It is a humbling opportunity for me, but one that I accept fully, to pay tribute to the memory of a truly Great and Noble Matriarch. Nana Asantehemaa Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem was the embodiment of everything that is rich and noble about Ashanti culture.
She was a strong personality, she was wise, she was a disciplinarian, she was fair-minded, she was compassionate, she was a unifier, and she was always generous. She accepted her circumstance with courage and equanimity. Indeed, Proverbs Chapter 30: Verse 25 eloquently describes our gracious Queenmother. It says, “Strength and Honour are her clothing and she rejoice in time to come”.
The Asantehemaa’s humanity defined her and found expression in her dealings with people. I am glad to say that I was a major beneficiary of the generosity of her spirit. Indeed, I am proud and blessed that she considered me her son! To Asantehemaa, I was always the son in Obuasi – (“me ba ‘Buasi) and never mind that over the years I have had to relocate from Obuasi, to Accra, to South Africa and back to Accra, I was always “me ba ‘Buasi”.
I remember with great fondness, when I left Obuasi for Accra as Chief Executive Officer of Ashanti Goldfields, not a week would go by without Nanahemaa calling to check on my welfare. Indeed, when my job required me to move to South Africa, one of the pleasures I knew I was going to miss was the weekly supply of “ bosua”. For as long as I could remember, whether I was in Obuasi or in Accra, Nanahemaa would ensure that I would receive my weekly supply of that delicacy. She was always that caring!
I have had a fair share of challenges in my life! I want to recall with the deepest gratitude; the comfort, the support and the guidance she always and graciously gave to me during those difficult times. Nothing was more comforting and reassuring for me than to hear her say in her soft but authoritative voice, “Akwasi, ma wakoma nto wo y?m. M?nsuro. Bibiara b?y? bokoo”. And in all instances I will leave her bedside emotionally strengthened and wiser!
My relationship with my brother, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, was a source of joy and happiness for her. In all her actions, she sought to nurture and enhance the relationship between us.
In 2003, prior to my leaving for South Africa to assume the duties of my new appointment, I visited Nanahemaa to receive her blessings. I recall most vividly her immediate comment, “Akwasi if you are going to South Africa, then I am happy that your brother will now have a place to come to for rest”.
She was always motherly, and in her long reign she touched many lives! I have lost a Mother and I will sorely miss her!
Maame da yie!
May Your Gentle Soul Rest in Perfect Peace!
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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