The visiting Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, were yesterday given a taste of the rich Asante culture when they attended a special Akwasidae Festival held in their honour at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.
A number of Chiefs and Queenmothers, clad in rich Kente clothes of different colours, with native sandals, necklaces and bracelets to match, lined up to pay homage to Otumfuo Osei Tutu ll, the Asantehene.
Others also presented assorted drinks, sheep and other gifts to the Asantehene, who sat in state in splendid Kente to exchange greetings with Prince Charles and his entourage, as well as dignitaries and well-wishers.
The Royal couple were welcomed to the durbar grounds amid drumming and dancing to kete and fontomfrom.
The durbar was also attended by a number of dignitaries, including the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei Mensah; the Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Osei Asibey Antwi; former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings; the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr David Asante Apeatu; Commissioner of Police (COP) Mr Kofi Boakye; COP Mr Ken Yeboah, and the Archbishop Emeritus of Kumasi, the Most Rev. Peter Akwasi Sarpong.
Speaking at the special Akwasidae Festival at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, underscored the need for the United Kingdom (UK) to assist Ghana to deal with poverty, illiteracy and diseases.
He said Ghana was at “war” with poverty, illiteracy and diseases and would need the help of its friends to fight them, adding: “It is a war we must win.”
Otumfuo Osei Tutu traced the relationship between the Golden Stool and the House of Windsor to the days of colonialism, saying that the animosity that existed between the Asantes and the British had, over the years, been transformed into a model of friendship and mutual respect, which was sustained by shared values.
Otumfuo appealed to Prince Charles and Britain to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities of collaboration existing between Ghana and the UK, adding: “I dare say that Britain can no longer walk away from the challenge of the economic development of Ghana.”
On behalf of Asanteman, he wished the British prince a happy 70th birthday which falls on November 14.
For his part, Prince Charles recounted his first visit to Manhyia some 40 years ago and the bond of friendship between Ghana and the UK, saying his second visit was to strengthen the bond between the countries in particular and between Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
He said he was particularly delighted at the warm reception accorded him and the Duchess of Cornwall.
As part of the Ghanaian hospitality, the Asantehene, on behalf of Asanteman, presented a stool embossed with a golden Asanteman totem to Prince Charles, while his wife was presented with a Kente cloth and a pair of native sandals.
The presentation was done on behalf of the Asantehene by Nana Otuo Siriboe, the Paramount Chief of the Juaben Traditional Area and Chairman of the Council of State.
Later, Prince Charles and his wife inspected the Kejetia Redevelopment Project and later visited a cocoa farm at Kona.
source: graphic online