Ni Mei ni Yehowa ekpoame le aaku amese ke aba ekon,
ni ame aba Zion ke nyamo lala, ni nano mise aahi ameyitean;
amenine aase mliflimo ke mise no,
ni awereho ke ntsoidomo aadso foi
They shall enter Zion with shouts of triumph
Crowned with everlasting gladness
Gladness and joy shall be their escort
Suffering and weariness shall flee away
John Kojo Addae Hammond started life on the 10th of October 1947, born in Accra to parents Emmanuel Hammond of Salem in Prampram and Haggar Yarkorfio Annan of Asere in GaMashi, both of blessed memory. He lived with his mother during his pre school years at Asere and later on moved to stay with his father at his grandfather’s house at Adabraka where he started and completed primary school at KingTackieTawiahMemorialSchool.
He attended Kotababi K2, a Boys School that was built to absorb the overspill of middle schools from other areas in Accra from where he went to study at Accra Academy, a school founded by indigenous Gadangme people to compete with the best anywhere in Ghana.
He spent his gap year teaching at AccraSecondary School, a private college started by another of the Ga educational entrepreneurs before entering the University of Ghana, Legon where he read and completed an honours degree in Linguistics in July 1972.
John was faced with several options after his university days, he started working with the ministries in Ghana and was briefly stationed at Akosombo, but being one of the adventurous young men of his time he decided on the option of coming to England to broaden his horizons. He had assisted the Ghana Association of University Teachers in the organisation of one of their charter flights out of Ghana during his university years, he has been associated with the organization of several dances, some very successful and others with disastrous consequences, perhaps too trusting and loyal to some of his friends at the time. But the bug to travel had caught him so he left Ghana to England to work with Afro Asian Travel Centre that had been spawned off by the original organizers of the university association travel scene. His task was to cultivate and develop the African market in Britain for cheap travel for holidays back to their country of origin. He did most of the legwork in those days with organizations such the CASLOG, Nigerian Association of Women and several West African organisations that formed the basis of affinity group charter flight travel. He worked in the office at 52 Shaftesbury Avenue during the day and delivered tickets to passengers during the evenings providing excellent services for an African clientele. His work enabled him to discover several parts of London and the city in its breadth and depth; he also became entrenched in the fabric of the West African community. He left Afro Asian to work with the Inland Revenue Service and then on a number of Tax practices till he took time out to study for an accounting qualification. He went back to the Her Majesties Revenue Collection agency in the last years of his life
Over the 40 odd years that John lived in London, he had lived in several areas, in The Ghanaian student hostel in Collingham gardens, in Landor Road, in Maida Vale, Kensal rise, Harlesden, Elephant and Castle, Hendon, Kingsbury Stanmore and lately Northolt. His home was always open to the many friends who came on holidays and who passed through till they could settle in the country.
There was a certain attraction about John and his outlook to life, a certain measure of sophistication and affability that made him an excellent conversationalist. Perhaps his study of linguistics provided him with the breadth of knowledge to understand the context of language and he excelled at holding the attention of his friends in any discussion. He had a warm personality and often took a deep interest in the children of his friends engaging them the in conversation and encouraging and inspiring them to find their own corner of achievement.
John always looked on the bright side of things a refreshing optimistic when most would be cynical of life’s turns, a characteristic the enabled him to lead life to the full; he enjoyed all sorts, his sartorial elegance, his parties, his music to the extent that even on his last admission to hospital he would welcome the prayers with his friend Adjei as well as engage in songs of the past with Christy who regularly visited especially his favourite James Brown – There Was A Time.
John’s keen eye for beautiful women meant that he married early to Priscilla but the marriage broke under the strains of life in the Diaspora. He married again to Margie with whom he endured a more stable relationship,
Such was the manner of the man and his life, a modern day hero whose life reflected what many in the Diaspora go through stoically in their sojourn in this country.
His continuous search for good work led him to his lodge; a natural home for one who would thrive in a fraternity, his search for spirituality led him to his God in whom he found solace in his last moments.
His friends from far and wide will cherish memories iof him, ‘the boys’ in Accra will miss his occasional visits. His family will be inconsolable.
John is survived by his wife Margie, his children Pamela Neurki and Emmanuella Naa Adjeley and his grandchildren, Jahmal, Priscilla, Joshua and Hannah as well as several siblings, nephews, nieces, cousins and extended family members
A life well lived is a praise to God
An age well earned is a glory to God
And in departing this world though sad and a mystery
It is the well knit plan of God the almighty
Rest in peace