Kumasi, Ghana – For four unending days, the Asante Kingdom will be wide awake observing the funeral rites of its longest-serving queen mother, Nana Afia Serwaa Kobi Ampem II.
Sunday midnight sparked the beginning of elaborate activities expected to end Thursday when the Queen’s body will be laid in a grave after a century, a decade and a year of living.
At 111 years old, the longest-serving queen mother will be served one of the longest-running funerals for royals in the Kingdom.
With Erastus Asare Donkor reporting from Luv FM in Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital, myjoyonline.com brings you live update of the kingdom in mourning.
On Day 1 Monday, all the Chiefs in the Asante Kingdom get the first opportunity to file past the body of the queen to pay their last respect until 11 a.m. The Asantehene Otumfuor Osei Tutu II will then end the day’s file past with his turn.
The Otumfuo will then sit to receive commiserations from his subjects.
Photo: The exit from the ground where Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem has been laid in state.
The body is heavy with gold ornaments, her head gets one last traditional royal haircut ‘Dansinkran’ and to hold all this together, she is dressed in kente to the top and a white and black woven cloth down.
Her skin glows with bronze and she has a countenance of peace in this final sleep.
Today, homage is paid largely by the various paramountcies and mourners are queuing up in a pretty thick stream to enter the inner parameter.
At the entrance to the Asantehemaa’s palace visitors are asked to remove all ornaments wrist watches, bangles, ornaments, bracelets before entering the inner perimeter leading to where she’s been laid in state.
There, visitors remove their footwear before entering the room where she lies.
A huge umbrella over an important, regal-looking man surrounded by a dozen subjects is all you need to pick out a chief or traditional ruler.
Traditional priests with their familiar love for white powder have also descended on Manhyia.
Music for the funeral is not stereo. It is man-power driven drumming and dancing and singing. Huge ‘frontomfroms’ are littered inside the Manhyia Palace. Before these drums, dancers, mainly women, bent over to give some kind of anatomical intepretations to the musical notes.
Just before 12 noon, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II looking sober in black mourning cloth enters the Queen’s place to pay his respect to his late mother.