General News of Friday, 20 January 2017
Source: daily graphic
Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, joined by the country yesterday bid farewell to the late Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, who died last year at age 111 at Manhyia place.
The four day burial rites were climaxed by a service by the Anglican Church in Kumasi for the Asantehemaa – who was the 13th Asante queen mother – at the forecourt of the palace in Kumasi in the afternoon.
Church service was characterized by the frequent firing of musketry by the royal guards at the Manhyia Palace, who were dressed in battle gear to display their sorrow and pain over the death of the great queen.
The queen was to be buried at the Royal Mausoleum, Breman, at midnight yesterday after some rituals by the Asante Kingdom, which date back several centuries, had been duly performed at another mausoleum at Bantama.
A curfew was placed on Kumasi by the Manhyia palace, which started at 7pm yesterday to 4am today in order to ensure a smooth transition of Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II from the earth to the next world.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the son of the deceased queen mother, was dressed in mourning cloth and holding a gun, as he attended the church service with his wife, Lady Julia.
The solemn event was also attended by top dignitaries, including President Akufo-Addo and his wife, Rebecca; Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and his wife, Samira; among other top officials.
Former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings; John Agyekum Kufuor; Speaker of Parliament, Mike Oquaye; NPP National Chairman, Freddie Blay and his wife, Gina Blay; the party’s Ashanti Regional Chairman, Bernard Antwi Boasiako, traditional rulers across the country and members of the diplomatic corps were also there.
Otumfuo Bids Farewell
Prior to the commencement of the church service, Otumfuo Osei II, who had sat in state and received President Akufo-Addo and other dignitaries, left the burial ground amid gunshots.
He went to the Asantehemaa’s palace where the late queen was lying in state, to bid her farewell. The dignitaries had to wait for about one hour before Otumfuo completed that mission.
The Asantehene finally arrived at the venue of the church service in a palanquin. The late Asantehemaa, who was placed in a magnificent coffin, was carried ahead of Otumfuo to the venue, amid the firing of gun musketry.
The top men of God from the Anglican Church prayed fervently for God to give a better resting place for the deceased Asante queen and also prayed for Gods’ protection for Otumfuo and the bereaved royal family.
Rt. Rev (Rtd) Sarfo Kantanka, preaching the sermon, urged Otumfuo and Asanteman not to throw their hands in the air in despair in these trying moments, assuring them that God is with them.
Tributes from the family, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Lady Julia and the Anglican Church – of which Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II was a devoted member – were read at the burial service.
At the tail end of the service, President Akufo-Addo laid a wreath on behalf of the people of Ghana; Daasebre Otuo Serebuo, Juabenhene, laid one on behalf of Otumfuo and Lady Julia; Daasebre Osei Bonsu and the Anglican Church, also laid one each.
Prez layuing wreath
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo laid a wreath on behalf on the people of Ghana
Daasebre Otuo Serebuo, Juabenhene, laying a wreath on behalf of Otumfuo and Lady Julia
The late queen was given a state burial for her exploits for mother Ghana and so the military carried her casket to the Bantama Mausoleum, where some rituals were performed before she was sent to Breman for interment.