Colorful Coronation Ceremony in Hickory Hills Celebrates Rich GaDangme Culture
4 mins read

Colorful Coronation Ceremony in Hickory Hills Celebrates Rich GaDangme Culture

Hickory Hills, IL – In a vibrant celebration of GaDangme culture and heritage, the GaDangme Community Organization, GACO, hosted a splendid coronation ceremony at Chateau Del Mar on July 6, 2024. The event marked the installation of their new Mantse, Nii Yebouh Nortey Odiasempa I, along with other key members of the royal court.

The event occurred 22 years after the inauguration of the first Mantse, Nii Lante Okunka Blebodzan I. The incumbent Mantse, Nii Armah Ankonfrah I, was not sworn in. He, however, served with distinction for a remarkable 17 years.

The GaDangme, like many other Ghanaian tribes, have retained their ancient and revered tradition of chieftaincy. The term “Mantse” means “city father” or “city chief.” Over the centuries, a distinct hierarchy of chieftaincy developed, encompassing chiefs, queens, sub-chiefs, and other members of the court. Even in the diaspora, Ghanaian communities continue to emulate and celebrate these rich cultural practices, passing them on to future generations.

Nii Armah Ankonfra I, the outgoing Mantse, graciously guided and trained the new chief, Nii Yebouh Nortey Odiasempa I. In a sentimental moment, the incoming Mantse took an oath of office before the outgoing Mantse. In keeping with tradition, he sat on the outgoing chief’s lap three times, symbolizing his readiness for the task ahead, the peaceful transfer of authority, obedience, acceptance and guidance of his predecessor.

The Queen and other members of the royal court also took the oath. They all pledged allegiance to the new Mantse.

The other members of the Royal Court inaugurated are:

NAA OHUI AMACHOE ABLADE I, Chicago GaDangme Manye

NII KWAKWEI QUARTEY, Chicago GaDangme Mankralo

NII LARYEA ANIA, Chicago GaDangme Otseame

NENE NYADE AKONNOR, Chicago GaDangme Asafoiatse

NAA AYELE OSONGOR, Chicago GaDangme Asafoianye

NII KWATEKWEI AFADI-NSRO, University of Chicago

NII AYITEY (ANIMLE), Chicago GaDangme Wulomo

The theme of the celebration, “Unveiling our tradition, promoting health and fostering unity in our community,” resonated with participants.

The coronation ceremony was accompanied by traditional drumming and lively music by DJ Sam Pee. Members of the GaDangme community organization and other revelers danced and celebrated joyfully. The high table featured the Mantse, the Queen Mother and other members of the royal court, while the linguist held his staff of office while sitting in front of the court.

The dominant outfits were made of rich Kente fabrics. Specially designed black and white fabrics, adorned with the organization’s logo, and other elegant dresses added to the visual splendor of the celebrations.

King Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, current king of the GaDangme traditional area, sent a message of congratulations to the organization. He praised their vision and tireless efforts to promote and preserve GaDangme culture in Chicago. “Today,” he said, “as we celebrate this important milestone, let us reaffirm our commitment to unity, cultural heritage, and community development.”

Mr. Sonny Miils, Chairman of the organization, thanked the dignitaries, participants, the National Council of Ghana and GaDangme International for their unwavering support and encouragement.

Mr. William Amartey, the chairman of the ceremony, eloquently described the history of GaDangme as a journey through time. He expressed his deep gratitude to the leaders and members for their vision in helping their brothers and sisters displaced by the Volta River Dam leak. His closing words echoed the spirit of the celebration: “Today’s festivities are a reaffirmation of our heritage, our health and our solidarity.”

Joe Atiso, formerly known for his performances with Ramblers International, took the stage and showcased his remarkable talent, adding to the cultural richness of the event. The Ekome Feemor cultural troupe performed GaDangme traditional dances. It was a mesmerizing experience for the audience. Traditional dances are not only a celebration of culture but also a way to connect with our roots and express joy.

The rhythmic movements, vibrant costumes and spirited performances created a sense of unity and pride. Seeing an amazing, centuries-old cultural heritage come to life through the band’s performance was both heartwarming and nostalgic!

The presenters of the event, Mrs. Elizabeth Mills and Mrs. Abigail (Maame Asantewaa), played their roles brilliantly. Nummo Ayittey Laryea Wulomo, the spiritual leader, poured libations, seeking blessings and peace from their ancestral gods. The ceremony perfectly blended tradition, talent and community spirit.

Deserving members of the group received awards for their contributions, dedication and service.

The crowning of the GaDangme community organization was a ceremonial event and a testament to the enduring spirit of tradition and community. By continuing to honor their legacy, they are paving the way for future generations to embrace their cultural heritage.