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

 

On the passing of Comrade Hayford Patterson Akrofi

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Akro, Akro, Red Akro! so sad that you have passed on so soon when your beloved party so needed your cool head and your conciliatory ways.  I am truly saddened that i will not be able to meet you in Ghana this August especially since we could not meet when you were down in London earlier this year.

How does one pay tribute to a political comrade who always tried to bridge the gap between the great divide in our party and who was always prepared to be persecuted for his beliefs, except to capture some of the good work you  did for the party over the recent years and applaud your enthusiasm for moving the party forward.

I had known of you since our secondary school days; we would have been classmates if you had continued to the sixth form at Ofori Dankwa’sGhanass at Koforidua.  We met when you had visited the school and then i also heard of you in dispatches as you led the valiant fight against Acheampong’s regime as a student leader – Red Akro because of your socialist bent!

We met in London – Brixton,where we both pursued the cause to bring economic advancement to African heritage communities.  I had executed a project with the Black Contractors Association to assist them win contracts by providing them with professional help in getting their documentation and their bidding done professionally and you were the architect that worked with them.

Continue reading “On the passing of Comrade Hayford Patterson Akrofi”

Tribute to the Late Dr Benjamin Nii Darkufio Dodoo

Tribute to the Late Dr Benjamin Nii Darkufio Dodoo

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1Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Isaiah 40 1:5

We do not always have an opportunity to celebrate a man before he departs this earth because we always take things for granted.  It is painful sometimes in this age of instant communication when you are told of the passing away of an internet colleague who happened to be both  foe and friend in the cut and thrust of discussions and debates on the Gadangme Internet Forum; you are not only shocked but also numbed by the news.

I saw him on the previous Friday at the funeral of the husband of a niece.  I saw him at the wake and again at the reception on Saturday. I haven’t even had the chance to hand over the $100.00 he donated to our organisation Ga Dangme Nikasemo Asafo in recognition of the continued good work that we do in the name of Gadangme. I thanked him for his generosity to the cause of GaDangme.  To say that  I am stunned is an understatement and therefore I cannot be as coherent as I could be save to write this tribute to a man who became dedicated to the Gadangme cause and who defended to the core all things Gadangme and refused to give any quarter in his projection of his tribe. Continue reading “Tribute to the Late Dr Benjamin Nii Darkufio Dodoo”

Tribute to my President: from a Ghanaian in London – Ade Sawyerr

Tribute to my President: from a Ghanaian in London  –  by Ade Sawyerr

His Excellency Professor John Evans Atta Mills

 President of the Republic of Ghana: from 7th January 2009 to 24th July 2012
1 Corinthians 15:54-57   -54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

 The untimely death of our President has been a great shock to all Ghanaians worldwide and indeed more so to us here in London.  The icy hands of death have struck yet again, this time taking from our midst a man at the height of his endeavours. We are saddened by the vacuum created by the departure from the political scene in Ghana of a man of such great political stature. The Father of our nation has gone to the village to join our ancestors.  We applaud his valour, dedication and continued service to the cause of our nation even during the period when he must have been very ill and give thanks to the Lord for ending his pain and suffering.

President Mills was an esteemed man in several respects; he was a professor, an administrator, a politician and a skilful sportsman and a devout Christian who was at all times guided by his convictions and his inordinate faith in his God.  He never allowed himself to be caught in the controversies that normally surround leaders in Africa. Continue reading “Tribute to my President: from a Ghanaian in London – Ade Sawyerr”

Tribute to Robert Okai Clottey

roc-obitA crown for the valiant

To wearied ones rest,

God shall be all, and in all ever blest

Amen.

It is an honour to pay this tribute to Robert Ataa Okai Clottey whom I would venture to describe quite aptly, as a man of different parts, a father and devoted husband, an accountant, cultural exponent, leader of community organisations, teacher and latterly a man of the cloth.

At several points and in several ways he touched the lives of people around him and I pay this tribute in sadness because the several discussions that we had about life and its complexities will now remain unfinished and unexplained.

Ataa Okai like me, lived on Bruce Road, James Town British Accra and though our formative years were similar he was a contemporary of my older brothers.

Continue reading “Tribute to Robert Okai Clottey”