From May 26th – 27th, the Ashantis of Ghana, West Africa chose their New York regional leader, Nana Acheampong-Tieku, an accountant from the Bronx. The two day convergence included a vibrant celebration. “The elders had poured libations, the holy men had delivered invocations, and all had sworn allegiance to the Ashanti kingdom. A battery of percussionists, glistening with sweat, started pounding out waves of rhythm that brought hundreds of guests, draped in elaborate kente cloth, to their feet.” Nana Adusei Atwenewa Ampem I, Ashanti chief and foreign minister of the court of Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, the king of the Ashanti empire in Ghana, came to the Bronx to celebrate the special event.
By Kirk Semple
Published: June 3, 2012
“The inauguration was part of a quadrennial, two-day ceremony that is a high point in the Ashanti diaspora’s calendar, serving to strengthen traditions and community ties in New York. Nominated by a 10-member council of regional Ashanti elders, and voted on by community members, the regional chief has a range of ceremonial and practical duties. He mediates familial and business disputes, including fractured marriages, before they reach the courts.”
[While the membership count has been low compared to earlier years, it didn't stop New York's largest African immigrant group to push forward. To those who have immigrated from Ghana, they saw this as a way to stay linked to their heritage and roots from home.] “It took more than a year for Mr. Acheampong-Tieku, as the chief designated by the association, to raise enough money for the ceremony. ‘Our goal now is to get 2,000 members.’” he said. “‘It’s very much a challenge.’”
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