Kumasi was on Monday bedecked in black as Asanteman marked Adae Dwoada on the fourth day of the 11-day final funeral rites of the Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II.
It was a day the warriors of Asanteman displayed their armoury with the chief mourner, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, donning for the second time his war regalia, batakari kesie.
The batakari kesie is believed to be imbued with spiritual powers to protect the Asantehene during war. Many rituals are performed before the Asantehene wears the batakari kesie.
All other chiefs walked from convenient places to congregate at Pampaso at Adum. From there, they were joined by a sea of mourners. The chiefs, also clad in their war regalia and armed with guns, then moved to the Manhyia Palace.
Pampaso features significantly in Asante history. It is the original site where the legendary Okomfo Anokye conjured the Golden Stool from the skies.
As a result, on an important occasion such as the funeral of the Asantehemaa, the Asantehene visits the Pampaso stool house to perform some rituals.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu was carried to the place in a palanquin, dressed in his war regalia with a number of amulets adorning both arms, as well as other items to show how he was spiritually protected.
The little over 1.5 kilometre journey took more than three hours to make.
The Asantehene intermittently fired from a specially made gold musket, while hundreds of warriors and mourners also fired very deafening muskets till the entourage arrived at Manhyia.
Otumfuo was hardly visible because almost every part of his body, including the head, was covered with charms and amulets. He also had a charm stuck to his lips.
That was to show Otumfuo’s readiness to lead Asanteman to fight for his kingdom and to protect those within, especially his queenmother.
Some roads, schools, shops, commercial banks and offices in and around the Central Business District were closed.
Most of the residents who had lined up the streets wanted to catch a glimpse of the Asantehene in his rare regalia.
Security detail, made up of personnel from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Ghana Police Service, Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Prisons Service and the Ghana Immigration Service, were deployed to provide security for the Asantehene and the mourners who had come from far and near.
Members of the Police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Unit were also deployed to beef up security on the routes that the Asantehene used.
Armed to the teeth with hoods, they teamed up with the military and cordoned off the road to provide safe passage for the Asantehene.
After the almost three-hour ride in the palanquin to Manhyia, Otumfuo Osei Tutu got down and fired some rounds from the golden musket.
The shots attracted the hundreds of mourners who had been waiting for hours at the dwabrem (ceremonial park) to catch a glimpse of the Otumfuo.
An hour later, Otumfuo Osei Tutu emerged in another palanquin, this time dressed in an all-red cloth (kobini) with a red head gear and wrist bands.
Dancing majestically to the tunes of fontonfrom drums right behind him, the Asantehene entered the funeral grounds to a thunderous applause, as some among the crowd made the victory sign with their two fingers to urge him on.
Immediately the king made himself comfortable, a large number of royals, also dressed in red, led by Abusuapanin Barima Osei Tutu, lined up to shake hands with him.
Later, tens of men carrying earthenware pots full of palm wine on their shoulders also lined up towards the Asantehene who directed them to distribute the palm wine to the people who had come to mourn with him.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led a high-powered government delegation, including Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare, and some ministers of state and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) leadership, to the funeral grounds to commiserate with Otumfuo Osei Tutu.