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!”

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The Story of Adedainkpo in Old Accra

Migration, Urbanisation and Evolving identities – The Story of Adedainkpo in Old Accra

By Gilbert Nii-Okai Addy December 2012

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Adedainkpo in Old Accra – not many Ghanaians would know this today – was for over one hundred and fifty years, from the early 1800s to perhaps the 1950s , where nearly anyone who was anyone among the native African elite in the Gold Coast lived. It was for that entire period, effectively most of the British colonial period, the equivalent of East Legon in the scheme of the Accra of today. It was veritably the centre of economic, social , cultural and intellectual life in Accra and the British Gold Coast colony.
One may be able to catch a glimpse of this glorious history by the scale of most of the now sadly crumbling grand houses there. The houses were even bigger in some parts of Korle Wokon firther down Hansen Road from the Wesley Methodist Church and towards the old UTC Katamanto area.

Housing for most people in nearly all of the colonial Gold Coast during would have been most rudimentary – mud huts, ta few wooden or concrete houses and the like at best.

Adedainkpo , was where most of the educated elite of Accra and the Gold Coast lived and the entire area , before the later development of Adabraka and Kaneshie, was the economic, social and cultural heart of Accra.
In my primary school in Accra in the 1960s, although many if not most of the Ghanaian pupils there and then could trace their origins to Adedainkpo, I was the only one who physically lived at there because I lived with my grandmother as my own parents were out of Ghana for much of that time. As such I got to know the area very intimately. Now what most of my friends and colleagues knew as my grandmother’s house was and still is i in fact not her house at all but her great grand parents house. Yes, the house was originally owned by my grandmother’s own great grandparents. So I actually grew up in a family house in which I was in fact something like a sixth or even seventh generation resident, which coming to think of, is actually quite interesting. My roots in the area go back several generations.Now what , one may ask, is the import of all this ? Continue reading “The Story of Adedainkpo in Old Accra”