Video: Honoring the Asante King, Kumasi, Ghana
The Adae Kesie festival is celebrated every five years as a culmination of smaller-scale rituals that take place every six weeks across Ghana’s Asante Kingdom. During Adae Kesie, the Asantehene, or king, leads the nation in celebrating its history and honoring and thanking ancestors for their guidance and support. The two-week celebration combines a public parade, where the king and chiefs display symbols of power and wealth, with more private rituals, during which offerings are made at shrines dedicated to important ancestors.
This video features the 2004 Adae Kesie festival held in Kumasi, Ghana, the kingdom’s capital city. A long line of linguists, the king’s official spokesmen, are identifiable by their staffs. They process through the streets alongside others carrying important symbols of kingship, including chairs, drums, and stools. The reigning Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is transported on a palanquin and dressed in resplendent gold regalia and a brightly colored, hand-woven kente wrapper. A massive double-tiered umbrella shades the Asantehene, while single-tiered umbrellas shade important chiefs. Throngs of followers, many dressed in outfits of white and blue, Asante mourning colors, fill the streets.
Videos by Susan Vogel, Prince Street Pictures
Edited by Harry Kafka
Video production was made possible through support from the Auxiliary Board of the Art Institute of Chicago and members of the Committee for African Art and Indian Art of the Americas: Marilynn Alsdorf, Charles and Marjorie Benton, Mary Carol Fee, Marshall Field, Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Handler, Rita Knox, Louis J. Kraus, MD, Renée Logan, George and Roberta Mann, Terry McGuire, Cynthia and Terry Perucca, Stephanie and Bill Sick, and Anne Whipple.