By Muyid Deen Suleman/Emmanuel Amponsah
Kumasi Feb. 8, GNA – Thousands of people from all corners of the Asante Kingdom have gathered at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi to commemorate the invasion and brutal attack on the Kingdom by soldiers of the British colonialist, 150 years ago.
The Sargrenti War, which was fought in 1874 between the British forces under the command of Sir Garnet Woseley and the Asantes, saw the destruction of the Manhyia Palace and the stealing of hundreds of creative objects such as gold bars, silver ornaments, art works, paintings, and other priceless artefacts from the palace.
Many people, including chiefs and Asante warriors, were killed and the Manhyia Palace burnt during the invasion.
The durbar, christened ‘Kuntunkuni,’ (Black traditional mourning cloth) is part of activities marking the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the installation of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, as the 16th occupant of the Golden Stool.
It is to solemnly remember the war and mourn the gallant soldiers and people who died during the colonial brutality.
Chiefs from all paramountcies, divisions, towns and clans of Asanteman, clad in ‘Kuntunkuni,’ the traditional mourning cloth of the Asantes, as well as people from the various towns and communities are participating in the durbar, interspersed with dirges, war songs, fetish incantations, ritual performances and other traditional activities.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, who was carried in a palanquin to the durbar grounds, also wore the ‘Kuntunkuni’ to signify the mournful mood of Asanteman (Ashante Kingdom).
He will later sit in state to receive homage from well-wishers.
The Sargrenti War, one of the most bitter wars fought by the Asantes in the 19th century, is the darkest part of Asante history and always remembered with sour feelings.
As part of the durbar, Otumfuo Osei Tutu would receive some of the objects looted from the Palace during the war, which had been kept in America and British museums over the years.