The Ghanaian king of the Ashanti people or Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, arrived in the Seychelles on Wednesday evening as the guest of honour for the upcoming fifth annual Carnaval International de Victoria.
The international carnival, which begins on Friday April 24, has this year attracted the participation of twenty-nine countries, one of which is Ghana.
In addition, Swaziland’s King Mswati III sent his eldest daughter, Principal Princess Sikhanyiso Dlamini, to watch over the tiny Southern African kingdom’s cultural delegation, which will be taking part in the Seychelles carnival for the very first time.
Both African royals were welcomed at the airport by the Seychelles Tourism and Culture Minister, Alain St. Ange, and were then received by the President of Seychelles, James Michel, at State House in the Seychelles capital of Victoria on Thursday morning.
Unique historical ties
According to a press statement issued by State House on Thursday afternoon, the Ashanti King is keen to develop further cooperation between Ghana and the Seychelles, and he presented President Michel with a traditional royal robe, which the Seychellois head of state put on in honour of his visitor.
The Asantehene is making a historic visit to the Seychelles, the country of his royal family’s exile almost 120 years ago.
In the year 1896, at the height of British colonialism in Africa, the British government discontinued the office of Asantehene – the absolute ruler of the Ashanti people – and exiled the then-king, Nana Agyeman Prempeh I, the current Asantehene’s great uncle.
27 years later, the British allowed Prempeh I to return home in 1926 but initially only permitted him to adopt a lesser title, eventually restoring Ashanti self-rule and the title of Asantehene in 1935.
Two months ago, Prempeh I’s great-granddaughter, Princess Molly Germaine Prempeh, who was born in Seychelles, returned in an emotional visit to the Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands after a 60-year absence, telling SNA of her wish to enjoy her sunset years in the land of her birth.
During his visit to State House, the current Asantehene "commended the beauty of the country and its people", adding that his visit was an opportunity to learn more about the exile of King Prempeh I, his great-uncle.
In his statement, President Michel expressed the Seychelles' commitment to preserve the unique historical links and heritage between the two countries.
"The International Carnaval de Victoria provides us with an opportunity to showcase the many parallels in our culture and history as well as our ambitions to continue forging together our development agenda for the benefit of our people,” said Michel.