Opoku Ware II

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Opoku Ware II
Asantehene of Asanteman; Kumasehene of Kumasi
Ashantehene.jpg
Opoku Ware II
Emperor of the Empire of Ashanti
Reign 6 July 1970 – 25 February 1999
Coronation 6 July 1970
Predecessor Prempeh II
Successor Nana Osei Tutu II
Born (1919-11-30)30 November 1919
Kumasi, Ashanti Protectorate
Died 26 February 1999(1999-02-26) (aged 79)
Kumasi, Ashanti
Spouse Princess Victoria Opoku Ware
Full name
Otumfuo Opoku Ware II
House House of Beretuo Dynasty

Otumfuo Opoku Ware II (30 November 1919 – 26 February 1999) was the 15th Emperor-King of the Ashanti people and Ashanti and Ashantiland and Ashanti Empire.

Biography[edit]

The future monarch was born under the name Jacob Matthew Poku in Kumasi the capital of Ashanti, then the Ashanti Protectorate, in 1919 into the Ashanti royal family. At the time, Prempeh I was Asantehene, as the Ashanti Emperor-King is called, before being succeeded by his nephew Prempeh II in 1931. Prempeh II in turn was Opoku Ware II's uncle, making the boy one of several candidates to succeed him, as to be decided by the Queenmother, or Nana Asantehemaa. After attending Anglican school, Poku went to Adisadel College in Cape Coast. Then, he worked as a building inspector and later for the Public Works department from 1937 to 1943. After that, he was trained as a surveyor and worked on the Kumasi Traditional Council Hall and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. In 1945, he married another member of the royal family, Victoria. In the 1950s, he moved to the United Kingdom to study law and was admitted to the Bar in 1962. Returning to his native country, he worked in the capital Accra first and then set up a firm in Kumasi. Through his success as a lawyer, Poku was able attain a great respect in Ashanti politics. In 1968, the National Liberation Council military government appointed him to their executive board as Commissioner of Communications.[1]

In 1970, he was named ambassador to Italy, but shortly thereafter his uncle, the King of the Ashanti, Prempeh II, died. Due to his legal and political successes, he was chosen to succeed his uncle and enthroned as the Asantehene. As King, Opoku Ware II maintained a good relationship with Ghana's President Ignatius Acheampong, and later Jerry Rawlings. He focused on trying to implement the traditional justice of the Ashanti tribe, rather than becoming involved in national politics.[1] Much like his predecessors, he rarely appeared in publicly and usually had a spokesman represent him. When he did appear, he was as tradition demands covered in gold and wore an intricately woven kente cloth.[2]

In 1995 or 1996, Opoku Ware II's wife Victoria died.[1][2] On February 26, 1999, the King himself died. He was succeeded on April 26 by Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II after a period of mourning.[3]

He is the first born of two(Sir Stephen Afriyie). He has seven grandsons and three granddaughters(Maureen Afriyie, Sylvia Afriyie, Lennox Afriyie, Kevin Afriyie, Eugene Afriyie, Denzil Afriyie, Jeffrey Afriyie, Erin Afriyie, Aaron Afriyie, And Paul Afriye Jr.)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Walker, James: "Obituary: King Opoku Ware II of Ashanti". The Independent. March 5, 1999.
  2. ^ a b Kaufman, Michael T.:"Opoku Ware II, King of Asante, Is Dead at 89". New York Times, 4 March 1999.
  3. ^ "Hail The New King". Africa News Service. 29 April 1999.
Asantehene Genealogical Tree Timeline History
Genealogical tree of the Asantehenes the Emperors of the Ashanti people and Ashanti City-State and Ashantiland and Empire of Ashanti