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Knowing our History:The Coronation of an English Monarch & Wenchiman

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In May 1953, 70 years ago, the Wenchi traditional area, as it were, was part of Asanteman Council, located in the then Western Asante. Wenchiman was bestowed with a unique honour to represent Otumfour Nana Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, the Asantehene, who had been invited by Queen Elizabeth Regina II, for her coronation.

The then paramount Chief of the Wenchi Traditional area, Ohenekese3 Nana Kusi Appea I, and Barima Otuo Acheampong II, the then Kumawuhene were the two paramount chiefs out of 25 or so who were nominated to represent the Otumfour at the coronation in London on June 2nd1953.

Nananom Wenchihene & Kuamawuhene, left Takoradi Port with a ship on May 13tn 1953 and arrived at Liverpool, England, on May 25th 1953. They were met by Buckingham Palace officials and a brother of the then District Commissioner, DC, of Wenchi, Mr Edwards.

As part of the coronation activities, on May 28th 1953, Nananom had dinner with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at the Buckingham Palace. The historical record is that the Queen was very impressed by the regalia and Kente cloths worn by Nananom at the dinner. Mr Asafo Adjei, representative of the then colonial government of Gold Coast introduced Nananom to Her Majesty the Queen.

The other two chiefs who were invited directly by the colonial office were Tolon Na of the North and Nii Kwabena Bone from Greater Accra. The coronation itself took place on June 2nd at the Westminster Abbey. Nananom walked through the streets of London en route to the Westminster Abbey to the applause and cheers of British citizens who had then not seen such gold and Kente cloth before, according to Newspaper accounts published (Daily Telegraph and Times).

From historical records, some in the admiring crowd tried to touch the texture of the Kente of Nananom. Mr A. A. Munufie, from Techiman, then a student in London, accompanied Nana Kusi Apea I to the palace and coronation acting as Nana Kusi Apea 1 (kyeame), linguist. Mr Nimo, Secretary to the Wenchi State Council, was the umbrella carrier.

Dormaahene, Nana Agyeman Badu I, who was studying at Oxford, together with other students from the Gold Coast and residents organized a party for Nananom Kusi Appea & Otuo Acheampong. Nana Agyeman Badu and Nana Kusi Appea took the oath of allegiance to Otumfour Asantehene in the same year, 1950, and as a result became lifelong friends afterwards.

Nananom returned from England after the coronation on June 25th to Takoradi port with a ship. Those were the days when ‘abrokyire’ England, in particular was likened to heaven on earth so people of Wenchi were overjoyed with the fact that their chief had been to the White man’s land and above all seen ‘abrokyire hemaa’ the Queen.

Consequently, some Wenchi citizens travelled hundred of miles from Wenchi to Takoradi and with songs and dancing to meet Nana Kusi Apea who was carried in a palanquin through the streets of Takoradi to the station where he travelled to Wenchi through Kumasi to brief Otumfour; and continued to a tumultuous welcome at home to a big durbar organized by the DC, Mr Edwards, and Nananom of the State Council and settler communities.

Nana left Wenchi on May 10th, and until his return on June 26th, in accordance with custom, the Kontihene, Nana Kwadwo Damoah acted as the Wenchihene. Nana Kwadwo Damoah at the durbar ceremony at the town park handed over to Ohenekese3 Nana Kusi Appea I.

Wenchiman felt honoured that their chief was bestowed this rare honour.

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