The funeral of the late Queen mother (Ga Manye) of the Ga State, Naa Dedei Omaedru III, is underway in Accra amidst the performance of traditional rites and the display of rich Ga culture.
A series of activities, mainly rituals, started early this week for the late Queen and will continue until Saturday, October 28, 2023, when dignitaries will pay their last respects before she is finally laid to rest.
Preparations were at a fever pitch Friday afternoon amidst the firing of muskets at the Ga Mantse palace when GNA caught up with Nii Kwardey Ntreh, in charge of Culture at the Office of the Ga Mantse.
Highlighting the significance of the ceremony, he said, some of the rituals were open to the public while others had been restricted to selected members of the royal family and traditional leaders.
“The wake keeping, which started today will go up until the next morning when the actual funeral takes place at the Ga Mantse's Palace,” he noted.
A key aspect of the ceremony will be the various royal houses of the Ga State coming to “take back” their oath from the late Queen who swore allegiance to the Stool.
“Royals take an oath when they ascend the throne and when they pass away the oath is taken away from them. What will happen tomorrow (Saturday) is that the various traditional authorities, to whom the Queen swore allegiance, will come back to take their oath.
“The various groups will go where the body is laid and in secrecy, they will do their rituals, the body of the Queen will be conveyed to the various royal houses to bid them farewell and the actual burial is done by only the family and a selected few,” he explained.
He said various traditional guards (Asafo) would be in charge of the coffin followed by the fetish priestess of the Ga land, as the body is conveyed from the palace to its final resting place after 3 pm on Saturday.
While asking the public to follow laid down procedures, Nii Ntreh added that the restrictions imposed within the Central Business District of Accra were to pay homage to the late Queen while traditional leaders performed the necessary rituals in accordance with Ga customs.
“This is Accra and this is the culture of the people. So, let us respect each other,” he stated.
Nii Ntreh said the Council of Elders would deliberate on, who succeeds the Queen once all the rituals were over.
He recalled that the last time the Ga state had such a funeral was about ten years ago when the late Ga Mantse Nii Amugi passed on.
The late Ga Queen, known in private life as Naa Dedei Ablah, was born on April 20, 1934.
She is revered for her achievements as well as seeking the welfare of women and girls in the Ga State and beyond.
She became Queen of the Ga state in 1963 at age 29 and was gazetted on November 29, 1968, and ruled for 59 years.
One-time second runner-up in the Miss Ghana beauty contest, she received a number of humanitarian awards throughout her reign, including Excellence in Culture, Chieftaincy and Justice, presented in 2002 by the Gadangme Association International of Philadelphia.