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Queen Mother of Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana dies at 109

The queen mother of the Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem II has died aged 109. She reigned for 39 years in what is a very powerful traditional role.

The queen mother is considered the mother of the Ashanti people and is responsible for the welfare of women.

She is chosen by elders from within the Oyoko clan, one of the eight clans that make up the Ashanti Kingdom - and rules for life. She is also responsible for selecting a suitable candidate for the throne when it becomes vacant.

In 1999 she nominated her son, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to become the current Ashanti King. Nana Afia Kobi, the Ashanti Kingdom’s 13th queen mother, is reported to have died "peacefully in her sleep" on Tuesday, according to the state-owned Daily Graphic newspaper.  

Chiefs in the Kingdom, which is in central Ghana, are being informed of her death and are expected to meet on Thursday to plan her funeral. 

The Ashanti elders do not like to make a public announcement about royal deaths until after ceremonial details for a burial have been decided.

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