Ghana’s powerful Ashanti kingdom escorts its queen mother to the ancestral village. The funeral of Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, who died last year at 111 years is a big deal in the gold-rich Ashanti region of the country.
The queen, known as the ‘Asantehemaa,’ was the mother of the current overlord of the kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. Nana Afia Kobi, was the 13th Ashanti Queen and reigned for 39 years.
But beyond the really colourful and deeply traditional event which lasts for days, Ghana’s Twitter space has joined in mourning the queen. The hashtag #RIPAsanteHemaa has been trending since Tuesday.
According to our tradition, she is the chief counselor. If Otumfuo has any problem, he has to go and see her first before he can take a decision. So she acts as a chief counselor for the Ashanti kingdom.
The hashtag joins a series of football related trends given that the African Cup of Nations is currently underway and the Black Stars of Ghana are in action. Hoping to go a step further than in 2015 when they were losing finalists.
Other trends include #dryveony – an entertainment show, #Black Stars, #CitiCBS – a socio political radio programme, #IswearByBKay, Pogba, Uganda, Ghanaians, DR Congo and Ivory Coast also make the trends.
Traditional chiefs of the kingdom and thousands of sympathizers converged to mark the funeral in Kumasi – the heart of Ghana’s Ashanti region. The current president Nana Akufo-Addo and all three ex presidents, John Rawlings, John Kufuor and John Mahama have all gone to pay their last respects.
Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan was also joined by other top politicians at the Manhyia palace where the queen is laid in state, she is expected to be buried on Thursday in Breman.
There is rich display of culture as the overlord, rode to the event grounds in a palanquin in the company of attendants. In keeping to tradition of the Ashanti Kingdom, there is an ongoing ban on noise-making until when she is finally laid to rest.
“According to our tradition, she is the chief counselor. If Otumfuo has any problem, he has to go and see her first before he can take a decision. So she acts as a chief counselor for the Ashanti kingdom.
“We know that our King, you know, he always does what is best for us. So he’s going to give us a wonderful Queen. That is all we are looking for,’‘ Bantama Chief, Nana Baffuor Owusu Amankwatia said.
A selection of tweets morning the Asantehemaa
TWITTA UNIVERSITY (@TwittaUNi) January 17, 2017
I like the Asantehemaa's advert on Tv. Tradition at its best..#RIPAsantehemaa— Chokolito (@RichieChoko01) January 13, 2017