Akwamuhene Storms Manhyia With 400-Year-Old Cloth
By Daniel Bampo
The paramount chief of the Akwamu Traditional Area in the Eastern Region, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, made history last Thursday when he donned a 400-year-old regalia to the burial rites of the late Asantehe- maa, Nana Afia Serwaa Kobi Ampem II. The paramount chief attended the ceremony at the Manhyia Palace with his royal entourage to commiserate with the King of Asante, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, on the death of his mother – the Asantehemaa.
Oral history suggests that the Akwamus and the Asantes have been close allies for several centuries and the camaraderie between the two kingdoms still continues.
The Akwamus also known as Akuambos, were said to have trained the Asante king, Osei Tutu I, who with the help of the fetish priest, Okomfo Anokye, unified all the Asante clans to become one strong kingdom.
It is believed that Nana Ansa Sasraku, the then Akwamuhene, provided him (Osei Tutu I) with 300 soldiers (asafo) from Akwamu to guide him to Kwaaman where he was to become a chief. But before King Osei Tutu made his journey to Kwaaman, Nana Ansah Sasraku gave him his war re- galia ‘batakari kesie’ – which the Asante chiefs still wear up till today. The Akwamuhene then vowed not to wear ‘batakari’ to war again. Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III explained the rationale behind the choice of the 400-year-old cloth he put on to Kumasi last Thursday in a post on Facebook.
According to him, the cloth is known as Ma- hony and it’s made of lion skin and cowries. “The name of the sacred cloth worn by His Royal Majesty Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, Akwamuhene, on the 3rd day of Ashantehemaa’s burial is Mahony. Mahony is a cloth “ntoma” made out of a lion skin and cowries and dated back 400 years. Mahony is a traditional bulletproof attire worn by Akwamuhene during war. The only thing that can destroy this special cloth according to oral history, is a sacred stone,” according to the post.