A number of companies and individuals have taken advantage of the four-day burial rites for the late Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II, to make commercial gains.
Prominent among the businesses are dealers in native sandals, locally known as ahenema, who have moved their businesses to the precincts of the Manhyia Palace where the burial rites are being held.
During a visit to the Manhyia Palace yesterday, the Daily Graphic observed that apart from dealers in native sandals, those who also rent black mourning cloths, known as kuntunkuni, had seen a boom in their business.
Others who were cashing in on the burial rites were dealers in alcoholic beverages.
Producers of alcoholic beverages such as Kasapreko, Adonko Gin Bitters and Joy Dadi had mounted stands at the funeral grounds and were selling their products to the public at the time of the visit.
Joy Dadi moved the competition a notch higher by using sales girls provocatively dressed to attract attention to their products.
Food vendors were not left out, as many of them had mounted their stands by the roadside just opposite the palace and at vantage points in and around the funeral grounds to serve mourners.
Specialised barber shops, well noted for traditional haircuts known as dansinkran, had taken advantage of the burial rites to do brisk business.
The burial rites are yet to have an effect on the night life of residents of the Kumasi metropolis.
During a ride through the metropolis on Monday night, the Daily Graphic observed that pubs were still operating, in spite of the ban on drumming and noise-making.
Right in front of the Manhyia Palace, a live band stand had been mounted to provide entertainment for mourners in the evening.
Just after the end of proceedings on first day of the burial rites, mourners who had thronged Dwabrem to pay their last respects to the late Asantehemaa converged on the stand to while away the evening.
The situation was not different at other pubs and popular joints, where patrons kept pouring in to enjoy themselves.
It was, however, not clear if the same attendance would be experienced tomorrow, Thursday, January 19, 2017 when the late queenmother would be buried.
Already, Manhyia Palace has asked residents to stay indoors between 7 p.m. on Thursday and 4 a.m. the following day, during which period the deceased would be buried at the Royal Mausoleum at Breman.
Already, some financial institutions in the metropolis have declared Thursday a holiday for its staff and asked them not to report for work on that day.
The Royal Bank and the St Peter’s Credit Union are two of such institutions that have asked their staff in Kumasi not to report for work on Thursday and have, accordingly, informed their customers that they will not open for business on that day.
Many Kumasi residents have become apprehensive over the directive to stay indoors on the day in question.
While some question the relevance of such a directive in a modern democracy, others are of the view that the traditional values of Asantes must be maintained and protected, for which reason they see nothing wrong with the directive from Manhyia.
Security in the city, particularly around the palace, has been beefed up to ensure that nothing untoward happens.
As of yesterday, there was a large presence of police and military personnel at the funeral grounds, with the number being higher than what prevailed on the first day of the rites.
So far, the burial rites had been incident-free, according to the Ashanti Regional Police Command.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Mohammed Yusif Tanko, who speaks for the police, told the Daily Graphic that no incident had been reported as of yesterday.
He said mourners had been complying with directives from the police, especially with regard to traffic control.
Source: Daily Graphic
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