Former ECYS Minister Wycliffe Smith Installed as Chief in Ghana | SMN NEWS

PHILIPSBURG:— On October 14, 2023, in a momentous display of cultural and spiritual significance, former Pastor and Minister of Education Culture, Youth and Sport of Sint Maarten, Wycliffe Smith, was installed as a chieftain in Ahwerase, Ghana. The appointment, which took place during the Odwira Festival was upon the recommendation of the Global United Christian Congress of Africa and the Diaspora (GUCCAD). Prior to his installation, Smith met with the Paramount Chief and other tribal leaders to acquaint himself with the duties and ceremonial importance of his new role.
The day of the installation was a vivid tapestry of tradition and symbolism. Donned in traditional black African attire, Smith was presented to the community leaders. His hair and outfit were ceremonially enhanced with white powder—a symbol of purification in preparation for his function—and a clump of grass placed between his lips, signifying the discernment and restraint expected of a chief in speech and action. The atmosphere was electric, filled with the sound of drums and the fervor of jubilant bystanders as Smith, elevated on the shoulders of a strong local man, was paraded through the town's streets along with other incoming chiefs.
Following the parade, the group moved to a designated building where prayers were offered, and libations poured in tribute to his ancestors. The ritual also included the planned slaughter of a ram, its blood to be poured over the feet of the new chiefs, though some attendees, including Smith, chose to opt out of this part of the ceremony. Afterward, Smith and his contemporaries changed into traditional robes, each made from nearly six yards of cloth.
The final phase of the ceremony involved pledging loyalty to the Paramount Chief and the Ahwerase community. After symbolically sitting on the Paramount Chief's lap, Smith was gently rotated to face the gathering and received his royal name, Nana Opare Birikoreng, or "Ruler of Trust."
After the swearing-in ceremony, Smith and the other new chiefs adorned themselves with personal ornaments like gold-plated wristbands, armbands, and crowns. The occasion reached its pinnacle when the Paramount Chief arrived, his umbrella — a symbol of authority — humorously yet respectfully positioned to eclipse the umbrellas of all the other chiefs who were in attendance
The installation aligns with GUCCAD's broader mission to unify Africans in the Diaspora with those on the African continent through cultural, social, and economic collaboration as well as through entertainment efforts. While in Ghana, the organization unveiled a water project benefitting 100 households in the village of Brofonokope. GUCCAD, with existing chapters in Sint Maarten, the USA, Ghana, and Nigeria, plans to hold its next annual congress in Sint Maarten in October 2024.

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