Tradition & Culture

Gonja Community Enskins New Chief

A new Gonja Chief, Ewura Alhaji Abdul Fatah Iddrisu, has been enskinned as the overlord of the Ashanti Regional Gonja Traditional Leaders and Head of the Cabinet. This enskinment ceremony took place during the 2023/2024 Damba Festival Celebration at Akwatialine in Kumasi on Saturday, January 20.

The enskinment, coinciding with the Damba Festival celebration from Thursday, 18th to Saturday, 20th January 2024, occurred at the Gonja Chief Palace in Akwatialine-Kumasi.

After the resolution of the dispute leading to the peaceful enskinment of a Gonja Chief in the Ashanti Region, it paved the way for the celebration of Damba with splendour.

The Grand Durbar of the celebration took place on Saturday, January 20, at the forecourt of the Kumasi Central Mosque, with the theme: “Uniting for Socio-Economic Development Through Culture: The Role Of Chieftaincy Institutions”.

Reflecting the theme of this year’s annual Damba festival celebration, it was not surprising that chiefs and people turned up in numbers to celebrate the festival.

Revellers, hailing from various locations, trooped to the durbar grounds at the Kumasi Central Mosque Forecourt, adorned in beautifully woven smocks of varied colours, sizes, and styles. Some sub-chiefs rode on decorated horses with their respective retinues, amidst drumming, singing, and dancing to popular traditional songs.

Climaxing the Damba festival were notable figures such as the Ashanti Regional Chief Imam Sheik Abdul Mumin Haroun, Asanteman Zongo Nkosuohene Alhaji Abdul Ali Barry, Ashanti Region NPP NASARA Coordinator Alhaji Salim Bamba, Member of Parliament for Asawase Constituency Hon. Muntaka Mubarak, Otumfuo Brempong Nana Antwi Boasiako (Homabenasehene), and the Zongo Community hailing from diverse tribes.

In an interview with Opemsuo News Reporter Kwaku Wusu Aduomi, the spokesperson for the entire Gonja Community, Ewura Baba Alhassan (Kokoliwura), expressed gratitude to the Zongo community for their outstanding turnout at the final Durbar.

He emphasized the Gonjas hail from the Savannah land and migrated to the Ashanti land in their their quest for unity, peace, and harmony.

According to him, the enskinment of a new chief is crucial for fostering peace and development within the Ashanti Zongo Community as a result of their large population.

Asanteman Zongo Nkosuohene, Alhaji Abdul Ali Barry, commended the Gonjas and the entire Zongo community for the colourful Durbar display.

He urged Zongo youth to refrain from conflicts, especially in an election year, emphasizing the need for a peaceful election devoid of criminal activities.

“The Damba festival is not solely for Gonjas but rather a festival which is titled Damba for various tribes in the northern part of Ghana, this festival is from the Islam religion which celebrated to remember the birth of Prophet Mohammed, in the Islam language called (Molid), also if there is no peace and unity among us we cannot celebrate Damba festival, and you can testify based on people present at the just ended Celebration that indeed there is love, unity and togetherness among us.”

Otumfuo Brempong, doubling as the Chief of Homabenase Nana Antwi Boasiako, represented Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Damba Festival.

“Speaking of the Ashanti Kingdom, there are different types of tribes living across, showing that we are one people. Asanteman is for unity and development, which Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has always been preaching. This drive will boost the peace, unity, and development of Asanteman together with various Zongo communities in our kingdom,” he said.

Photos from the event:

Story by Johnson Owusu Aduomi

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