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Akan Cultural festival 2004

Enstoolment of the Akan King

This slideshow of photos are photographic report from the Akan cultural Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 25th 2004. Read more below the slideshow.

 

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All photos © Copyright Jacob Crawfurd. All rights reserved.

The Akan King in Denmark

The “coronation” of the local Akan kings and chiefs is an annual event –surprisingly also in Scandinavia. The Akan people are the largest ethnic group in Ghana and their history and rich cultural traditions go as far back as anyone can remember. Keeping traditions alive and passing it on to the next generation is actually one of the main reasons that the ceremony is carried out among the Akans now living in Denmark. The cultural festival marks a new year and maybe a new king, but first of all it is a social and cultural event bringing people together to have fun. It is an occasion where ancestors are honoured and history is explained to the children.

Traditionally in Ghana the royal titles are inherited, but in Denmark the king is democratically elected as chairman for the Akan community. The current king who goes under the name Nana Kwasi Agyemang I, is popular and it was no surprise that he was re-elected this year. The Queen is known as Nana Akua Amoatemaa I and also has several official tasks. The Ghanaian Ambassador attended the event together with representatives from other Ghanaian groups all dressed up in their best. The festival was complete with African food, music, speeches, libation and traditional dances. Highlights of the day were the staged “kidnapping” of the king and the following outdoor parade, which made many by passers stop and stare.

The Akans consist of several ethnic groups which all speak Twi of Fante. They also have common traditions and culture, among them the importance of sacred stools representing the kings and chiefs. When a king and queen (Akanhene and Akanhemmaa) are elected, they are said to be enstooled. The stool represents their power and draw historic lines back to the ancestors. The hand-woven Kente material is another important cultural symbol and nearly everybody wears something of Kente on a special occasion like this.

The Akanhene does not sit on his chair for the rest of the year. A lot of practical tasks come with the honour -and then there are the realities of European daily life: This king who is also an educated electronic technician, has a day job driving taxi in Copenhagen.

This story has been published in The African Courier no. 41/Vol.7 Dec. 2004 and Africa Positive, no. 16 2005.

 

 

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