Ghana Ashanti Coronation Ceremonies
Story and Photos by the late Eunice Rawlings

eunice and ellenAs a prelude to the 1999 Congress in Ghana, four of us from the ATA SoCal Chapter planned a tour to the Ashanti Kingdom. Arriving in Ghana, we were met by Alfred of Expert Travel & Tours who asked us "How would you like to attend the Enstoolment of the new King of the Ashanti?" Jet lag was instantly replaced by anticipation! We arrived in Kumasi on the eve of the Coronation. The official name of the ceremony is an Enstoolment. The Golden Stool is the great symbol one might say "soul" of the Ashanti nation, and each Asantehene is placed on the stool as a culmination of the enstoolment ceremonies.

Editor's note: Two ATA members from the USA, Elyse White and Freddye Henderson, were enstooled in the last two years. Photos: Above (left to right): Ellen Posell, ATA SoCal Board member, Screenwriter Avery Williams, Marlene Davis & Eunice Rawlings, ATA SoCal Board members.


Asantehene Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, passed away in February 1999 and the nation went into deep mourning. He had ruled his nation for 29 years. Now, in May, here we were in Kumasi as history was being made. The morning ceremony was staged in the main square amidst a huge crush of happy Ghanaians, on the street, on balconies and on rooftops. Miraculously, Alfred managed to arrange for us to sit in the VIP seats along with the Ashanti chiefs, their ladies, Papal representatives in their red and white regalia and government officials from around the world.

Coronation: The atmosphere was electric with dancing, singing and the rhythmic throbbing of the drums that finally reached a crescendo when the chosen one, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II was carried into the square in his palanquin. Surrounded by his entourage and dripping in gold, the soon to be enstooled Asantehene was most definitely regal. The effect was pure magic. When these proceedings were over we were swept down the main street in a tide of happy citizens . We had a great time dancing, talking and celebrating with them. In the afternoon the Asantehene and all the Ashanti chiefs were introduced to the population at large. Alfred found us a perch in the press-box that commanded a great view of the huge athletic stadium. It was filled with joyous admirers from the bleachers to the edge of the running track where each chiefdom was its own little village.

The brightly colored Kente or Adinkra cloth generally worn gave way to black woven damask, the official dress for special ceremonies. The women all wore black with touches of deep red. The effect was as dramatic as it was elegant! Deafening explosions emanating from a series of well placed pipe bombs and ancient muskets made clouds of smoke that heralded the arrival of the procession of chiefs in their palanquins shaded by brightly covered, richly decorated umbrellas. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II made his entry and the procession slowly snaked its way across the Stadium for all the world ~ our world at that moment, to embrace. The four of us, Marlene Davis, Ellen Posell, Avery Williams and I, all agreed that this had been one of the most memorable days of our lives.

New Web Site for Black Beauty
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Ghana: Thanks for the Memories
Years before I flew with Ghana Airways, or even set foot in West Africa, I had met many Ghanaians and found them to be one of the most outgoing, friendly races of people on the planet. Like many frequent travelers, I heard people say that "Ghana was the smile on the face of Africa." This was confirmed by two weeks in the country at the historic ATA-WTO World Congress in Accra. We were impressed by President Rawling's message, and the way Accra has prepared for the new millennium with an infrastructure of wide highways, overpasses and boulevards. We saw buildings, stadia and convention facilities that any developed nation would be proud of. The sights we saw and folks we met would fill volumes; the village of Koforidua at the Durbar ceremonies; the magnificent Cape Coast (a future Mecca for retirees); the Kakum National Forest, with its 6 swinging bridges. Historic Kumasi with its king's palace and Kente cloth weavers was unforgettable . Small wonder we kept running out of film for the camera..


Golden Tulip Hotel, Accra, Ghana
Thomas Sheriff, General Manager, Board Member, ATA.
For details and reservations. e-mail

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