A new Chief for Mampong
Although Ghana is now a stable democracy and is considered a model in the region in this respect, there is still a parallel political structure that is inspired by ancient traditions and whose importance to the Ghanaian people is not underestimated. should - the chieftum. Each ethnic group has its own rules in this area, but they usually have nothing to do with classical democracy in modern understanding. On a small scale, as leaders of villages and towns, chiefs like mayors seem to be transferred into our world of thought, but on the whole their role goes far beyond that. A good example of this is the great chief of Ashanti, who is the head of an entire ethnic group and for which Ashanti himself has enormous importance and spiritual greatness.
Nana Ntiamoah Gyan IV of Mampong does not quite come close to this celebrity, but at least he became the new chief of his hometown in our presence. Since there was some kinship relationship with the family where we were allowed to live in 2013, we were very lucky to be at the forefront of his inauguration (the so-called Enstoolment Ceremony). I was even more fortunate because, as a photographer, I was granted absolute VIP rights to the group and was always placed in the front row of events, which was sometimes really unpleasant for me. The only condition: to live up to tradition, we all had to wear some white ribbon visible. It in the photos afterwards I realized how crazy I must have looked.
The place where the whole thing took place was Mampong (at least by spelling on the T-shirts that were available that day, Google saved the place under Mampon, possibly to avoid confusion with the slightly more famous Mampong in the Ashanti region), which is only a few kilometres from Aburi and therefore not too far from Accra. Nevertheless, our day started damn early and no one in our group knew what to expect that day. The arrival was also rather unspectacular over several hours. There had to be different houses of families, where there was a Meet and Greet and we were presented. Finally, it was the future Chief's house, which is just outside. There we basically noticed for the first time that something bigger is actually happening today, because here large pots were fired with food and many people were busy preparing remarkable quantities of food. After some time, the procession to the village was prepared, with a strict order having to be observed. Everyone was sorted into the not-too-large group, except for me: I should be able to let off steam as a photographer.
After all the preparation, the colourfully mixed group set in motion towards the centre, while various speeches were held and drinks (presumably liquor) were poured onto the street time and again. Arriving in the actual town centre, the whole thing then developed a previously unforeseeable momentum of its own. The number of fence guests grew rapidly and more and more people joined the procession until it finally became quite narrow on the streets. Now also guns appeared in the crowd and again and again air shots were fired, which led to quite a roar in the ears at an unfavorable point of view.
The procession now headed for several houses of Mampong, with only selected guests having access, while large parts of the procession always had to wait outside. At each station, different rituals were performed, the meaning of which remained partially closed to me. By and large, it was probably about the important people of the place showing their support and respect to the new chief and accepting him as their leader. The real highlight, however, was the "white coloring" of the face of Nana Ntiamoah Gyan IV and his personal warrior. Afterwards, both were trained and carried by Mampong as the procession continued, which had now reached an astonishing proportion.
This was followed by the actual "coronation" in the local hall, which we did not fully experience, however, as well as the so important banquet, for which everything was already prepared in the morning. This was the end of the most strenuous day of the trip to date and I maintain that I have never sweated so much until that day. But this deep insight into Ghanaian culture was definitely worth every drop of sweat.