BY: Kwame Asare Boadu | Graphic Online
The rich culture of Asante was in full display in Memphis, USA on Saturday, May 7, when a durbar of Asanteman was held to round off activities marking the 44th Memphis in May International Festival.
The durbar featured the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who sat in state to receive homage from Ghanaians including his subjects and other well wishers.
A procession made up chiefs, queen mothers in their beautiful kente outfits, and courtiers started from 126 Beale Street ending at the Handy Park, some 300 mrtres away where the Otumfuo Osei Tutu sat in state. Otumfuo was adorned in gold and as he walked majestically with the Mponponsuohene ( Chief Sword Bearer of Asante) displaying the Mponponsuo ( the sword which is used by a newly elected Asantehene), crowds of other nationals clapped and took photos.
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Among those who paid homage were Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Hajia Alima Mahama; Ghana’s Consul General in New York, Mr Atta Boafo; a former U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, and the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Memphis in May International Festival, James L. Holt.
Hundreds of Ghanaians mostly Asantes traveled from all parts of the United States to participate in the durbar . Fontomfrom and kete ensemble provided rich traditional music for the ceremony.
Miniature flags of the Asante kingdom which features a gold horizontal strip symbolising the mineral wealth of Asante, a green horizontal strip representing the rich rainforests, two thin-white horizontal strips and a black horizontal strip surmounted by the Golden Stool, was distributed to whites and blacks who lined the streets and as Otumfuo walked to the durbar grounds, they waved the flags in excitement. In a brief speech, James L Holt said Memphis was honoured with the royal presence of Otumfuo.
The Juabenhene, Nana Otuo Siriboe II who spoke on behalf of the Asantehene, said Asante and Ghana had a lot to share with Memphis and the United States