The Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana is one of Africa’s oldest and most powerful kingdoms with rich history and culture that have survived centuries of wars and colonialism.
The Ashanti monarchy is a sacred institution which is not accessible to everyone at any time unless during festivals and rituals when the monarch, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, the 16th Asantehene and traditional ruler sits in public and displays the Ashanti culture at its best.
In line with the 20th-anniversary celebration of the enstoolment of the Asantehene, who was named Nana Barima Kwaku Duah at birth, the Kingdom has launched a mobile app called the Manhyia Palace Mobile App.
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Named after the palace where the Asantehene resides, the App enables interaction with the Kingdom, shares content through its podcast and live video streaming channels, as well as, alerts and notifies users on happenings and activities within the palace via its txt-powered messages platform.
Co-developed by communication consultant and sub-chief Nana Obiri Amaniapong II, Otumfuo Nkonwasuafuohene Kyeame, privately known as Nana Yaw Obiri Yeboah, the Manhyia Palace Mobile App was motivated by the vibrant social media platforms of the palace on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.
“The App is exclusively creating a delicacy that would digest the excitement, curiosity and anxiety among users willing to be entertained, educated and exposed to exclusive nature of the great Kingdom, a crown colony united by one unique symbol, the Golden Stool,” Nana Obiri Amaniapong II told Face2Face Africa.
“The Manhyia Palace Mobile App is a historic first-ever royal and kingdom powered mobile app in Africa which will play a significant role in storytelling as well as the display of activities under the anniversary calendar and beyond,” he added.
A special feature on the App is the Manhyia Palace Museum which gives a virtual reality tour of the palace’s most unique and decorated royal museum. Users can virtually tour the museum by subscribing via a payment platform to grant them access to the one-time Empire, now Kingdom dating back to 400 years.
“Initially, we had decided to build the first-ever royal museum mobile app in Africa (and maybe in the world), hence as developers, we decided it is better we incorporate the very virtual reality museum unto the same app than creating a whole different platform,” Nana Obiri Amaniapong II disclosed to Face2Face Africa.
The Manhyia Palace Mobile App is already available on Google Play and Apple Store for free download to have a feel of the great Ashanti Kingdom which is currently celebrating its King who is marking 20 years on the Golden Stool.
The presence of the Ashanti Kingdom on social media and the launch of the App is a great advancement for African history and culture which several other kingdoms in Africa can learn from. In telling our own stories, one must also move with the trends of the world in order to stay in the minds and hearts of many and the Ashanti Kingdom is exhibiting that.
How the Ashanti Kingdom was formed
The Ashanti Kingdom revolves around the sacred Golden Stool which is considered a symbol of nationhood because it is believed to contain the soul of the Ashanti people. It is so sacred that no person whatsoever is allowed to sit on it.
According to legend, Okomfo Anokye – then a friend and advisor of Osei Tutu (the first Asantehene – 1701 to 1717) over 300 years ago, called a meeting of all the heads of each Ashanti clan.
The agenda was to unite under one of the chiefs whose stool would be greater than all the other stools, and any chief enstooled by any of the states was to swear the oath of allegiance to him.
Oral tradition has it that the meeting was also Osei Tutu’s carefully thought-out plan to overthrow the Denkyira, a neighbouring kingdom and a highly developed Akan state that was quickly growing and gaining dominance over other southern states in the 16th and 17th centuries.
During the meeting, Okomfo Anokye conjured a mysterious golden stool from the heavens which landed on Osei Tutu’s lap, meaning that he had been chosen by the ancestors and the gods as the “unquestionable king of the kings of the Asante Nation.”
“Fingernails and small collection of hair from each chief were collected, all was burnt and the ashes, some smeared on the gold stool and the rest was mixed in palm wine for all the chiefs to drink. Okomfo Anokye told them that the gold stool contained the spirit and soul of the Asante Nation. The portion they drank meant that they had sworn to the gods and ancestors, which meant they had taken an oath to unite and forget their past individual histories. Nana Osei Tutu took the oath of allegiance to the golden stool and all the chiefs, and each of them, in turn, took an oath of allegiance to Nana Osei Tutu and the oath never to raise arms against the Golden Stool. That was the beginning of Asante Kingdom. Nana Osei Tutu was, therefore, made the first King of the Asante Kingdom,” according to records by the kingdomofasante.com.