The remains of the Ga Manye, Naa Dedei Omaedru III, have been laid to rest at a royal cemetery in Accra. This followed an interdenominational burial service and traditional rites held at the forecourt of the Ga Mantse Palace for the queenmother last Saturday.
There was a procession of the various Asafo companies (warriors) waving flags while others fired muskets that accompany royalty in the Ghanaian cultural setting.
Some young women clad in red and carrying pots also processed to the funeral grounds.
A group of young men who were also clad in red provided brass band music to bid farewell to the Queen who also won the Greater Accra Beauty Contest in 1960 and 1961.
She also placed second in the National Miss Ghana Beauty Contest in 1961.
A high-powered government delegation led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and their spouses, Rebecca and Samira, joined the Ga state to mourn the late Ga Manye.
Ministers of State, members of the diplomatic corps, Members of Parliament, security services, Council of State members, political party representatives and the clergy were in attendance.
The Chief Justice, Gertrude Torkornoo, and other Judges and officials from the Judicial Service were also in attendance.
The dignitaries also included the immediate past Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye; the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Free Zones Authority, Michael Oquaye Jnr; the Inspector-General of Police, Dr George Akuffo Dampare, and other security chiefs.
There were other delegations including chiefs and queenmothers from Togo, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, and other guests from the United. Kingdom.
At about 9 a.m., a procession of chiefs started arriving at the palace grounds amid traditional drumming, dancing and blowing of the traditional horns made from elephant tusks and cow horns.
Also in the procession were men and women carrying stools with different symbols of their respective traditional areas.
The chiefs included a delegation from Dagbon led by the Chief of Pishigu, Naa Alhassan Andani.
Prominent chiefs from Ashanti and areas such as Akyem, Akwamu and Aburi in the Eastern Region; Agotime in the Volta Region, Oguaa in the Central Region and Wassa Akropong in the Western Region and other parts of the country were all well represented.
Members of the various Regional and National Houses of Chiefs joined the Ga state for the royal burial service.
The Ga Mantse, King Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, and his retinue arrived by 11:20 a.m. setting the stage for proceedings to begin.
The Sempe Mantse and Mankralo of the Ga State, Nii Adote Otintor II, who chaired the Central Funeral Planning Committee, and other funeral committee members, the Gbese Mantse and Adonten of the Ga State, Nii Ayi-Bonte II, paramount chiefs and queenmothers in the Ga State, all joined in their full regalia.
In a sermon, the Minister of the Anglican Church at Ridge in Accra, Rev. Canon Andrew Torgbor, said the Ga Manye showed love to her neighbours when she was alive and expressed the confidence that she was now resting in the bosom of the Almighty God.
He said there were so many attributes of love such as patience, sacrifice, truth and unity, stressing that “we don’t see God and the only way we can show love to God is to show love to our neighbours”.
Traditional, committal rites
After the solemn burial service and other activities at the Ga Mantse Palace grounds, three traditional rites were performed at a hall where she lay in state within the premises of the palace.
According to custom, the rites signified the return of the oath the queenmother took when she ascended the stool as Ga Manye.
The three rites were performed by the paramount chiefs of the Ga Traditional Council, the traditional warriors and the linguists or Okyeames.
The clergy from the Anglican Church also performed committal rites.
The entrances to the hall where she was laid in state were then closed and guarded by the warriors in line with Ga royal traditions and customs.
There was a heavy presence of the police supported by other security agencies during all the proceedings to ensure a smooth departure of the queen.
The Ga Mantse sounding poetic, paid glowing tribute to the late Ga Manye and promised to continue to honour her by ensuring that her legacy lives into the future to promote peace, progress, unity and prosperity of the Ga State.
“As a young girl of 29 years, Manye Naa Omaedru III accepted the mantle of leadership and for the 60 years that she reigned, she demonstrated the essence of Ga royalty through her commitment to her people, especially women and girls, and secured her place in history as the longest reigning queen of the Ga State,” King Tsuru II stated.
“A King without a Queen is not whole and your departure has left me incomplete,” the Ga Mantse further said.
A tribute by the Ga State equally eulogised the queen and said she would be remembered for her passion and support for the Accra Great Olympics and other heroes in boxing and football.
A member of the Central Funeral Planning Committee and former Attorney-General, Nii Ayikoi Otoo, read the Ga Manye’s biography which described her as an achiever in all aspects of life, including her charity work and the love she had for all Ga children.
The biography recalled that she donated GH¢12 million to the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled at the Ghana National Rehabilitation Centre in Accra.
Presidency, political parties
Speaking on behalf of President Akufo-Addo, a former Deputy Minister of Transport, Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus Glover, said the President recognised the immense contribution of the late Ga Manye to the Ga state and country and that was why he (the President) started commiserating with the Ga state as soon as he was told of the sad news.
The President and the Vice-President later donated GH¢100,000, assorted drinks and bottled water to the Ga Traditional Council and the Central Funeral Planning Committee to support the final funeral rites of the Ga Manye.
A delegation from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), led by the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Prof. Joshua Alabi, donated GH¢25,000 and assorted drinks to support the funeral.
The Majority and Minority Caucus in Parliament also donated GH¢20,000 to the Central Funeral Planning Committee in support of the funeral.
A visit by the Daily Graphic to the Makola Market and the Central Business District of Accra while the final funeral rites were taking place showed that the usual brisk business activities that characterised those areas were absent.
Shops were closed and the streets were almost deserted in compliance with the directive of the Ga Traditional Council in honour of the late queen.
Some commuters were also stranded as most commercial vehicle drivers did not work.
Naa Dedei Omaedru III, also known in her private life as Naa Dedei Ablah, was born on Tuesday, April 20, 1934 at Faase in Accra to George Holmes and Sarah Akweley Kotey, both deceased.
She left behind five children, 30 grandchildren and 59 great grandchildren.
She passed away on December 26, 2022 at Dansoman, Accra.