Here’s the special Kente that has been worn since 1830 by seven Asante kings including Otumfuo

Michael Eli Dokosi Jul 7, 2020 at 01:00pm

July 07, 2020 at 01:00 pm | Culture, History

Michael Eli Dokosi

Michael Eli Dokosi | Staff Writer

July 07, 2020 at 01:00 pm | Culture, History

Asantehene Opoku Ware and Otumfuo Osei Tutu II

Historians submit the ancestors of the Akan lived in the open country of modern north-western Ghana and north-eastern Ivory Coast in the basin of the Black Volta. Known to speak the Twi language, historians are, however, uncertain if they originated in the region or emigrated from the ancient empires of Ghana, Libya, Egypt or Abyssinia (Ethiopia) or the basin of the Chad and Benu.

They converged together in the neighborhood of the confluence of the Pra and the Ofin rivers where they absorbed the pre-existing peoples, multiplied and developed their distinctive language, Twi, according to respected historian Prof. Albert Adu Boahen.

From here, they forged their patrilineal and matrilineal clan division and the seven-day calendar. It is from this region they founded their states of Twifo, Adansi and Denkyira.

The eight matrilineal groups or Abusua and their moieties are Eko)na and Asokore, Asona and Dwum, Aduana and Atwea and Aberade, Oyoko (Anona in Fante) and Dak), Bretuo and Tena, Agona and Toa, Asakyiri and Amoaakade, Asene3 and Adonten.

The patrilineal sub-groups or Akra are Busumuru, Bosompra, Bosommram, Bosomtwe, Poakwa, Nkatia, Afram and Abankwaade.

Since the Akan follow the matrilineal system of inheritance not only of property but also of stools, the matrilineal groups have certainly become more important and closely knit than the patrilineal ones.

The Oyoko people founded the Asante Empire with the first three Oyoko rulers being Obiri Yeboah, Osei Tutu and Opoku Ware. They helped the Asante Empire to get strengthened thanks to their diplomatic skill, marital ardor and statecraft.

Kente, a type of silk and cotton fabric made of interwoven cloth strips, took a special place in Asanteman (Asante State). Towns such as Bonwire, Adanwomase, Sakora Wonoo, and Ntonso in the Kwabre areas of the Ashanti Region are hubs for the weaving of Kente.

The current king Otumfuo in the special Kente cloth. Photo: Graphic Online

The reigning Asantehene (chieftain of the Asante) is Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who ascended the throne in 1999 succeeding his maternal uncle, Opoku Ware. He is the 16th king to ascend the Golden Stool.

According to columnist Akwasi Afrifa Akoto, a particular Kente has been worn for state events by generations of Asante chieftains. He notes Kwaku Dua Panin commissioned the Kente in the 1830s and has seen it passed down through six generations.

“How old do you think this ‘ntoma’ [cloth] is? It is so old that 7 Kings have worn it-commissioned and worn by Kwaku Dua Panin(1830s), the wealthiest Otumfuo ever who begot 300 children to Kofi Karkari to Mensah Bonsu Ababio to Prempeh Panin ne Prempeh Ababio to Opoku Ware Ababio to Osei Tutu Ababio…It is worn on very special occasions…Asanteman, get ready for the Eyie Kese3,” he wrote.

This Kente is so special it is only worn on grand events appreciated by those with antique and culture at heart.

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