The 25th year commemoration of the death of Mr Jones Clifford Akosa, aka Nana Akosa Brempong, attracted 62 of the 74 surviving children and about 140 grandchildren in what turned out to be a huge celebration by any standard.
The Dean of St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church in Asante Mampong was effusive in his praise for the achievements of the man and wondered why many people perhaps larger and bigger than him get forgotten after the first anniversary. A visit to some grave yards in Ghana bear testimony to many forgotten heroes. Overgrown graveyards that have not seen any visit since the unveiling of the tombstone and yet they begot children and educated them. There are many for whom court battles have torn the children apart. So what lessons can be gleaned from the activities of the weekend of August 4-6 in Asante Mampong other than the eating and the drinking and my word there was a lot of that.
The visit to the well-treated tomb site was captivating. Libation was poured and the tomb door opened and mostly the grandchildren many of whom were in awe of the tomb took turns to take pictures around the burst inside the tomb. On the Friday we had done close to a seven-kilometre walk aided by a brass band that took us to Mampong Babies Home where a presentation was made and then to Amaniampong SHS originally founded by Mr Akosa and has his burst in the arriving concourse of the school. The grandchildren were very impressed. The school started in 1963 and many old students have climbed the social ladder beautifully, Dr Kwadwo Tutu formerly of the Economics Department, University of Ghana, ECA Addis Ababa and IEA Ghana was a pioneer student, Supreme Court’s Justice Anin Yeboah, DCOP Dr Ewusi Emmem, President of the Ghana Medical Association and many others.
This really set the stage for interaction with the grandchildren, continuing from where we left off five years ago. Why it was important to continue to celebrate Mr Akosa for all he did on this earth in politics and nation building but more importantly, in social development and education. The grandchildren had their own meeting and came back to announce to us they had accepted to receive the mantle for the five yearly organisation of the memorial. In addition, seeing the vast human resource in the 219 grandchildren,they were to create career advice and mentoring among themselves. The spread of careers available to them now was impressive but they needed to make it even better. A website in progress www.Akosafamily.org was unveiled.
The burial site of Mr Clifford Jones Akosa
The Akosa Foundation was launched with seed money to be invested. All children and grandchildren who are capable were to make monthly, quarterly, biannual or annual contributions to boost the fund. The account details were released but will be on the website. It was to be used primarily for needy, brilliant children in Benin near Mampong his hometown and Asante Mampong, the district capital. The teachers in the schools will notify us with justification the winners of the awards from end of the next academic year. The children will be interviewed before the awards are given. The best overall student in Amaniampong SHS will be given the AKOSA PRIZE annually. Internally, any needy brother or sister will be assisted but after careful consideration.
Fathers will never achieve the same level of acceptability or celebratory status as mothers. It is no wonder Father's Day is so woefully patronised compared to Mother's Day. Mr Akosa as a People's Warden in the Anglican Church in Mampong had said repeatedly that he had never seen any animal species in whom the children follow the father. It is and will always be children following their mother. Fathers should, therefore, not be jealous of the women in any way. Mr Akosa, however, displayed many of the qualities of a good mother and it is not surprising that anywhere the children gather it is him they talk about. He had a hard disciplinary exterior but was as soft as jelly within.
In the developed world, families meet periodically to discuss issues usually on a long weekend with picnics and this has brought families together. Some families in Ghana do that but not enough. Meetings only occur as a prelude to festivals or on the last day after funerals during the discussion on the accounts. Many families have been split because of the lack of opportunities to dialogue and resolve basic fundamental challenges. We must all help create such space to talk and live in peace.
To my brothers and sisters and our children, well done everybody and bon voyage to those travelling back. We shall meet again if not before, most certainly on the 30th anniversary. Till then, let us all keep the faith.