A Tribute the late Dr. Vincent Padi from GaDangme Foundation UK.

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The late Vince PADI

Writing this tribute to the man Vince Padi has not been easy.                                                          Indeed it was with great sense of loss when we heard that our Vince had passed away.

Today we deeply mourn the sudden death of Vince, an affable and charming person who became such a fixture of the Gadangme community both in Diaspora and Ghana and even in his sickness when we visited we would only talk about what the future held for us all.

Vince was a person who was not only interested in academia but also in the community around him and it was therefore, not surprising that he got more involved in community activities to the point that he was seen not only as an elder in the Gadangme Community but also as a leader of all the other black communities in the country.  He had ideas and vision and played a role in the formation of the African Caribbean Parents Advisory Group in Croydon and his organisation, Family & Education Advisory Services Team ( FEAST ) dovetailed beautifully into his work serving the wider black and minority ethnic community.

Vince Padi played an important role in furthering of the agenda of Gadangme Foundation.  As a representative of the Krobo association in the formation of the Gadangme Foundation in the UK, Vince saw it as a duty to participate in the fullest in forging relationships amongst all the interested community associations to ensure that the operation of the foundation worked within the spirit of the principal aim of GaDangme Foundation.

Yes, we had mature and interesting discussions and even if one disagreed with some of views, one had to respect that fact that he thought comprehensively and then followed it up with zeal and passion that such dreams desired.

The bonding of the initial 17 organisations that provided the forum for the resurgent of Gadangme issues in the UK and the reconnection with Gadangme people all over the world were all possible because Vince found the time from his busy schedule to strategize for these things to happen.

We also spent many fruitful hours together in those formative period visiting all the member organisations to explain the concept of the platform and umbrella organisation and how the participation of each of the groups would ensure that there was a much stronger organisation that could bring us all together to do greater things on behalf of Gadangme.

Vince’s passion about Gadangme affairs meant that he took his duties very seriously, representing the organisations in the major conferences of the sister Gadangme International in America and later in providing support for the Gadangme Council in Accra.  He eventually took on the leadership role as Chairperson and it was the background and behind the scenes work that was instrumental in the formation of Gadangme Europe. We recall his warm words of welcome when he hosted the first conference that led to the formation of that organisation in Tottenham. There he told the persons assembled that there was always a purpose for brothers and sisters to get together to think about their homeland and that should always be the pride and joy of those who had the opportunity to leave their homeland in search of better life but that progress is made real if that fortune is then returned to be shared by all.

As the Chairman of GaDangme Foundation he was very instrumental in organising a celebration in Ealing- UK, in honouring  the life of the late Nii Amugi 11, Ga Mantse..

To this end Vince led strongly in the raising of funds to support the organisation in Accra with a Memorandum of Understanding and also to support several charitable organisations that were providing hope for street children in Accra, Ghana.

The several times when we visited during the period of his illness, the discussion was about how we could incorporate the younger Gadangmes into our scheme of things for the revival of the GaDangme Foundation.

We knew he was ill but we did not know that these were the parting days and when we were told that he had been hospitalised our concern was about how he would come back much sturdier than before.

Our heartfelt sympathy and commiserations to the children and his family. We know that this has been a loss of momentous proportions from which we may never recover. It is still very difficult to believe that our brother Vince, is not with us.

Wa nyemi Vince – Yaa wo nge Tse Yawe bie mi.

May Your Soul Rest In Perfect Peace.

AMEN.

Tribute to a good friend – Mr Ima Plahar

Nine years ago, my good friend Ima Plahar passed on to the other world.  It was a difficult time for all of us.  Nine years on, tears still well in my eyes when his name gets mentioned.  Still cannot get over his passing.  Today, I share the tribute that i wrote on his passing – a remembrance and testament of my association with him.imaplahar

Tribute to a good friend – Mr Ima Plahar

The success of any immigrant community can really only be judged by the strength of the community organisations that they build. This is because the community organisations provide the supportive welfare and social environment that allows individuals to achieve their aspirations and excel in their professional lives. So the people involved in building and maintaining community organisations who thereby promote involvement in civil society must be applauded at all times.

It is therefore with a heavy heart and a deep sense of personal loss that I pay this tribute to Ima Plahar, a gentleman, a strategist, an organiser and a servant of the Ghanaian community. Though of little stature, he stood tall for his dedication and devotion to the cause of strengthening the community organisations that he belonged to.

Ima helped to organise support for my election as chairman of Ghana Union several years ago. He was steadfast in his belief that the time for change had come, he helped to shape the vision of a new Ghana Union and eventually took his place at my side as General Secretary. of the Union

In our initial discussions we agreed to handle all conflicts within the Union without being confrontational, to be visible and accessible to all, asking for views and ideas, but challenging assumptions in an enquiring sort of way.  Above all, we agreed that we must not only tell the truth to the executive and the membership at large but be seen to do so at all times.

These discussions provided me with an indication of the true character of the man Ima Plahar, for he had character in abundance, he was passionate, he had integrity, he was loyal, he had the due zeal and diligence to undertake whatever tasks needed to be implemented in the union.

It was an absolute pleasure and memorable experience to work with Ima, you just wanted him as part of your team because of his abilities and affability. As we worked together, I came to have absolute trust and confidence in his organisational abilities and would only seek approval for events that he was confident that the Union could pull off.   If a job was worth doing, it had to be done well and that is how it was with Ima.

He would on a daily basis, stop by the Ghana Union office on his way home from work to ensure that things were running smoothly.  He was serving his country Ghana through serving the Ghanaian community here in London and did this at absolutely no cost to the organisation – no fees, no expenses and no pay.

Ima was honest, called a spade a spade, expressing his views in a forthright manner which one might describe as being blunt or even tactless.  He was determined that the unsavoury habits that we had brought with us from our motherland had to be challenged and confronted and that those who deviated from operating in a transparent and open manner should be held accountable and if necessary, openly shamed.   This was someone who was not only selfless but someone who expected the same high standards of accountability, he held, from all around him.

The friendship and trust that developed extended way beyond my tenure of office in Ghana Union.  It was a friendship that was based on mutual respect and admiration and Ima became the dependable person who i came to  on rely very much for advice on all manner of issues.  Our daily lunch break conversations even after we had both stepped down from executive positions were far ranging from politics, social and business and even personal issues. I know that through his dedication and selflessness, Ima has influenced many people just as he influenced me.  I learnt from him valuable lessons about listening to people, suspending judgement till the full facts and context of situations had been established.

The sacrifices that Ima made did not detract from his role as a father and loving consort to his dear wife Tina, the same principles were on display at home.

I can attest that for the four years that I was chairman of Ghana Union, I might have been at the front but he led on most of the activities since he was at his best organising events and making contact with people.   His modesty allowed me to bask in the glory of his achievements during the years that we worked together.  I therefore had no hesitation  in recommending him as Chairman of the Union.

Ima’s spirit of service must give us hope that there are still some selfless and dedicated people within our community.  Let us take consolation in the knowledge that although his life on this earth is over, what he did and what he stood for have more than adequately prepared him for the higher work that he has been called to do above.

Ima let me say this for you one more time – funtumfunafu denkyem funafu, wom aforo bom na nso worididi a na wom aku

We will miss you.Ima, we love you but God loves you best.  .

Rest in perfect peace in the Lord – yaa wo dzogbann

 

William Jacob Paatii Ofosu-Amaah – Goodbye!

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William Jacob Paatii Ofosu-Amaah: 1950-2016

Good bye – Ruby Tuesday 
She would never say where she came from
Yesterday don’t matter if it’s gone
While the sun is bright
Or on the darkest night
No-one knows
 She comes and goes
Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you.

Most will attest that Paatii was easily and undeniably one of the most accomplished sons of Adedainkpo and Jamestown who rose to great heights in his professional life. Indeed, whenever anyone mentioned the World Bank in any conversation with me, I always made it a point to let it be known that I also know somebody “important” who worked there, someone I had grown up with and in whose achievements I take great pride.  I enjoyed basking in the compliments, acknowledgements and of course the heart warming praise about how good he was at his job.  He was a coach and a mentor to many, often offering sound advice to several younger people in their professions.  He made Ghana proud by rising to the top position of a Vice President, and in recent years making his mark as a diplomat and lawyer helping to solve some of the intractable political problems in Africa at large.

I have not quite got over the shock of his passing and painful as it is for me, I must say goodbye to my ‘older brother’ by remembering those good old childhood and teen years.

Paatii was christened William Jacob to my Jacob Williamson, three and a half months older than me, a fact he never failed to remind me of during our formative years.  We were closest in age within the larger Mould family and we were inseparable as children.  He insisted that I should always obey his every command if he was to get me out of the many sticky situations that I landed in as we walked around the streets and alleyways of Adedainkpo – playing at Gbonbon, Awusa Gormli and other ‘areas’ around the lagoon that were out of bounds to us. We played with lorry tyres and played football down the park from Bartholomew and even created a game of sorts out of the tote cards that Dad would bring home on Saturdays after his work at the turf club.  We made our own toys as was the fashion in those days of the early 1950s, the sardine tins with agbomi wheels and playing alokoto out of snail shells. But our pre-school childhood was also about studying.  With all his older siblings around there were always books around and somebody to teach us the ABC and 123. Also because Mother was a teacher we could always lay our hands on some play dough and even crayons to draw with on real paper instead of learning to write on the concrete floors with charcoal.  Those were our competitive years.

Continue reading “William Jacob Paatii Ofosu-Amaah – Goodbye!”

Planning

Planning Question:  You referred to the principles of management in your last advice shop, what are these principles and how does one implement them Asif. Bristol Answer: Most successful endeavours start with a plan, but all not all plans are successfully implemented. The flip side to this is that most endeavours that do not succeed do not have good plans. This must suggest to you that planning is the most important activity within the framework of management. It is also perhaps the first activity in the scheme of things. The other management activities are organising, staffing, leadership and control. The […]

Source: Planning

Can CPP win in 2016? By Ade Sawyerr

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Since Ivor Greenstreet won a spectacular election to become the CPP flag bearer, I have been asked this question by several people who know my passion for the Party that is Supreme but who also know that I am honest in my writings about the party. So I have been wondering what it really takes to win a presidential election in Ghana.

For instance if it is about the number of times the candidate stands then we have a clear winner because Edward Mahama is running his fourth campaign after taking a break in 2012 for Hassan Ayariga to run.  Nana Akufo Addo is on his third run, and so is Paa Kwesi Nduom, but Atta Mills won on his third run after changing his running mates each time.  If Abu Sakara were to make good his promise to run as an independent and Hassan Ayariga gets his party registered, then they will join, Henry Lartey and John Mahama in making their second run except that John Mahama won on his first attempt.  Rawlings also won on his first attempt and Kufour on his second after changing running mate.  So it not about the number of times you run.

Continue reading “Can CPP win in 2016? By Ade Sawyerr”

‘Africans Were In Britain Before The English…’

This powerful statement of fact is how historian Peter Fryer started his seminal book Staying Power (Pluto Press, 1984) documenting the black presence in Britain

SONGSTRESS: An unnamed member of The African Choir from South
Africa who played concerts for a high-profile audience including Queen Victoria, courtesy of Hulton Archive/Getty Images

 

IT IS a notion that would confound most people, particularly against the backdrop of today’s fierce debate on migration. Yet the truth remains that African history in Britain stretches back to the 3rd Century when valiant and gallant soldiers fought beside the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Though a few of these largely forgotten heroes remained in England, Scotland and Wales, the focus has been on Africans as slaves and servants in royal courts in the stories of people like Quobna Ottobah Cugano, Olaudah Equiano and others
who documented their lives in Britain.

After the transatlantic slave trade, Africans started coming to this country as much sought-after musicians and performers in the courts of nobility. Others came as seafarers working on ships that brought raw materials from
the colonies to Britain and returned with finished goods fashioned for the tropics.

They settled mainly in the port towns of Bristol, Liverpool and Portsmouth and through the advent of colonialisation
others were brought here to learn the language so that they would act as interpreters to aid trade with Africa.

Continue reading “‘Africans Were In Britain Before The English…’”

E. A. Ammah’s Ethnographic Vision By Marion Kilson

In 2016 Sub-Saharan Publishers will publish Kings, Priests, & Kinsmen: Essays on Ga Culture and Society by E. A. Ammah, edited by Marion Kilson.  This essay is based on Marion Kilson’s introduction to the volume.

AtaaAmmahE. A. Ammah (1900-1980) gained renown as an authority on Ga culture and society beginning in the 1930s. He was the first Ga person to speak on the radio about Hɔmɔwɔ and he published a number of essays in the Ghanaian press over the years.  As the head of one of three Ga royal houses, he was an active participant in the proceedings of the Ga Royal Council for many years.  As a devout Anglican, he sought to demonstrate the correspondences between Ga religion and Christianity as well as other world religions including Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.[1] His interests in Ga cultural studies were wide-ranging including social organization, political history, life transition ceremonies, and religion.

A close reading of E. A. Ammah’s essays reveals that his ethnographic vision had two principal components. The first was ensuring the accurate recording and interpretation of Ga institutions and the second was positioning Ga culture within the context of other world cultures.   The first was a concern from the time that he began researching traditional Ga religion in the 1930s and the second seems to have emerged in his writing in the early 1960s.

Ga-focused Ethnographic Vision

In pursuit of ethnographic accuracy, E. A. Ammah not only took meticulous interview notes like those enshrined in his 1937 field diary but took to task others who did not record the ethnographic facts as he understood them.   He wrote a blistering 1941 review essay of M. J. Field’s book, Social Organization of the Ga People.  In it he ridiculed the first major British ethnographer of Ga society for her misinterpretation of the Ga political system.  His critique begins: “Some of the disclosures are as startling as they are vexatious.  The theory that she so remarkably attempts to develop is that (1) the Gas are not one people either in origin or organization; (2) that each town is an independent republic with its own territory and its own unique set of customs; (3) that there has never been any political association between the towns and they have never had a paramount chief… (4) that the stool is not a monarch’s throne…and (5) that the Government of every town is a gerontocracy.”  With this opening salvo, Ammah proceeds to challenge each of these “vexatious” formulations pointing out his perception of Field’s errors of fact and interpretation.  Mr. Ammah was not the only one who objected to Field’s characterization of the Ga polity, for two months later a newspaper editorial stated “Readers will remember that following the release of the book for sale critical reviews and protests began to appear, particularly from the Ga State Council in the press.  A representative of the same Council submitted objections to the Eastern Provincial Council of Chiefs…This was accompanied by the slaughter of sheep to remove…the stigma of insult brought on the Stools and the tribe by the statements published and asked that representation be made with a view to the withdrawal of the book.”  Despite the barrage of Ga-inspired criticism, the book lives on!

Continue reading “E. A. Ammah’s Ethnographic Vision By Marion Kilson”