Memphis International Festival in May announced that Asante King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II will participate in this year’s festival, which will honor the Republic of Ghana.
The King will visit during Memphis International Week in May, from May 2-8.
“There is already a lot of excitement and anticipation for the salute in Ghana, the sixth African nation honored by the Memphis in May International Festival,” said James L. Holt, President and CEO of Memphis in May. May, in a press release Thursday. “We are truly honored to welcome Asantehene to Memphis, Tennessee.
Tutu II is the 16th Asantehene – or Asante King. The Asante Empire (also spelled Ashanti) is a traditional sub-national state protected by the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. He will be joined by a group of leaders representing all regions of the kingdom.
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While in Memphis, the King will meet with government and business officials and visit local attractions. He will attend a performance of “Ghana Live Riches and Rhythms” at the Orpheum Theater on May 5. To celebrate his 72nd birthday, the King will also attend the Black Star Black Tie Gala on May 6.
In addition, he will deliver a speech to university students on a campus to be determined.
Memphis in May originally planned to honor Ghana in 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was postponed to this year.
His visit will end with a traditional Dubar ceremony, meant to unify, honor the ancestors and pray for the prosperity of the land and the people. The ceremony will include an entrance parade for the King, song and dance and gift offerings down Beale Street on May 8.
The last royal visit to the Memphis International Festival in May was by Maori Queen Te Atairangikaahu during the festival’s salute to New Zealand in 1991.
Astrid Kayembe covers South Memphis, Whitehaven and Westwood. She can be reached at [email protected](901) 304-7929 or on Twitter @astridkayembe_.