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Meet Ghanaian Politician, Educationist, and Writer, Kobena Sekyi, The Man Who Never Wore European Clothing

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Source: www.GhanaCNN.com

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The Mysterious Spiritual Side Of Kwame Nkrumah You May Not Have Known About

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The Mysterious Spiritual Side Of Kwame Nkrumah You May Not Have Known About

There’s an interesting narrative surrounding the birth and childhood of Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

Undoubtedly, Dr. Nkrumah’s role in establishing Ghana as an independent country free from the control of British Colonial rule cannot be understated.

With his Pan-Africanism ideals, he fought for the liberation of Ghana, together with 5 others; Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Edward Akufo-Addo, Joseph Boakye Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey and William Ofori-Attamaking.

This made Ghana the first country on the continent to gain independence from colonial rule. Beyond this, he went on to spearhead the liberation of other African Countries from colonial rule.

All over the world, he is still remembered for his Pan-Africanism and political works but beyond that, Nkrumah had a fascinating side according to oral history, one that portrayed him as an exceptional man with somewhat supernatural abilities.

In his hometown; Nkroful, many stories have been told about the man who was recognized as rather unique right from birth.

According to history, Nkrumah, was born on a Saturday, September 21, 1909, to their mother, Elizabeth Nyaniba, and father, Kofi Nwiana Ngolomah.

Per oral narrative, Nkrumah was born on the day his grandmother was being buried. His mother, Nyaniba who was pregnant during the final funeral rites was cooking for guests when she fell into labor. In the absence of any hospitals or medical facilities at the time, she was helped by local midwives.

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Though the plan was to get into the room to give birth, history indicates that she stopped at a point [where his body lays now] and was delivered.

Caretaker of the Kwame Nkrumah Museum in Nkroful, Steven Tandoh narrates the circumstances surrounding Nkrumah’s birth to the ace broadcaster, Kafui Dei said that when he was born, Nkrumah didn’t cry as is usual of a healthy baby that is delivered and his breath was shallow.

Worried by this, his family tried making noise using various means to revive the child whom they feared may have experienced some complications.

Steven Tandoh indicates that one of Nkrumah’s aunty suggested that he be fed as part of efforts to revive him.

“One of the aunties who helped in delivering suggested that, if the baby is not crying then they should feed him with ripe banana. So they brought the ripe banana and started feeding him with the ripe banana. So after giving him the banana, he started crying. So the day Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was delivered, that same day, he ate banana,” he told host of GTV’s breakfast Show, Kafui Dei.

Watch from 8.24

The story of Nkrumah and the mudfish:

Beyond this, the story has also been told about how Nkrumah exhibited mysterious spiritual abilities as a baby.

Oral history has it that, Dr. Nkrumah has great links with River Subile, located in Nkroful in the Western Region and also called Kwame Nkrumah’s River.

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Per history, Nkrumah was clutched behind his mother at the back when he was 2 years old, crossing the river to the farm.

He stopped his mother in the middle of the journey and told her she had stepped on a mudfish.

Much to the surprise of his mother, she found the mudfish and therefore caught it and took it home to show Nkrumah’s father and tell him what had happened.

His father subsequently consulted a traditional priest about the matter as was the norm in the days and was instructed to go back home and prepare the fish for Nkrumah to eat alone.

It was also prophesied that Nkrumah will become a great person both in Ghana, Africa, and the world at large.

Nkrumah revives dried Subile River with his staff and cup of water:

Residents in Nkroful have also shared the story of how Nkrumah revived a ‘dying’ River Subile. According to Steven Tandoh, the river used to be a source of protein for Dr. Nkrumah who set many fish traps in there and had people who caught the fishes to use for meals for him whenever he returned to his hometown at the time he was still prime minister.

One of the times when he returned home, he was told the river was dried and that was when he went to perform libation to bring back the water.

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Speaking to OceansSnow TV in a different tour of the place, Steven Tandoh said,
“This River was also named after Nkrumah because he performed libation there.

He was having fish traps in this river, that anytime he came back, they used to catch the fishes and prepare something for him. One day, he was in Accra and he told the family that he will be coming here. When he came, the river was dried so he went home to fetch one cup of water and as he came, he came with his walking stick.

So he put the walking stick on the ground, and started praying, and pouring water in the form of libation. When he finished, it started raining, it filled the river and from that time till now, the river has never dried up again,” he said.

Source: www.GhanaCNN.com

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Today In History: Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Is Dead

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Today In History: Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Is Dead

Former United Nations General Secretary, Dr. Kofi Annan died on August 18, 2018, in Switzerland.

His death was announced by his foundation the Kofi Annan Foundation.

Read the news report announcing the death of Dr. Kofi Annan in 2018 below:

Former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan is reported dead.

He is said to have died in Switzerland, Saturday morning after a short illness.

“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness…” the Kofi Annan Foundation in a tweet said.

He was 80.

Biography

Kofi Atta Annan was born in Kumasi on April 8, 1938. Since 1960 Ghana has been a republic within the British Commonwealth, a group of nations dependent on Great Britain. Named for an African empire along the Niger River, Ghana was ruled by Great Britain for 113 years as the Gold Coast. Annan is descended from tribal chiefs on both sides of his family. His father was an educated man, and Annan became accustomed to both traditional and modern ways of life. He has described himself as being “atribal in a tribal world.”

After receiving his early education at a leading boarding school in Ghana, Annan attended the College of Science and Technology in the capital of Kumasi. At the age of twenty, he won a Ford Foundation scholarship for undergraduate studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he studied economics. Even then he was showing signs of becoming a diplomat, or someone skilled in international relations. Annan received his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1961. Shortly after completing his studies at Macalester College, Annan headed for Geneva, Switzerland, where he attended graduate classes in economics at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes Internationales.

Early career

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Following his graduate studies in Geneva, Annan joined the staff of the World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the United Nations. He served as an administrative officer and as a budget officer in Geneva. Later UN posts took him to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and New York City, New York. Annan always assumed that he would return to his native land after college, although he was disturbed by the unrest and numerous changes of government that occurred there during the 1970s.

Annan became the Alfred P. Sloan fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At the end of his fellowship in 1972, he was awarded a master of science degree in management. Rather than return to Ghana upon graduation, he accepted a position at the UN headquarters in New York City.

Work with the UN

In 1974 he moved to Cairo, Egypt, as a chief civilian personnel officer in the UN Emergency Force. Annan briefly changed careers in 1974 when he left the United Nations to serve as managing director of the Ghana Tourist Development Company.

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Annan returned to international diplomacy and the United Nations in 1976. For the next seven years, he was associated with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. He returned to the UN headquarters in New York City in 1983 as director of the budget in the financial services office. Later in the 1980s, he filled the post of assistant secretary-general in the Office of Human Resources Management and served as security coordinator for the United Nations. In 1990, he became assistant secretary-general for another department at the United Nations, the Office of Program Planning, Budget, and Finance. In fulfilling his duties to the United Nations, Annan has spent most of his adult life in the United States, specifically at the UN headquarters in New York City.

Annan had by this time filled a number of roles at the United Nations, ranging from peacekeeping to managerial, and the 1990s were no different. In 1990 he negotiated the release of hostages in Iraq following the invasion of Kuwait. Five years later, he oversaw the transition of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to the multinational Implementation Force (IFOR), a UN peacekeeping organization. In this transfer of responsibility, operations in the former Yugoslavia were turned over to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Kofi Annan with children at the Mayoral Palace while on official visit in Chile

In recognition of his abilities, Annan was appointed secretary-general, the top post of the UN, by the UN General Assembly in December 1996. He began serving his four-year term of office on January 1, 1997. Joining him was his second wife, former lawyer Nane Lagergren of Sweden. She is the niece of the diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (1912–c.1947), who saved thousands of European Jews from the German Nazis during World War II (1939–45), when American-led forces fought against Germany, Italy, and Japan. Annan and Lagergren were married in 1985. The couple has one child.

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Annan in a new world

Annan’s code of soft-spoken diplomacy was given a boost by the outcome of his talks with Saddam Hussein in 1998. UN observers wait to see how additional crises will be handled by the gentle but determined man from Ghana.

In the summer of 2001, the United Nations unanimously appointed Kofi Annan to his second five-year term as secretary-general. On October 12, 2001, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to the United Nations and Kofi Annan. The Nobel citation pointed out that Annan had brought new life to the peacekeeping organization, highlighted the United Nations’s fight for civil rights, and boldly taken on the new challenges of terrorism and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS; a disease of the immune system).

Source: www.GhanaCNN.com

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Full Name, Age, Education, Qualifications, Family, And All You Need To Know About First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

Source: www.GhanaCNN.com

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