Jennifer Sara Awula Adjiko Abbey nee Hansen – Sleep well my Soul Sister

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Jennifer Sara Awula Adjiko Abbey nee Hansen – Sleep well my Soul Sister

27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:27-31

I am still struggling to come to terms with my shock over the passing of this beautiful, confident and virtuous lady who I feel privileged to have known over the years.  She was first introduced to me by a relative, Bob, who was totally besotted with her and had put her on the pedestal she deserved

Adjiko became my soul sister from then on and was supportive of my mission whenever I visited at her mother’s house.  I was also a frequent visitor to the house at Akwashong Link that Bob shared with his mate Kwame Akoto and their ‘housemaster’ Mr. Joseph Adama.  Those were happy days talking about any and every issue and she expressed her views to us ‘hustlers’ trying to get a foot on the ladder of independent life, providing intellectual dimensions to our discussions. Her views were refreshingly innocent.

She and Bob were married after a fairy tale courtship that included a sojourn in England. Their son Adotey was born in Ghana and soon after that the family moved to Liberia, the start of many more moves as her husband pursued his career.

Because we lived on different continents we saw each other infrequently but Adjiko and I kept in touch by telephone and email, most of these calls just to catch up and reminiscence about the good old days.  I was full of admiration for her determination to challenge herself and go back to college to undertake a Master’s degree despite having a young son in tow. This was after many years as a teacher in several countries around Africa.

A pattern developed to our conversations, an indication that ‘the troubles’ as I called them could not be resolved.  She would vent her frustrations and I would listen, then ask her about her career and her plans for the future and always assured her that all would be well. We would talk about almost everything.  Whenever I sent her an article I had written for comment, she would give me her honest feedback thereby giving me an opportunity to write back or call to talk about all sorts of things.

Years ago, she called and asked me to find her son for her. I was taken aback because he was somewhere in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and I was in London.  This was a tall order as I had no idea how I was going to be able to do what she was asking as I had never been to that country. Nevertheless, I assured her that I would do my best to honour my promise to find the young man.  I persevered and after numerous efforts armed with a telephone number, the young man was eventually found. Adjiko was very grateful and relieved that she now knew where her son was, he was safe and sound.

How was I to know that our last conversation about a month ago was an obvious farewell? We spoke for over two hours and it was not tittle tattle at all.  We discussed our Ga and Ghanaian culture and about her mixed roots and heritage; it was a deep exposition of knowledge about the family that had been passed on to her. We talked about why she still valued maintaining family ties, wondering how we can transfer those values down to our children despite having chosen a life as a near recluse herself.  She also talked about pining for her grandchildren one of whom she had never seen because they were far away in Canada. She told me how happy it would make her if the waving of a magic wand would grant her greatest wish of seeing both grandchildren one day. But alas, it was not to be!

The discussion was tinged with nostalgia, religiosity, emotions.  She was deep and I sensed that there was some relief when I assured her that I was in contact with her son and that I would do all in my power to support and guide him.  Adjiko and I did not speak again but continued to exchange texts on Facebook, WhatsApp and the social media that some of us are now slaves to.

I now realise that as a mere mortal what I said were just words and that I would never be able to achieve what I hoped I could; making everything right in this word.

All I know is that you Awula Adjiko have gone to a better place and your memory will forever be cherished by all those you met in this life.

Sleep well elegant majestic lady that I once knew, sleep well my soul sister.

From the older brother that you claim you always wanted but never had

Ade Sawyerr

London, June 2017

 

Nii Armah Josiah Aryeh: Fare thee well valiant warrior for the GaDangme Cause – Ade Sawyerr

 

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My friend, Nii Armah Josiah Aryeh, has returned to the ancestors, too soon, and we mere mortals are left to bear the pain of losing him.  In his relatively short life, he did a lot to inspire numerous Gadangme people on a path of consciousness. He provided the opportunity for like-minded people to rally behind a cause of projecting, yet again, the unique position of Ga people in nation building.  But he will be better remembered as a politician, who rose to high office within a political party through his force of ideas and his competence, but who could not sustain his position because of political intrigue.

Though Nii Armah proved adept at handling press conferences and gave many television and radio interviews, he was perhaps more comfortable when drafting these documents, probably because he was an academic. He wanted to be viewed as more than just another ordinary politician.

I got to know Nii Armah in the mid-1990s when he had just completed his PhD study in Law.  He had accompanied a friend of his, Robert Trebi Asafoatse, to visit my good friend Joshua Nii Attoh Quarshie.  Nii Attoh, who had been instrumental in the setting up of Gadangme Nikasemo Asafo, telephoned me and suggested that I meet with this young man who had refreshing ideas and fire in his belly, for the projection of Ga culture within an urbanised Accra, the capital of Ghana.

I invited him to join us at the monthly meeting, the start of a fruitful association that ended up in his becoming secretary of the organisation, for a brief period.  Our association continued with the formation of the GaDangme Foundation in London and resulted in other important developments in the Gadangme Diaspora that gave a voice to the GaDangme Council in Ghana. He had been involved in other Ghanaian groups such as the Black Stars for the World Cup, a Gadangme Think Tank which incidentally included luminaries such as Numo Nortse Amartey, Nii Nortei Omaboe, Albert Johnson, Sally Baffour, Dr Jo Blankson who became the Ga Mantse King Tackie Tawiah III and one of the present Ga Mantse, Nii Adama Latse II.  He was also associated with some Ghanaian Socialist Group and with the Liberated Nkrumaist Brigade in London

Though our discussions were about how to move our organisation forward to achieve our goal of influencing the psyche of the typical cosmopolitan and detribalized Gadangme from a civil society perspective, they always took a political framework.  We discussed the importance and achievements of the likes of AW Kojo Thompson, Solo Odamtten, FV Nanka-Bruce, Tommy Hutton-Mills, Obetsebi Lamptey whose legacy had been largely forgotten and observed how the likes of Tawia Adamafio, Sony Provencal, EC Quaye, Paul Tagoe, Ako Ajei, Kwatelai Quartey, Boi Doku had galvanised the Ga into national participative politics.  It was clear that he had an interest in politics and felt that he could play a useful role in shaping the destiny of Ghana.

But our immediate task remained trying to get the GaDangme polity interested in civil society activity that will  push them to contribute to and participate in regenerating the urban community with the purpose of lifting them out of poverty.  We considered several issues: the language under threat because of the onslaught of in-migration, the culture under assault from the charismatic churches, our institution of chieftaincy convoluted because of a lack of a written constitution and decided that perhaps the best hook would be to rekindle an interest in the history of the Ga people.  That was his forte because he had reviewed several documents during his doctoral dissertation and he still had access to the libraries.

This period coincided with the decision to rehabilitate the burial grounds of King Tackie Tawiah I in Accra. A group of us set up the King Tackie Tawiah Memorial Trust that together with the Union of GaDangme Associations, eventually metamorphosed into the Gadangme Foundation.  Nii Armah offered to research the history of the Gadangme people with an emphasis on the leadership of King Tackie Tawiah during peace time.  The high point of The King Tackie Tawiah Memorial lectures in July 1997, was that the prestigious Brunei Theatre at the School of Oriental and African Studies was filled to the brim for each of the three lectures and the content received resounding acclaim from the large mass of Gadangme and other people who attended.

I was grateful to Nii Amarh when he actively supported my candidacy to be chairman of Ghana Union London, helping to organise and recruit several members and advising on an agenda for action after the elections.  I, in turn, had introduced him to several of my older friends in Ghana who would assist him both in his career in the law and in his involvement with the Gadangme Council.

A year later Nii Armah left London to take up an appointment as a senior lecturer in law at the University of Ghana.  Nii Armah continued with the sterling work when he returned to Ghana; organising within the GaDangme community, helping to energise the Gadangme Council with the lectures that he delivered, and assisting with outreach work amongst the GaDangme community.   He also ended up as the liaison with the chiefs and elders.   He started to help write that constitution of the Ga people which he felt, left unwritten, had been the cause of much of the disputes amongst chiefs and families owning land.  He attributed these disputes to the disunity and total breakdown of a system of governance that had left our traditional rulers at the mercy of politicians and civil servants at large, who were controlling the lands that had become the main source of income for our chiefs.

The pull of politics was probably too strong for him and he left the Gadangme Council without achieving the goal of uniting the Chiefs with the people.   He himself could not win the seat he contested though eventually by dint of hard work and merit he rose to become General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress as they went into opposition.  He was not treated very well by his party and became mired in some controversy betrayed by friends and close allies within the party and within the wider political community.

In a perverse sense though we had often discussed the fate of Ga politicians such as Ako Adjei and Tawiah Adamafio and Owula Kojo Thompson, who had climbed high but ended up being marginalised by their own parties, he did not escape that fate despite his many celebrated press conferences that he organised to propagate the social democracy ideology of his party.

Most thought that he had left politics behind to concentrate on his academic career. He had such a sharp and incisive brain with attention to detail, and he was thorough as a researcher. He wrote well and was an ardent and persuasive orator but he was impatient with those who did not readily see his point of view and who maintained other positions.

His autobiography ‘Inside Ghana’s democracy’ largely sought to justify the events of his departure from the NDC but he also wrote some academic books – ‘Property Law of Ghana’ and another ‘Islamic Customary Law in Ghana’ as well as the ‘Law of Wills in Ghana’ that he autographed for me.

But Nii Armah was not done with politics completely, and he bounced back as Chairman of the breakaway National Democratic Party led by Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and persisted in trying to get back into the party from which they had deserted.  He had to give up that position when his health started failing him early last year.

We have lost him too early, he had a lot to offer the people of Ghana and he was diligent in the causes that he championed, but perhaps unable to form the necessary alliances to see these to fruition and to maintain a dispassionate perspective.  He certainly was ahead of his time considering some of the innovative strategies that he espoused as an activist for the Gadangme concern.

The caucus of the Gadangme community in London will certainly miss you and the legacy you leave – your unpublished King Tackie Tawiah Memorial Lectures will find their way to a blog in your memory.

May your soul rest in perfect peace in the Lord

Anyemi Nii Armah, yaa wo ojogbann

Ade Sawyerr

London June 2017

 

Explaining Christianity – a continuing journey by Ade Sawyerr

Explaining Christianity – a continuing journey by Ade Sawyerr

“Why do you worry when your Lord never sleeps…..prayer for forgiveness, should be our guiding staff, and we will sing Alleluia and never never lose our way!”

Ramblers International Dance Band

Xpuzzle

Two holiday periods are celebrated by most Christians across the world: Christmas and Easter. Christmas is a period of good cheer and goodwill amongst men and has been widely accepted by both the secular and religious world as a time for festivities. People go on shopping sprees, exchange cards, gifts and greetings as we usher in a New Year that we wish will be filled with hope and prosperity. It also evokes debates amongst the various sects on the true meaning of the Advent and whether indeed the date chosen is correct or merely a convenient one. This long period of nourishment of the body, soul, and spirit always gives way to Easter and its more profound symbol of a Christ who lived a life of example and teaching but who was tortured and crucified and yet rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven.

These festivals present an opportunity to reflect on various interesting schools of thought surrounding Christianity. So, after these festivals, I felt that after several years celebrating these holidays it is time for me to consider how I might explain why I profess and attest to Christianity in the hope that those with a deeper knowledge of this faith will share with me their understanding and help strengthen mine.

Born and nurtured within a Christian family, I was baptised an Anglican and dutifully followed my grandmother to church at St. Mary’s till I was old enough to follow my older siblings to Sunday School at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Accra, to learn about Jesus Christ and the other stories of the Bible. For a while, I lived with my uncle Mr. Mensah, who led the daily devotion for the whole household at the crack of dawn. I also had the opportunity to attend Brother Lawson’s ‘The Lord is There Temple’ at Korle Gonno the Apostolic sect to which he belonged at the time. When we moved to Accra New Town, because there was no Anglican church in the area, I attended the Presbyterian Church.

In secondary school, I spent my Quiet Time reading the Bible, especially the compelling stories of the Old Testament: the story of the creation, God’s relationship with man, the books of the Judges, Kings, and Prophets. These stories were about how living a righteous life would lead mankind to prosperity and yet despite those teachings, man broke all the covenants with God and strayed onto the path of sin that always ended in adversity and destruction.

Continue reading “Explaining Christianity – a continuing journey by Ade Sawyerr”

Dancing with the Gods: essays on Ga Rituals by Marion Kilson – a book review by Gyau Kumi Adu

Book Review: Dancing with the Gods: essays on Ga Rituals by Marion Kilson (New York: University Press of America, 2013).

By Gyau Kumi Adu (joewykay55@gmail.com/ https://joewykay.wordpress.com/)

 

Analysis of Title

The book’s central theme is about important discussions on Ga rituals based on case studies she conducted on the Ga people of Ghana. The title “Dancing with the Gods” suggests two things. Firstly, that dance rituals (as dance movements) are very key in the execution of Ga rituals. In my view, this is plausible since many Ga dance rituals capture important aspects of the ritual life and process. Kilson argues that “Dance also was often an integral part of religious rituals. Dance was usually a communal rather than an individual act. The high point of most religious festivals usually involved some form of dance.”[1]

Secondly, the title suggests that Ga rituals mainly achieve union between mortal men and the gods. Kilson points out “The maintenance and restoration of order in the relations between God and man depend upon the performance of ritual by which mortal Ga attempt to establish contact with divinity and to achieve certain goals through this interconnection.”[2] Ga rituals are no exception. In fact, mediums (wͻŋtsɛmɛi) usually achieve spirit possession of the gods through dance rituals. Without this they cannot perform their most vital role of becoming communication lines by which the gods speak to the people. Ammah in the context of funeral customs reveals the way in which Ga mediums disclose the cause of death through the agency of dance rituals.[3] I have personally observed Ga rituals that emphasize on extended dancing procedures in order to let the gods descend (yishi) upon mediums. These dance rituals are a significant in maintaining unity between members of the community as well. They all sing, cheer and dance in unison.

A close look at the book reveals that Kilson’s concentration is rather on general theoretical discussions on Ga rituals than on dance rituals in praxis. Hence, the second point seems to be the more appropriate choice behind the choosing of the title. That is, dance representing the purpose of Ga rituals to achieve harmony between the spiritual and physical world, since they are not done in isolation; they are done in connection to the spirit world.

In my reflection, Kilson’s theoretical discussions on Ga rituals such as the Taxonomy and Structure of Ga rituals, puts her on par with scholars in ritual studies such as Victor Turner and Catherine Bell. Her writings have become very foundational texts, since these writings were done at a time that many people knew little about the nature of Ga rituals. What is very captivating is the comprehensive detailing of Ga ritual dates, periods, and events.

Continue reading “Dancing with the Gods: essays on Ga Rituals by Marion Kilson – a book review by Gyau Kumi Adu”

Complete and utter May-hem!

Ekow Nelson Theresa May’s reputation is as damaged as Jeremy’s Corbyn’s has been enhanced after the recent elections in the UK. The Prime Minister asked the electorate for a mandate to strengthen her hand in the upcoming Brexit negotiations with the European Union; they denied her that and as a result Britain has needlessly been […]

via Complete and utter May-hem! — ekownelson

An election to end all elections? – Ade Sawyerr

http://www.obv.org.uk/news-blogs/election-end-all-elections

An election to end all elections?

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No, there are not too many elections. Elections are about the people exercise their right in a democracy and we must all endeavour to go out on June 8th and vote in this very interesting election.

Though billed as an election to determine who is the best candidate to lead Britain into the Brexit, none of the leaders have been able to explain to us what a soft or hard Brexit is about and we are none the wiser how it will affect us.

Some of us, however, believe that the real reason for this election is that the Prime Minister has real problems within her party. This is the party that had problems with Thatcher and Maastricht, worried Major over Europe and whose cabinet split over Brexit causing Cameron to resign and resulting in the election of May, a Remainer over a Brexiteer leaning Conservative Party. That split has not been healed and May and her Team want the endorsement of the whole country to enable her to assert her influence within her party.

But all is not well on the Labour front either. Their leader has not been without challenge from his parliamentary colleagues. First, they tried a coup, it failed. Then they tried a leadership challenge ostensibly because he did not perform well over the Brexit referendum, and he came back with an increased majority; then they tried again to resign their positions over the article 50 vote but he was able to see off that challenge as well.

So, we have in this election two leaders who have problems within their parties and the country has been called to adjudicate, an opportunity that is the very essence of democracy.

At the time the election was called, the result seemed to be in no doubt but as the campaign has unfolded we have seen the Prime Minister lose her poll position in the polls, launch and relaunch her campaign three or four times. May has moved from, Theresa May’s Team to Strong and Stable Leadership to the Best Brexit Deal and with this there have been some notable U-turns and a reluctance to debate the other leaders.

We have seen the Labour leader increase his stature with confidence to the extent that he has become dapper and sharper. Corbyn has made mistakes of his own but the fact of the matter is that for too many of us, his manifesto resonates with all the people.

So what we must do as active citizens is to get out there and vote. For the first time this is an election that provides us with stark choices of where the parties and personalities stand on issues: whether it is about education, about health and social care, about taxation, about pensions, about immigration and even about our foreign relations, we know what the options are and we must exercise our right to have our voice heard so that we can influence the results.

Whilst the personalities and policies are different the important thing that comes across is that this country will be a much better place with Corbyn at the helm of a Labour Party as Prime Minister over Theresa May.

The campaign has shown to us that the traditional media must not be allowed to shape our views on who we must vote for, that the people are now a lot more savvy in deciding for themselves and that the traditional media has now been reduced to report that results of the polls and the surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn across the country, rather than in influencing it as they have done in previous years.

It is ironic that the traditional media, who should be encouraging more people to exercise their right to vote are hoping that enough young people and people from ethnic minority communities will not vote in this election because if they turn up in their numbers they will certainly affect the results.

Whatever the results this will be a salutary lesson that there is no crystal ball as to when to call an election, that an enormous lead can be cut into single figures and that eventually, it is the people who decide who will run the country.

So for me I will be voting Labour because they provide a better hope for the future of the many disadvantaged in Britain, they will be the best to heal the divided country and they provide the best promise for the large number of young people and dare I say older people to have an enhanced quality of life in the United Kingdom. I will be voting for Corbyn because he presents the only hope of realising the vision of a cohesive Britain and he has proved it in a hard-fought campaign where his ideas have been far superior to those of Theresa May.

Let us just get out there to vote, it is not too late for us to determine the course of the future.

Ade Sawyerr

If you are a BME Conservative and you’d to make to make the case for the tories, pleases send in your article to us at info@obv.org.uk

Ade Sawyerr is a partner at Equinox Consulting, www.equinoxconsulting.net a management consultancy that works on social and economic issues affecting disadvantaged communities in Britain. He passes comment on social cultural and political issues of African heritage people in the Diaspora. He can be followed @adesawyerr or at http://www.adesawyerr.wordpress.com.

The changing needs of the community and voluntary sector – Lambeth — Equinox Consulting

The changing needs of the community and voluntary sector – Lambeth Cuts to public sector funding have impacted on the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) at national, regional and local levels. This has exacerbated some of the difficulties that voluntary and community organisations have faced over the last two decades as they have adapted…

via The changing needs of the community and voluntary sector – Lambeth — Equinox Consulting