FARE THEE WELL, BUSUMURU KOFI ANNAN

When beggars die there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.”

These words in Julius Caesar, believed to have been written in 1599 by William Shakespeare, are so aptly applicable to one of Africa’s contemporary sons and international diplomats, Kofi Annan. On August 18, 2018, death laid its icy hand on Kofi Annan, the first Secretary General of the United Nations to be appointed from the ranks of the world body.

Kofi Atta Annan was born in Ghana on April 8, 1938. He was a twin, hence his middle name, Atta. He entered the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, in 1958 and completed his undergraduate degree in economics under a Ford Foundation scholarship at Macalester
College in St. Paul, Minnesota, United States, in 1961. He enrolled in international relations at the Graduate Institute Geneva, and later studied management at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He joined the U.N. in 1962. After working in various capacities and agencies of the U.N., he was elected and became the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, from January 1997 to December 2006. Among the legacies of Kofi Annan at the U.N. were his relentless fight against HIV in Africa and
the launch of the UN Global Compact. Kofi Annan showed the world humility and humanity with diplomatic relations. African and the world owe the soft-spoken international diploma a plethora of gratitude.

In 2007 he established the Kofi Annan Foundation to create and facilitate international developments. He also became the chairman of The Elders, an international organization of eminent people founded by the late Nelson Mandela. In 2001, Kofi Annan and the U.N. jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. The King of Asante, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, conferred the title Busumuru on Kofi Annan at a durbar at Manhyia Palace, Kumasi, in August 2012, for his many achievements and contributions to mankind while at the United Nations. The highest Sword of Honor of the Asante is named Busumuru, a patrilineal entity in the Akan family structure.

Kofi Annan was loved by many, not only because of his leadership at the U.N. but also for his humbleness towards others. His attitude towards people – presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens, refugees and the poor – made him an important personality. He was a shining example of the embodiment of a just human species, for he related to all with the same dignity and respect.

There is one legacy Busumuru Kofi Annan has left behind which will forever define his Africaness. We are talking about his name structure. The Kofi Annan name will forever be associated with Africa, and specifically with Ghana and the Akan ethnicity. That, we believe is one legacy bequeathed to posterity that cannot be claimed, or anglicized, in any form, and will shape generations to come. In an interview after his return to Ghana in January 2007, Kofi Annan said of his career, “I never forgot my roots. I was always proud of my Ghanaian roots.” The evidence of that, on a cursory reflection, is in his name.

He also never forgot that he was an Akwamu royal. The Akwamu, an Akan ethnic group, was once upon a time a force to reckon with in the then Gold Coast. It was an Akwamu royal, Asamani, who in 1693 overpowered the Danish authorities in Christianborg Castle, Osu, Accra, and seized the keys to the seat of power. Fortunately, Kofi Annan did not have to demonstrate the resolve and fighting prowess of the Akwamu blood within him in his international career, for he chose the course of diplomacy.

At a UNDP Award event In New York City in 1999, Kofi Annan and other dignitaries were heralded on stage by the Akan Talking Drums and Telling Horn of Okyeame Kwasi Akuffo and Baffour Ampofo Akoto.

On your last mile on this earthly earth the talking drums and telling horns say to you:

Obrempong nan te brԑ brԑ (the mighty walks majestically).

Damirifa due, damirifa due, damirifa due due! (condolences).

Nan te yie, Busumuru – Fare Thee Well!

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Posted by on Sep 11 2018. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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