Thousands have gathered at the Accra International Conference Centre Thursday to pay their final respects to the late Kofi Annan, 80, who died after a short illness in Switzerland in August.
The funeral rites for the former Secretary-General of the United Nations include visits from António Guterres, the 9th and current UN Secretary-General; President Nana Akufo-Addo; Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia; Archbishop and Bishop of Kumasi, Daniel Yinka Sarfo; Director of Religious Affairs of the Ghana Armed Forces, Paul Adjei-Djan; Annan’s wife Nane Lagergren and Annan’s children, Kojo Annan and Ama Annan.
Tributes have poured in from family, friends and loved ones for the late Ghanaian diplomat.
The ceremony began with a welcome and prayer from the Archbishop and Bishop of Kumasi Daniel Yinka Sarfo and the Former Archbishop and Bishop of Accra, Justice Ofei Akro.
Opera singer Barbara Hendricks opened the ceremony with a solo entitled “Oh Freedom,” followed by tributes from Ambassador Kobina Annan, his children, his widow and the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres.
The Winneba Youth Choir performed the anthem “Edikanfo Mo,” then President Akufo-Addo made remarks on the importance of Annan’s legacy in Ghana and throughout the world.
The sermon was delivered by Reverend J.O. Akrofi. Following the sermon, the Winneba Youth Choir performed another anthem, which was greeted by applause. Thanksgiving prayers were administered, followed by a performance from singer Alice Twum, who sang “It is Well.”
This story will be updated periodically throughout the day.
Nane Lagergren, Kofi Annan’s wife: “I remember how excited he always was to return home to Ghana. He would always be so happy,” said Nane. “He tried his best to make the world a better place in our homes, or villages, our towns and our communities….my Love, may you rest in peace and continue to inspire us and guide us.”
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations: “Kofi Annan was a guiding force for the good. During the tumultuous era in which he led the Untied Nations, he combined compassion, commitment and diplomatic skill to bring the Organization closer to the world’s peace, build the foundations of peace and give life to the values of the Charter.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo: Charming, cosmopolitan, consensus-builder, elegant, eloquent, gentle-mannered, modest, polygot, proud Africa, peacemaker, quintessential diplomat – these words are still inadequate to capture the fullness of the personality of Kofi Annan, one of the truly iconic figures of modern times.”
Ama Annan Adedeji, Kofi Annan’s daughter: “There is no such thing as goodbye, just a date and time when I am sending you ahead to prepare a place in the sun with the certainty that, some day, I will join you when my life is done.”
Kojo Annan, Kofi Annan’s son: “It is thanks to your 45 years of guidance, wisdom and counsel that my shoulders were made ready to carry my family. I thank God that the love and profound bond we share transcends space and time.”
Nina Cronstedt, Kofi Annan’s daughter:: " You gave yourself to everyone, big and small, and will live on in us and the thousands of others who felt your compassion. You made a real diference and you will continue to inspire good."
Ambassador Kobina Annan, Kofi Annan's brother: "No call, email or text went unanswered, No personal crises unaddressed. No major family milestones or celebrations unattended. No matter what was happening in the world. So whole we share him with the world, we were never poorer for it.”