indeed, the story was no different when former Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor paid homage to Otumfuo Osei Tutu.
The stadium momentarily went agog with deafening cheers and applause.
The Akwasidae Kese officially ends the three-month celebration of Otumfuo’s 15th anniversary.
The Asantes have nine Akwasidaes in each calendar year.
The Akwasidae is observed at the end of every 40 days.
The Akwasidae Kese ends the Asante calendar.
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