The King of the Ashanti

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The Asantehene presides over Akwasidae, when his subjects pay homage to him outside his palace in Kumasi.

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The Asantehene and his chiefs, resplendent in fine Kenti cloth and gold jewellery, sit under their umbrellas listening to the drums.

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Shopping in Kumasi 

Many stalls line the footpaths in town, including this oven shop on a roundabout under a tree. A cacophony of vendors’ calls, preachers and buskers adds to the sensory overload.

The crowds inside the central market, the largest open air market in Africa, are on a whole new level though.

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Trade in fabrics, shea butter, coconuts, beads, snails, drums, vegetables, tailoring, and so on attracts people from afar. You can even buy a jar of “Shit Paste”, but we didn’t try it.

 

Kumasi, Ghana

We are staying at Daddy’s Lodge. The building used to be the Kumasi Clinic, run by the owner’s father, doctor to the expats when we lived here in the sixties. The owner kindly drove us around the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where we lived. This was our house and garden.

Below is the Mechanical Engineering Department where Dad worked and the university  entrance, which is shaped like an Ashante stool.

Kumasi is the same as it was when we lived here. It has flowering trees, banana and palms. The  young women in vividly patterned fabrics carrying loads on their heads and babies on their backs, the old women sweeping with a handful of twigs and the tropical, earthy smell are familiar. Many people get water from the public tap, and earn a living from  meagre stalls, often next to open sewer drains. Despite this poverty, education, health services and food are available to all, and people are very friendly.

To Kumasi

On the bus to my childhood home, Kumasi, this man spoke passionately into his microphone in Akan for half an hour, mentioning in English Nkrumah, the father of Ghanaian independence, and quoting Biblical verses. He turned out to be a travelling salesman, selling stress balls!

We passed villages,

roadside vendors,

jungles and farms.

Here in Kumasi for a week, we’ve already located a good chop bar for fufu, and our local peanut and plantain roasting stall.

“One cedi for one plantain,” she said. Bargaining for a bulk price, I asked how much four cost. She stared as though I was an idiot.

“Four cedis.”

Accra, Ghana

 

This carpenter creates coffins which represent the dead person’s interests.

This woman is pounding yam into fufu, with which I ate delicious nut, goat and chilli soup.

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This church held the most fabulous Sunday service imaginable in the local language, with a congregation of about 200 Ghanains, mostly in traditional dress (and one tourist), a band which included a trumpeter and a choir. Everyone danced hi life style to a stirring gospel singer. Amazing!