The Akwasidae Festival is an important day for the Ashanti people. Celebrated on a Sunday every six weeks, Chiefdoms from across the Ashanti Region travel to Manhyia Palace. This is the day that the current ruler of the Ashanti Kington, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, sits on the throne in the courtyard of the palace to meet the thousands who have travelled from across the country and the world, to pay homage to him. At this festival, the king holds his durbar and it’s only during this festival when so many people are given permission to shake hands with him.
This festival coincided with Kofi Kingston’s visit to Kumasi, his place of birth. The WWE Champion had not travelled back to Ghana since 1993 when he was in the seventh grade. He said that this was the perfect time to come to Ghana during the “Year of Return” when he could connect with his roots and also encourage others in the diaspora to do the same.
The festival was a magnificent display of music, traditional dance and singing. Kingston was led to Manhyia Palace by the chief of his maternal hometown, Atwima Techiman. Atwimahene Nana Antwi Agyei Brembong II, introduced the WWE Champion to Asantehene and the durbar to the resounding sounds of cheers from the chiefs and the crowd.
What an honour it was for him to meet the current ruler of the Kingdom of Ashanti. It’s a privilege many Ghanaians have yet to experience. Kingston showed his respect for the 16th Asantehene, by presenting him with a gift. It was a replica of his championship WWE Belt, which Otumfuo graciously accepted. His attendance at the festival wraps up his 4-day visit to Ghana. After all his experiences, it’s likely he won’t wait another 26 years to visit Ghana.
Kofi Kingston arrived in Ghana yesterday to a big celebration at Kotoka International Airport. Fans and students who couldn’t wait to see the WWE Champion celebrated through song and dance. Kingston joined in with the crowd dancing to the beat as the Ghana flag was draped over him with cheers from the crowd. Even Kotoka International Airport staff were following him taking selfies as he made his way through after customs.
His mother, Dr. Elizabeth Sarkodie-Mensah, along with other family members were there to meet him and were equally overwhelmed with the big reception and couldn’t believe the crowd waiting for him outside the airport. This is his first trip back to Ghana since 1993 and he is eager to reconnect with his homeland. He said that one of his biggest regrets was not coming sooner. Kingston recounted the story of his father, who often travelled to Ghana and brought groups of students with him. He said that as a senior in high school, his priority was to find work rather than make a trip to Ghana.
He said once he was ready to come to Ghana, his hectic schedule has made it challenging to find the time. At the media press-conference, he said that sometimes things happen for a reason because he believes the stars were all aligned for him to make this journey to Ghana during the “Year of Return”. It’s an important time for people in the diaspora to come to Ghana.
He will be spending four days in the country, with time divided between Accra and Kumasi. His first day was jam-packed with a press conference, interviews with the media and a visit to the Jubilee House to meet President Nana Akufo-Addo.
He’s had an eleven-year career and has proven that with hard work, success is possible. “It was a matter of staying the course…. I’m here as living breathing proof that anything is possible.” Many who were seeing him for the first time, were surprised at how small he is, relative to the typical athlete in WWE. He often hears those remarks and said, “I’m not the tallest or the biggest person…but I had dreams and I believed in it.” His perseverance and level of commitment to living his childhood dream prove that success can be achieved with hard work. “Not many people on the planet can say they are living their dream, I’m doing that.”
Reigning World Wrestling Entertainment Champion, Kofi Kingston has in a Facebook and Instagram post said he will be visiting home after 26 years. In a post that suggests he has heard the call to action in the trending #YearofReturn hashtag ‘Brafie’ #brafie and responding by inviting others to the slogan #LetsGoGhana, Kofi is will be returning home for a 4-day visit beginning May 30 to June 2, 2019 to pay a courtesy call on the President, Nana Akufo Addo and the Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace as well as visit many tourist attractions including Lake Bosomtwi, Christiansborg (Osu) Castle, Bonwire, Ejisu and Komfo Anokye. He will be accompanied by a WWE crew who are shooting a documentary on him as World Champion.
Read the story below as published by WWE.com on Friday, May 9, 2019.
Kofi Kingston is going home. And, of course, he’s got a little extra luggage to take with him this time around.
The WWE Champion revealed Friday on Instagram that he is planning his first visit to his home country of Ghana, West Africa since 1993 — part of a celebratory “Year of Return” in the wake of winning his first World Championship. A WWE film crew will be documenting the four-day visit, which includes a children’s rally, visits to Kofi’s maternal and paternal hometowns, as well as a courtesy call on the Ghanaian president, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and a visit to Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asante Monarch.
Read the full press release below, and stay tuned to WWE’s digital channels for more on Kofi’s homecoming.
Journey to becoming World Champion
The New Day’s Kofi Kingston is powered by positivity, and he’s used it to catapult himself, Xavier Woods and Big E to new heights.
Since bursting on the WWE scene in 2007, Kingston has established himself as one of WWE’s premier high-flyers. That, paired with his upbeat attitude, made him a perennial favourite of the WWE Universe as he racked up Intercontinental, the United States and Tag Team Championships. Kingston also cemented his place in WWE history with a series of daredevil moments where he saved himself from elimination in several Royal Rumble Matches.
Above: Video of how Kofi Kingston won the title
When he joined forces with Big E and Xavier Woods to form The New Day, though, no one could have guessed that the trio of unicorn horn-wearing, Booty-O-chomping Superstars would achieve the feats that they have in WWE. In fact, the WWE Universe despised them at first but soon grew to love them.
As a veteran member of the team, Kingston provides his wealth of knowledge to his younger compadres, and it has paid off. Not only has The New Day become one of the most popular factions in WWE history, but ya boys have held multiple Tag Team Championships between their stints on Raw and SmackDown LIVE, including the longest reign in WWE history – an astonishing 483 days.
Kingston’s 11 years of hard work and dedication finally brought him to the dance at WrestleMania 35 where he challenged Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title. With the entire WWE Universe behind him, as well as his New Day brothers and the SmackDown locker room, Kofi beat Bryan to claim WWE’s ultimate prize. It just goes to show what the Power of Positivity can accomplish.
Kofi Kingston’s explains his unique Adinkra Tatoos
After graduating from college, Sarkodie-Mensah decided to pursue a professional wrestling career. He began performing on the New England independent circuit as a Jamaican wrestler by the name of Kofi Nahaje Kingston. After signing a developmental deal with WWE in 2007, he shortened his ring name to “Kofi Kingston”. Kingston debuted in WWE in 2008 using the same Jamaican character as he did on the independent circuit. In late 2009, he stopped being billed from Jamaica and dropped the accent although he kept his ring name. He then started being billed from his home country of Ghana.
He is the first African-born world champion in WWE history as well as its 30th Triple Crown Champion and 20th overall Grand Slam Champion (13th under the current format). In addition, Kingston himself holds the singular record for most days spent as a Tag Team Champion within WWE and is also known for innovative ways of suspending his elimination from Royal Rumble and battle royal matches. With the exception of a few months spent as a heel (villainous character) in 2015 with The New Day, Kingston has been a babyface (heroic character) for almost the entirety of his WWE career.
The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is a major landmark marketing campaign targeting the African – American and Diaspora Market to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown Virginia. The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) under the Auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is leading the project in collaboration with the Office of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, the Panafest Foundation and the Adinkra Group of USA.
The Year of Return seeks to make Ghana the focus for millions of African descendants reacting to their marginalisation by tracing their ancestry and identity. By this, Ghana becomes the beacon for African people living on the continent and the diaspora.
The United States Congress recently passed an Act H.R. 1242 – 400 Years of African-American which is a historically significant milestone. Ghana’s unique position as the location for 75 per cent of the slave dungeons built on the west coast of Africa and the current President’s policy of making it a national priority to extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora cannot be overemphasised.
There are still numerous imposing European forts and castles harbouring harrowing reminders of an intense and complex history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in our land over centuries. This on its own has made Ghana the focus for millions of African descendants reacting to their marginalization by tracing their ancestry and identity.
However, even more, important is the recognition of Ghana as a beacon of hope for African people living on the continent and in the Diaspora. This status was earned not by coincidence but by conscious efforts to validate the struggles, strengths and linkages between African descendants on a Pan-African scale.