Akan Leadership Art and Ceremony

by Michelle Gilbert
Trinity College

Odwira Thursday is a day of feasting.  In the morning sheep are killed for family meals and meat and yam are distributed as tokens of friendship.  In private the royal black stools are fed: they are offered drink, raw and cooked meat and yam.  The ancestors eat the spirit (sunsum) of the meat offered to them; the attendants eat what remains and this gives them power from the ancestors.  Ancestral black stools are sacred: no one sits on them.  They are concealed from all but a select few and are never placed directly on the ground.  Most were anointed originally with human blood, gunpowder (associated with men and war), and spider’s web gathered from the kitchen (symbolizing the wisdom of women and the trickster Ananse).