In the first week of August every year, the Chiefs and people of Ada celebrates their annual Asafotufiami Festival. The 2023 edition started on Monday 31st July and climaxed on Wednesday 9th August with a massive beach party.
The Asafotufiami festival is very significant to people from Ada, history has it that, the Ada’s were involved in a lot of wars between 1750 to 1876. They fought in the Katamanso War of 1826, The Battle of Nonobe in 1750 and many other significant wars including the Anlo invasion in 1770.
After successfully weaving through these battles, the Chiefs and people of Ada gained hold of their present territory and has since lived there for centuries.During the time of unrest and attacks from other neighboring tribes, after a successful war, the warriors are welcomed back home with some rituals and the most notable of them was the washing of feet and firing of their muskets. Those cultural practice gave birth to the Ada Asafotufiami Festival we’ve all come to know.
As there were no wars in the early 1900s, the Chiefs and people of Ada successfully transitioned the jubilant welcoming of warriors into one of the biggest traditional festivals in Africa. The present Asafotufiami festival as Ghana I witnessed from Friday, 4th to Sunday, 6th August is a proud moment for me. I love to explore, learn from experience.
I witnessed the warriors dressed in traditional battle attire and stage a mock battle as they initiate young men to warfare whom membership are acquired through matrilineal lineage. Big Ada was flooded with these warriors clad with leaves and palm branches signifying conquering heroes returning from the war fronts amid firing of musketry and war cries.
They also sang and danced until about 3:00PM on Friday when they began ‘Kpomkpo-Panya’. ‘Kpomkpo- Panya’ is the place which served as the departing point for warriors going to wars as well as the landing point for soldiers returning from wars. The warriors known in Dangbe as ‘Asafo’ fired their muskets and then washed their feet, hands and faces in the river. This symbolizes washing away of all evil and bad omens of the past year and looking forward to better years ahead.
The night was full of merrymaking. The streets was packed with party people who partied till the break of dawn. Then on Saturday, Paramount Chief of Ada, Nene Abram Kabu Akuaku III and all of Ada came together for the mega festival grand Durbar.
In attendance was the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The rich Ada culture was put up for display amidst cheers from all. Bright African prints, colorful handmade beads, beautiful headgears, energetic dance moves and many others gave a spectacular view from our lens.
On Sunday August 6th, there was a non-denominational church service to thank the Supreme Being, God, for seeing them through to this stage. After the service, I journey back to Accra making some few stops to buy some delicious and iconic Ada watermelons and tomatoes. Tradition is beautiful, tradition is us, tradition is what makes us. Get involved and connect with the roots. Watch more of Ada Asafotufiami Festival, the firing of muskets by brave soldiers and war heroes.
Ada Asafotufiami – Warriors March to Sacred Forest
Photos by – Ghana is Beautiful
___ Fredrick Kofi Deladem Dro