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Ashanti Queen Mother dies at the age of 111

The Queen Mother of His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, ruler of the Ashanti Region in Ghana, has died in her sleep at age 111.

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His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, whose mother died (Photo credit: Flickr: Retlaw Snellac via Wikimedia Commons CC)

The Manhyia Palace officially announced the death of Asanteman, Nana Afia Kobi. The Chief of Staff, Kofi Badu, signed the statement, which reads:

“Manhyia announces with profound sorrow the passing to her eternal village of Nana Afia Kobi Serwa Ampem II, the
Asantehemaa and mother of His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. She was 111.”

The statement further described the Queen Mother as: “the pillar of strength and source of wisdom behind the transformational reign of His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.”

It did not mention whether the Queen Mother was previously suffering from ill health.

The late Queen Mother reigned as Empress for 39 years and she was the thirteenth Asante Queen Mother since 1695. She was installed in 1977 after the death of the late Nana Ama Serwaa Nyarko II who reigned from 1945 until her death in 1977.

An emergency meeting was held on Thursday to allow for the people to convey their condolences to Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. There hasn’t been any public statements sent to the palace, but Royal Central will update this story if further details become available.

In accordance with Asante tradition, the Manhyia Palace will perform the Queen Mother’s one-week rites on 24, November. As a result, a ban has been placed on the people holding any other funerals, drumming and noise making until after her funeral.

In the Asante culture, when someone dies, their loss is one felt by everyone in the community, not just their immediate and extended family members. Everyone grieves; funerals may be attended by those in the hundreds. The funerals are held to celebrate the person who has passed. The funeral is held after the burial to allow the person’s soul to transition to the ancestral world where their spirit becomes a protective spirit for the clan.

Relatives of the deceased wear red, while everyone else wears black. And all wear as much gold jewellery as they can carry. Many rituals are held during the funeral. Offerings are made to the spirits of the ancestors such as food, drink, and traditional dances. The Ashanti chiefs in attendance remain under the shade of colourful umbrellas with members of their court surrounding them.

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