Houston's First Annual Asante Festival

Pardon the pun, but this is going to rule.

On Saturday, royalty in the form of Asante chiefs that currently live in the Houston area will be in the house at the first annual Asante Day and Inauguration Dance.

The Asante (or Ashanti) kingdom, founded in the 1670s and mostly based in the Gold Coast/Ghana, was one of the region's most influential cultures until European colonization took some of the shine away from the society. Today, Ghana, which received its independence from the British in 1957, boasts the Ashanti Region, where Asante traditions continue to this day.

Houston's Asante Day, scheduled to take place from 9 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday, will showcase traditional dance, a fashion show complete with kente cloth wares and information on the Twi language (here's your first lesson: Meda ase, pronounced "May-dah-say," means "thank you"). In addition, several chiefs under the rule of the Ashanti King Otumfuo Osei Tutu will make appearances.

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Myiesha Sarpong, treasurer of the Asante Kroye Kuo organization, estimates that between 4,000 to 5,000 Ghanaians are spread out all over Harris County, ranging from Katy to the north side. She adds that one goal of the festival is to start raising money for a hoped-for Asante Cultural Center.

The scene is Dream Palace Banquet Hall, 11225 Bissonnet Street. Pitch in a $20 donation and grub on West African food, ranging from palm nut soup to jollof rice, supplied by the locally-based, Ghanaian-owned Afrikiko Restaurant.


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