Kofi Annan’s children eulogize their ‘daddy’

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

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

“To the rest of the big world, he was Kofi
Annan, noble statesman par excellence, but to me, he was simply daddy,” he

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.  


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