Fashion, they say, is like eating; you shouldn’t stick to the same menu, but that is where this educated elite from the Gold Coast era in Ghana’s history, broke the cycle.
Even more, Kobena Sekyi, who was a nationalist lawyer, dared to be different, sticking only with his traditional African cloth for all of his life, even attending court proceedings in his choice for fashion.
The celebrated Pan-Africanist was also a politician and a writer, and the last president of the Aborigines Right Protection Society (ARPS) in the Gold Coast (now Ghana).
He was, and perhaps remains, the only educated elite in Africa who vowed never to wear European clothing again, and became the first lawyer in the British colony to appear in court in a traditional African cloth.
According to details on @GhanaianMuseum on Twitter, Kobena Sekyi never wore European dress again until he died in 1956.
Born on November 1, 1892, as William Esuman-Gwira Sekyi, he was better known as Kobena Sekyi. He was a firebrand nationalist who became the president of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society (ARPS), an aboriginal organization that fought and won their battle against the British obnoxious Land Bill of 1897 that seek to give Queen Elizabeth of England all the unoccupied lands in Gold Coast (Ghana) and also entire British West Africa in general.
Kobena Sekyi was also executive member of the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA), and member of the Coussey Committee for constitutional change that finally pave way for the independence of Ghana.
As a person born into the Gold Coast coastal aristocratic Fante family and a highly educated member of his society, he was brought up to believe that European culture was superior to African culture. But it did not take long for Sekyi to commit class suicide and transmogrify into an unshakable apostle of African values, traditions and culture. Sekyi did not only became an unrepentant hardcore Pan-Africanist in his days, but, in fact, he lived and practiced African culture and traditions to the very core; so much that ‘he vowed never to wear European clothing again, and became the first lawyer in the colony to appear in court in a traditional African cloth. He never wear coat and European dress until he died in 1956.
Though an ethnic Fante man himself, Kobena Sekyi criticized the manner his Fante coastal towns have became anglicised to such an extent that even now a Fante cannot speak a sentence without less than four English words. They anglicised their local names into English such that you can hear Koomson, Blankson, Menson, Filson etc. Some have all foreign names without a local name. To show his utter abhorrence and disdain for this anglicization of Fante names and outright adoption of foreign names, Kobena Sekyi as a matter of principle and leading by example removed “William” from his names and became just “Kobena Sekyi.”
Kobena Sekyi was born into a Cape Coast (Oguaa) aristocratic family. His father was Mr John Gladstone Sackey (note, Sackey is the anglicization of Fante name “Sekyi” to suit European tongue), headmaster of the renowned Wesleyan School (Mfantsipim) in Cape Coast. Mfantsipim is the first secondary school in Ghana and was established in 1876. Mr John Gladstone Sackey himself was a royal and a the son of Chief Kofi Sekyi, the Chief Regent of Cape Coast.
Kobena Sekyi`s mother was Wilhelmina Pietersen, also known as Amba Paaba, daughter of Willem Essuman Pietersen (c.1844-1914), an Elmina-Cape Coast businessman and one-time President of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society (ARPS), a later president of which was Sekyi’s uncle, Henry van Hien, whose heir Sekyi was.
Like his father, Sekyi was also educated at Mfantsipim School and and went on to study philosophy at the University of London. He was accompanied to Britain by his maternal grandfather. Sekyi was originally to study English Literature, however, a fellow student (Nigerian) persuaded him to give up English Literature in favour of Philosophy.
After completing his philosophy degree, Sekyi returned to Gold Coast to teach for sometime and participated in the political affairs. Realizing that Gold coast has many lawyers and liberal art scholars, Sekyi went back to England in 1915 with plan to become an engineer like his mother’s younger brother, J.B. Essuman-Gwira, but because his family controlled the purse strings and they wished him to study law, so that was the career he entered.
He was called to the Bar from the Inner Temple in 1918 and also awarded MA in philosophy. Sekyi became a lawyer in private practice in the Gold Coast.
It should be emphasized that Kobena Sekyi had life changing experience whilst traveling on a ship to England. It is said that “On the voyage out his boat, the SS Falaba, was torpedoed by a German U-boat and some lives were lost. Sekyi managed to get to a lifeboat, at which point a European shouted at him that he should get out of the boat, as a black man had no right to be alive when whites were drowning. It was this incident that had a profound effect on him, confirming his rejection of European pretensions to superiority.
Robert Ross in his book “Clothing: A Global History’ published in 2008 citing authors White and White, “Slave Clothing” page 156 averred that “Equally, in the Gold Coast, Kobena Sekyi, a coastal lawyer, is said, in the family tradition, to have been subjected to racist racist insults when wearing a suit while being trained in London during World War I. In consequence, he vowed never to wear European clothing again, and became the first lawyer in the colony to appear in court in a cloth.”
Whilst practicing law in Gold Coast Sekyi married Lilly Anna Cleanand, daughter of John Peter Cleanand and Elizabeth Vroom.
Full Name, Age, Education, Qualifications, Family, And All You Need To Know About First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo
Rebecca Naa Okaikor Akufo-Addo born Rebecca Naa Okaikor Griffiths-Randolph is the First Lady of Ghana as the wife of President Nana Akufo-Addo, 5th President of the 4th Republic of Ghana.
She is the daughter of the judge, Jacob Hackenburg Griffiths-Randolph who served as the Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana in the Third Republic, and Frances Phillipina Griffiths-Randolph.
She was born on March March 12 1951 in Ghana.
She attended the Achimota Primary School and the Wesley Grammar School in Dansoman in Greater Accra Region. She the4n proceeded to the Government Secretarial School where she qualified as a secretary.
Rebecca worked with the Merchant Bank before relocating to the United Kingdom. She was then a legal secretary for Clifford Chance/Ashurst Morris Crisp all multinational law firms in the United Kingdom.
Rebecca Akufo is a founding member and chairperson of the charity, Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation founded in 2005. This foundation supports the national effort to reduce malarial infections in infants and young children.
Rebecca Akufo-Addo was installed as the Development Queen mother of Ada Traditional Area at the 82nd-anniversary celebration of Ada Asafotufiami festival in August 2019 and is known by the stool name Naana Ode Opeor Kabukie I.
She is a member of the Accra Ridge Church and the patron of the Infanta Malaria,a charity organization dedicated to the prevention of Malaria in children.
In 2017, she founded the Rebecca Akufo-Addo foundation, a non-governmental organization to enhance efforts of government amongst Ghanaian women and children. In November 2017, the Rebecca foundation signed a deal with Licang District Experimental School in Qingdao, China.
This was for an exchange program that would each year enable ten students from both countries to visit the other. This was a move would enhance academic, sports and cultural harmony between students of both countries.
In October 2018, The Rebecca Foundation rolled out the “Learning to read, reading to learn” project. This was to instill a culture of learning in children to enhance literacy. Some of the goals of the project were to build libraries across the country and introduce school and child-friendly programs to enable children to learn to read.
In November 2018, the Foundation launched the “Because I want to be” project. It provides a cushion for underprivileged girls in society and guarantees continuous education and skills training for female school dropouts.
The foundation built and commissioned a new Pediatric and Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in 2019.In January 2019, she launched the Free to Shine campaign. This was to stop mother-to-child transmission of AIDS and was in line with the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV and AIDS (OAFLA) drive.
In June 2019, the foundation presented six ambulances to some healthcare organizations to enhance the delivery of their services. The “Save the Child, Save the Mother” project established both a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) and a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
It was sponsored by the foundation together with the Multimedia Group and The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hopital and supported by the Manhyia Palace and the Government of Japan. The project was geared towards reducing maternal and infant mortality.
In September 2019, she made an appeal for the empowerment of women, at the United Nations General Assembly.This would make it possible for them to impact more on the welfare of their families and communities. It was at a side event put together by the Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) and themed “Renewing commitment towards enhancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa”.
In January 2020, the foundation’s women empowerment program, the Terema Women’s Empowerment Initiative, in conjunction with the National Board for Small Scale Industries, trained women in soap making.
In February 2020, the Rebecca Foundation, through the “Enhancing the Youth through Education and Health (EYEH) Soup Kitchen” project, made a donation of assorted food items worth about GH¢15,000 to some street children in Accra.
Dr Kwame Nkrumah Was 26 Years Older Than His Wife; Fathia – Son Of Kwame Nkrumah Speaks
Sekou Nkrumah who happens to be the son of Ghana’s late nationalist and first president, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah has revealed that his dad was 26 years older than his mother.
According to Sekou Nkrumah, his mother, Fathia Nkrumah had dreams of having a romantic marriage with the man of her dreams (Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah).
He shared that it was quite unfortunate that this long-standing dream of his mom fell to nothing but loneliness and unfulfilled drama.
“My mother Fathia Nkrumah had to learn the “hard way” especially when on their wedding night, Osagyefo was caught up with work and returned home very late to spend time with his wife.” – he said.
Sekuo while spilling the bean on the reasons for a quarrel between his parents that was later misinterated as his father been a womanizer raised this as he added:
“Although it was an arranged marriage, the young Fathia was really in love with Nkrumah, she idolized the iconic and charismatic African leader!, There was also a big difference in age between them! Nkrumah’s official birth is 1909, while that of Fathia is 1935!”
Kwame Nkrumah Was A Womanizer: My Mother Was Always Fighting With Him – Son Of Kwame Nkrumah Drops Bombshell
Dr Sekou Nkrumah, one of the sons of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah has admitted that all was not well with the marriage of his parents especially after Ghana gained her independence.
Though too young to understand what was going on, Dr Nkrumah says it wasn’t because his late father was a womanizer but rather, he had little time for his wife.
He also attributed the difficulty in their marriage to the age difference, thus, Osagyefo was 26 years older than his wife, Fathia.
Sekou Nkrumah indicated politics consumed Kwame Nkrumah’s time and mind.
Emma Florence Yaa Adinyira Amedahe, the lady-in-waiting to the then First Lady Fathia Nkrumah, in a recent interview with Accra-based Joy FM stated that she had a friendly relationship with the first family at the Flagstaff House.
The former staff of the first family said, the then First Lady related with her like her own sibling and had deeper conversations together.
“Madam [Fathia Nkrumah] took me to the children’s room the first day I reported for work, she hadn’t assigned me to anything yet. I bought storybooks for their two children, Gamal and Samia. By then, they had a nurse who was catering for the children. After one month, Fathia asked me to be in charge of her room, that’s cleaning. She started drawing me closer to herself. When her hairstylist came, she would call me to help him. Her hairstylist was a man by the name of Joseph.
One day, Joseph finished styling her hair, but madam didn’t like it, she undid everything and later asked me to do it. She appreciated what I did and asked Joseph not to do her hair again because she liked it when I did it for her. She later asked Joseph to train me, he trained me for three months.”
Yaa Adinyira Amedahe recounted some interesting secrets the late Fathia Nkrumah shared with her.
“We used to talk, she even told me how her husband was treating her. I went to Egypt with her so I know a lot of her family members. Fathia saw me as a sister, and I was also like her sister. She once told me Osagyefo didn’t like her and that he was a womanizer,” she said.
Reacting to this, Dr Sekou Nkrumah wrote on his Facebook timeline:
“Fathia had a difficult marriage with Nkrumah, not because of him being a womanizer rather because he had very little time for her!
There was also a big difference in age between them! Nkrumah’s official birth is 1909, while that of Fathia is 1935!”
He added that, even though the marriage between Nkrumah and Fathia was an arranged one, Fathia was really in love with her Ghanaian iconic and pan-African leader.
Dr Nkrumah noted, his mother had dreams of having a romantic marriage with the man of her dreams, she had to learn the “hard way” especially when on their wedding night, Osagyefo was caught up with work and returned home very late to spend time with his wife.
“Although it was an arranged marriage, the young Fathia was really in love with Nkrumah, she idolized the iconic and charismatic African leader!
But she quickly learned the hard way, when on their wedding night Osagyefo was caught up with work and returned home very late!
The young Fathia had dreams of a loving and romantic marriage but had to learn fast to accommodate and adapt to Nkrumah’s busy lifestyle. Simply put, politics consumed all his time and mind!” Dr Sekou Nkrumah stressed.
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