Spiritan Features

Ghanaian Spiritan reflects on his country’s most famous son

By Raphael Annan C.S.Sp

The former UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan was buried earlier this month in his native Ghana. Without doubt, he was our country’s best-known and most accomplished statesman.

Mr. Annan and his twin-sister Efua Atta were born in April 1938 in Kumasi in what was then known as The Gold Coast. In the local Akan language, their first names signified "born on a Friday" and their shared middle name meant “twin". 

Mr. Annan attended the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi, named after Ghana’s first prime minister and president. He then studied economics in the US (on a scholarship from the Ford Foundation) and later in Switzerland, the country which became his home.  After leaving the UN, which he had joined in 1962, he founded the Kofi Annan Foundation to work on international development. In 2012, he was the UN–Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria. He was Chancellor of the University of Ghana for a decade until earlier this year.

On Mr. Annan’s death in August, former President Kuffour of Ghana said that he “showed love and excelled in all…he believed in the fact that we should be our brothers' keeper.”  Ghanaians in Chicago described him as “a stalwart African diplomat, a humanitarian and a strong advocate and keeper of international peace and security.  His achievements stand tall especially as the first black African to become U.N. Secretary-General … Though he was soft-spoken, his voice pieced through tough hearts!”

May his gentle soul rest in peace.