WOMEG 2019 is being organised as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II the king of the Ashanti Kingdom. There will be a special dinner ball to herald the birthday of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

April 26, 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the coronation of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool and sovereign ruler of Asanteman (the Ashanti Kingdom). He was enstooled on April 26, 1999 at the age of 49 years. Riding in a palanquin and wearing the “batakarikese,” (the war dress of the early Asante kings), Otumfuo entered a packed 60,000 capacity Baba Yara Sports Stadium to rapturous cheers from Asantes and other well-wishers. He succeeded Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, who died on February 25, 1999.

Before the coronation at the stadium, several rituals were performed in line with custom, including the swearing of the customary oath to the chiefs of the Kumasi Traditional Area at Dwabrem, the Manhyia Palace, where he chose the stool name Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

At Dwabrem, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II held the “Mponponsuo” (state sword) in his right hand, and with his “kuntunkuni” (black cloth) dropped to his waist, hailed the tradition and customs of his ancestors while pledging to follow the path they cut.

Since then the event is commemorated yearly and climaxed with a grand durbar of traditional rulers from the Ashanti Region and other parts of the country, attended by high-profile politicians, industrialists, tourists, members of the diplomatic corps, among other dignitaries.

The occasion creates a unique platform for exhibiting the rich Ashanti culture. Traditional drumming and dancing to keep alive the popular and age-old kete are some of the highlights of the annual event.

During this occasion, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, dressed in exotic kente cloth with richly varied colours, rides in a palanquin as traditional drummers display their art with passion. There is every reason to jubilate. Asantes feel a sense of unity, which is epitomized in their leader – the Asantehene (Asante King). The emblem of the Ashanti Kingdom – a porcupine (kotoko in the Akan language) – signifies resilience. The Ashantis were warlords who conquered a number of people in the olden days.

And the Akan accolade, “Asante Kotoko, wo kum apem a apem beba” means if thousand Asantes were killed (in a war), another thousand would surface to continue fighting, That is related to the porcupine with the numerous thorns on its body. As they (thorns) come off, they are replaced with others – thus the choice of that animal for the emblem.

Although the programme for the 20th (2019) anniversary celebration has not yet been made public at the time of this write-up, the major highlights as stated above, will feature prominently. The celebration, it is believed, will be shifted to coincide with Otumfuo’s birthday.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was born on May 6, 1950 and named Nana Barima Kwaku Duah, the youngest of the five children of the late Asantehemaa (Queen mother of Asante), Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II.  His father, Nana Kwame Boakye-Dankwa, was from Kantinkyere in the Ashanti Region and was also the Brehyia Duke of Asante. Nana Kwame Boakye-Dankwa died on January 1, 2002, in Kumasi.

The Ashanti Monarch has six children and is married to Lady Julia Osei Tutu. His name at birth – Nana Barima Kwaku Duah – is the name of his paternal grandfather.