General News of Mon, 20 Aug 201862
Kofi Annan earns traditional burial rite typical of Asante Kings - Historian
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to be given a special traditional burial and funeral rites by Manhyia in line with the highest traditional title bestowed on the Ghanaian diplomat by the Asante Kingdom.
The International diplomat who served two terms as the UN chief died last Saturday, August 17, 2018, in a hospital at Bern, Switzerland, after a short illness.
Ghana’s flag is from Monday flying at half-mast for a week across the country and in all of Ghana’s missions globally in his honour.
In recognition of his service to humanity, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II on Friday, 16 August 2002 conferred on Mr. Annan, the title ‘Busumuru’; the highest traditional title in the Asante Kingdom.
“I and the entire Ashanti state have decided to add your name to the Busumuru title because of your selflessness and contributions to humanity, and (promotion) of peace throughout the world,” Otumfuor said as he placed a symbolic gold necklace around Annan’s neck at a traditional gathering in August 2002, the AP reported.
Busumuru is the name of the golden sacred sword, the highest sword of office used by the Asantehene to swear allegiance to the Asante Kingdom. The sword can only be held by its custodian and the Asante King.
According to a historian of Manhyia Palace, Osei Bonsu Sarfo Kantanka, the late Annan ought to be given a special burial rite typical of the ones given to Kings of Asante in view of the Busumuru title given him.
“As for that [special traditional burial & funeral], as tradition demands, all cost, it is a must; For bestowing the title Busumuru on him, it is a must. His funeral, no matter what, belongs to the Ashantehene,” Sarfo Kantanka told Onua FM.
Mr. Annan is the first and only person in the Asante Kingdom to have held that title.
“Ashanti has bestowed upon its illustrious son a precious title and the highest title in the Ashanti kingdom to his son Kofi Annan and so it can be likened to a statesman who has served the state hence mandatory that at all cost, Ashanti Kingdom would give him a state burial,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Manhyia is yet to speak on the matter.
The Busumuru sword
The sword was part of the spoils raided by the then Osei Tutu I and aided by Okomfo Anokye from the Chief of Wonioo called Adu Gyamfi before the establishment of the Asante Kingdom in 1680.
Women are not allowed anywhere close to the sword, and where it becomes necessary for them to, it has to be covered completely with white cloth before they are allowed near it.
Again, no form of darkness is to befall the Busumuru sword during gatherings of any kind.
The blood of a cow must not in any circumstance, come into contact with the sword. In line with that, the Asantehene and the custodian of the sword are refrained from eating beef in order to avoid contaminating the power of the sword.
Busumuru rites are performed every 40 days and all who participate in this sacred ritual, including the Asantehene, are required to wear white.