THE QUEEN –MOTHERS OF ASANTE KINGDOM
The queen-mother could be the grand mother, the sister , the niece or the grand niece to the King or chief . Immediately somebody is enstooled as the queen-mother, she assumes the responsibility of being the mother of the chief as well as the mother of all the royals in the royal family.
The queen-mother holds the second highest position in a state , i.e. she is the next to the chief or king. Her position as the mother of the chief gives her the exclusive right to rebuke the chief when he acts contrary to the norms of the state. The first duty is to feed the ancestors , the rivers and the deities of the state on festive days. This she does by sprinkling mash yam at strategic places in the town and on the footpaths to the town on festive days.
It is the queen-mother who nominates a candidates for the male stool like the king or chief when it becomes vacant. She has three choices to nominate a candidate for the stool. If her first nominee is rejected by the king-makers, she nominates the second candidate. If the second candidate is rejected , she has to nominate the third candidate. It is when her third nominee is rejected that she invites the king-makers to choose any of the royals they feel they would like to enstool as a chief . The king-makers should always assign reasons for the rejecting a queen-mothers nominee. The queen-mother on her part is obliged to accept the king-makers nominee since according to custom, she is regarded as the mother of all the royals. In the olden days , if the outlined procedure was not followed and there was a stalemate , the result was civil war. But nowadays , such stalemates result in protracted litigation , which brings about disorder in the state.
The queen-mother serves as one of the principal adviser a of the chief. When the chief offends his elders , custom demands that the elders logged a complaint to the queen-mother . When this is done , it is the duty of the queen-mother to find some chiefs from a neighbouring town or state to come and help her settle the dispute between the chief and the elders. During the settlement , the queen- mother persuades the elders to accept the plea of the chief to allow for amicable settlement. On the other hand , if the chief does not present himself for settlement, it would be considered as a disrespect and the queen-mother would then leave the chief to his fate and allow the elders to file destoolment charges against him.
In Asante cultural , the queen-mother is regarded as the head of all the women of the state or town . She therefore sees to their welfare. In the olden days , it was the duty of the queen-mother to see to it that girls pass through the proper customary rites before they were ushered into adulthood . The rites performed were known as Puberty Rites ( Bragoro ) . Before this could be performed , the parents of a girl send the girl to the queen-mother when she sees her first menstruation for her to inspect and certify that she had had her period . After certifying ,the parents pay fee before the queen-mother allowed them to perform the puberty rites.
After this, the girl would be subjected to any punishment if she had sex with somebody and become pregnant . The queen-mother advises couples on marriages and if there is trouble between couples,she settle it . An offending spouse render apology through the queen-mother to the offender spouse . Marriage cases are settled at the queen-mother,s court.
In the olden days , it was the queen-mother who hosted the chief,s guests. She accommodated and fed the chief,s guests. One important duty performed by queen-mother in the olden days during war time was to invoke the wrath of the ancestors , the deities of the land , the rivers and spirits of the land against the enemy tribe. This she did by gathering the women together to perform some rituals for the state . The rituals called ‘ Mmobomme’ were performed during the day and also in the night . In the night rituals , the woman go naked while invoking the wrath of the gods on the enemy . Men were to be indoors when this was being done .In victory the queen-mother led the women to sing the victory song .
According to custom , there are some restrictions the queen-mother has to observe . They include the following :
( 1 ) . She should not fast when somebody died, even if the person was her husband . If she did so , she starved the ancestors and this would have bad effect on the state.
( 2 ) . She should not perform widowhood rites , when her husband dies, somebody is chosen to perform the rites for her.
( 3 ) . She could not compelled to reveal any sex scandal involving her to her husband or anybody .
( 4 ) . She could not be compelled to swear by any deity to exonerate herself. Normally, queen-mothers were not destooled unless they violated Asante Kingdom or Nation’s law, e.g disclosing somebody’s foreign ancestors.
There is this Asante law which stipulates that slave must be integrated into the society and should be regarded as a free person . Therefore , if a queen-mother breaks this law she was not spared. It is the chief who appoints his queen-mother when the occupant of the stool passed away or abdicates . He does this in consultation with the elders.
The list below are the queen-mothers who have occupied the female stool of Asante Kingdom.
LIST OF QUEEN-MOTHERS OF THE ASANTE KINGDOM
1. Nana Nyarko Kusiamoa ( 1695 – 1722 )
2. Nana Nkatia Abamo ( 1722 – 1740 )
3. Nana Akua Afriyie ( 1740 – 1768 )
4. Nana Konadu Yiadom I ( 1768 – 1809 )
5. Nana Akosua Adoma ( 1809 – 1819 )
6. Nana Ama Serwaa ( 1819 – 1828 )
7. Nana Yaa Dufie ( 1828 – 1836 )
8. Nana Afua Sarpon ( 1836 – 1857 )
9. Nana Afua Kobi I ( 1857 – 1884 )
10. Nana Yaa Akyaa ( 1884 – 1917 )
11. Nana Konadu Yiadom II ( 1917 – 1945 )
12. Nana Ama Serwaa Nyarko ( 1945 – 1977 )
13. Nana Afua Serwaa Kobi Ampem II ( 1977 – 2016 )
14. Nana Ama Konadu ( 2017 – Till Now ).