By Belinda Ayamgha, GNA
Accra, Sept. 13, GNA - The children of the late Kofi Annan have eulogized their father, recounting some of their fondest memories with him and the important values he taught them.
In a tribute read by Ama Annan Adedeji, daughter of Mr Kofi Annan, she noted that her dad taught her to appreciate everything that she had; good or bad, as someone somewhere always had it worse than she did.
Recounting an occasion where she went complaining to her dad about not being able to buy something, she noted the questions he asked her and the conclusion he drew, which reiterated the need for her to be content with what she had.
After answering to his questions of “Is someone shooting at you? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you eat three times a day?, he said to her; “then you have no problems, stop complaining.”
Amidst reminiscent smiles from Nane Marie Laghergren, and her siblings: Nina and Kojo, Mrs Annan Adedeji recounted her father’s ‘casual’ dressing of a suit, when he invited her to accompany him to a friend’s concert where the dress code was casual.
When she asked why he was wearing a suit to the concert, when he was supposed to be casually dressed, he replied: “I am casually dressed, see, no tie.”
Describing her father’s down-to-earth nature and his ability to straddle different worlds, she said Mr Annan moved effortlessly from shanty to Paris, from impoverished streets to government enclaves, from a morning greeting with a member of the household or a moment shared with a loved one to negotiating for international peace.
“He understood only too well that like hamsters on a wheel, most of us spend our lives running around in circles, locked in our little bubbles, trying our utmost to insulate ourselves from the violence, poverty, crime or pollution. Each, if not all of these conditions, is a reality for the people that were in the forefront of his mind. Yet, somehow, the darkness of the human condition were balanced and lightened by the resolute hope, lodged firmly in his heart,” she said.
She described her father as a believer in knowledge as power, information as liberating and education as the premise of progress in every society and family, and who tended to gravitate towards the youth, in whom he found ‘hope and inspiration’.
Mrs Adedeji said she had grown to appreciate her father for what he was: a man with the generosity of spirit, who gave himself to others, put himself at their disposal and was one of the most loving people she knew.
“He may not have been the coolest dad, but to me, he always walked on water,” she said.
To paraphrase Winnie the Pooh “How lucky am I to have such a father, that makes saying goodbye so hard. Rest in peace, daddy,” she said.
Mr Kojo Annan, son, in his tribute, said it had been an honour and privilege to have Mr Annan as a father for the past 45 years.
“To the rest of the big world, he was Kofi Annan, noble statesman par excellence, but to me, he was simply daddy,” he said.
He said his father’s singular gift was his ferocious belief in humanity and its ability to see past superficial differences and embrace the need to create a more equal world.
He recounted how, at age seven, he lived alone with his father in Geneva, at a time when it was novel for a traditional African man to be raising a child solo, noting; “My daddy made it work and he made it great.”
He noted that even with increased responsibilities at the UN, Mr Annan still dropped everything to be at his bedside when he fell ill and had to have immediate surgery, and also helped him to put his life back together, piece by piece.
“He loved me unconditionally, and I loved him, unconditionally, and most importantly, he taught me how to love unconditionally,” he said.
Kojo said his father’s lessons, inspiration and legacy would sustain him, as he went on in life without his father.
He thanked the world leaders and people who attended the funeral and urged them to emulate the values that his father represented, saying the greatest tribute they could pay to him was to follow his example of unity, equality, love, peace and respect.
Nina Cronstedt de Groot, his daughter, expressed gratitude for the years that he spent with them, saying it was the only thing that was able to trump the sorrow of not having him with them.
“Gratitude for feeling your love and support every day and for having Alexei and Ebba experience you almost as I have. You gave of yourself to everyone, big or small, and will live on in us and the thousands of those who felt your compassion,” she said in remembrance published in the official brochure.
“You made a real difference and you will continue to inspire good. I love you endlessly. Rest in Peace,” she said.GNA