Thursday, May 10 – 16, 2007
By: GEORGE ERNEST ASARE
*Otumfuo Osei Tutu II – It was his 57th birthday last Sunday
Last Sunday’s Akwasidae Festival was a unique one. Beside its regular significance as a day set aside for offering libation prayers and thanksgiving to the ancestors, it also marked the 57th Birthday of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and the eighth Anniversary celebration of his enstoolment as Asantehene.
The celebration which took place at the forecourt of the Manhyia Palace portrayed once again the rich culture of Asanteman and the international dimension the festival has assumed.
Akwasidae is celebrated every 40 days according to the Akan calendar and is a generally happy occasion when the Asante King sits in state to receive homage from his people as well as from guests.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II who sat in the state was adorned in gold ornaments. Being Adaekese, the last Akwasidae on the calendar year, all paramount, divisional, and sub chiefs were present to pay homage to the King.
Among the large number of dignitaries present was President John Agyekum Kufuor, who stole the show when He obliged the former Mayor of Kumasi, Okumkom Nana Akwasi Agyemang with a kete dance just before he left the durbar grounds.
It was Nana Akwasi, as he is popularly referred to in Kumasi, who initiates the move by teasing President Kufour to a kete dance. President Kufour was by then, biding farewell to the many celebrants who had converged at the forecourt of the Manhyia Palace. He paused, smiled, hitched his beautiful kente cloth a notch over his left shoulder and obliged.
For the best of five minutes, the two great sons of Asanteman treated the celebrants to unique kete dancing, their steps, gestures and facial expressions demonstrated the abundance of skills they had, and this brought many of the celebrants to their feet which added much flavour to the celebration.
The excitement had barely died after the departure of President Kufour when former President Jerry John Rawlings also appeared and took his seat against the background of cheering admirers.
Apart from dignitaries who attended the festival from neighbouring countries such as Cote D’ Ivoire, Nigeria and Burkina Faso among other, and paid homage to the Asantehene, a special delegation from Libya led by the Vice Chancellor of the LI Fateh University in Libya, Professor Salah M. Azwal, also participated in the celebration and presented some gifts to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Professor Azwal was led to the durbar grounds by the Vice Chancellor of the Kwaku Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Professor Kwasi Kwafo Adarkwa.
Some chiefs from Yamousukro who trace their lineage to Ghana, together with other chiefs from various parts of the country, also joined Asanteman to celebrate the occasion.
Among the dignitaries who attended the occasion were Minister of State, Chief Executives, the British High Commissioner of Ghana, Mr. Gordon Wetherel and his American counterpart, Ms. Pamela Bridgewater as well as the Brazilian, Netherlands and Nigeria Ambassadors to Ghana.
Graphic Showbiz - Thursday, May 10 - 16, 2007 Page: 16