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In Photos: How Osu celebrated ‘Dade Tutswaa’

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On Saturday, August 5, the town of Osu was alive with the vibrant sights and sounds of a special event. This festival, known as the Dade Tutswaa, took place over two exciting days. It’s a meaningful celebration that happens just before the famous Homowo festival in Osu. The Dade Tutswaa Festival is a way for the people of Osu to come together, show their pride, and honor their ancestors. It’s a special time that brings the community closer and sets the stage for the even bigger Homowo celebration.

Background

The Dade Y3l3yeli Shifoo and Asafo Tutswaa, affectionately known as Dade Tutswaa, stands as a vibrant annual festival that resonates deeply within the heart of Osu, one of the seven traditional Ga-Dangme paramountcies in Ghana. This captivating festival is a tribute to both the military prowess of the Osu people and their ancestral deity, Dade, revered for its historical role in ancient warfare.

At its core, the Dade Tutswaa Festival serves as a unifying force, bringing together all four divisions of Osu: Kinkanwe, Ashinte, Alata, and Anorhor Guided by the Kinkanwe Asafo, the festival’s grand procession travels through each division, then final ending at Kinkanwe. This captivating journey meanders through the heart of Osu, paying homage to traditional homes and sites of significant historical importance.

As the procession weaves through the community, the revered flags of Kinkanwe: Antoa and Akonfode lead the way, accompanied by the Asafoiats3m3i (the Asafo captains), traditional leaders and community members. The procession goes into the Osu Castle, which has various traditional elements within that predate the building of the castle. It also visits ancient homes throughout the traditional area of the township. In every division that the procession arrives, the leading men and women offer drinks to the procession, the diety, and the Asafo.

Central to the festival are the captivating displays of musketry and traditional dances, symbolic of the revered Asafo culture of Osu. These dances, uniquely Osu’s, are a testament to the community’s cultural distinctiveness. The traditional colors of the celebration are red and white. On Saturday, the dominant color is red with a touch of white, and on Sunday, the dominant color is white with a touch of red.

Prior to the grand Saturday procession, the Asafo Company sends forth drinks as messengers of celebration to the leading traditional homes. This not only announces the festival’s arrival but also invites these homes to prepare for the Asafo warriors and the revered deity’s visitation. The lead figures of the festival, led by the Nii Shippi Nkpa (the battlefield commander), Dzaase Asafoats3 Nii Tempong Sarpei III (senior captain), alongside Asafoats3 Brenya under the Antoa flag, and Asafoats3 Dzahene under the Akomfode flag, ensure the festival’s seamless celebration.

Setting the stage

With the successful celebration, the commemoration and a testament to its unifying prowess. The festival has not only honored the valiant warriors of yesteryears but has also reinforced the bond that ties the community together. Through its captivating displays, vibrant colors, and deep-rooted traditions, Dade Tutswaa stands as a timeless testament to the resilience and cultural richness of Osu and sets the stage for this year’s Homowo scheduled to take place a few weeks from now.

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