Emmanuel Ayah Okwabi laid to rest
Family members and friends from London, members of the Ghana Union in Stockholm, Friendship Association and the Ga-Adagme union in Stockholm as well as old acquaintances and well-wishers were at hand for the burial service and internment of Emmanuel Ayah Okwabi (alias Sir Kwas) which took place on Friday at S:t Bodvids Kyrkogård, Huddinge. It was a simple but nice ceremony. Karl-Erik Nylund conducted the service and preached the sermon. There were readings from 1st Peter and the popular burial hymns were sung in English. Joe Franz, who attended the same secondary school in Ghana with Okwabi, gave a tribute at the service and talked about the late Okwabi’s life as a student in Adisadel College. He took the opportunity to say a little about the school too, which was established as far back as 1910 by British missionaries. Together with another old boy of the school, they sung one of the school’s popular songs of the time. At the graveside Anthony Turkson gave a moving burial speech in which he quoted phrases in Latin and sung a song in Latin too. Okwabi’s family members and friends from the UK filled the grave with their farewell flowers. They took turns in pouring the traditional small amounts of sand into the grave to mark their final farewells to a loved brother and friend.
A reception was held in memory of the deceased at Tullinge Centrum. Many tributes were paid to Okwabi’s memory. Anthony Turkson was at hand again to draw the gathering’s attention to the need to visit Ghana often as we spend more and more days abroad. He linked the state of Ghana’s development to the machinations of the super-powers of which the USA was the only remaining one and how they cause all wars in the world today. Suberu Salaam talked on behalf of the Ghana Union about the activities of Okwabi who was a member of the union. He thanked the relatives and friends of Okwabi who had come all the way from the UK for the occasion. He also thanked Friendship Association and Ga-Adagme union for their contributions to making the occasion a success. Joe Etbon, President of the Friendship Association, also talked on behalf of his association and his personal knowledge of the deceased. Joe Etbon was one of the earliest employers of Okwabi when he arrived in Sweden in the 90s. He knew him very well. Kofi Sapathy talked of his knowledge of Okwabi who had attended the same institution as he did in Legon. He talked about how Okwabi took care of the last issue of Ghana Union’s newsletter, The Linguist, before the union established its own website. Mr Allen Okwabi, the deceased’s young brother and Ms Mertha Laryea each talked on behalf of the group that came from London and thanked the Ghanaians in Sweden for all they had done.
There was music, drinks and something to eat and later in the evening, a few people took to the dance floor to dance away their sorrows. Some of the oldies took to the floor displaying dancing talents from their younger days. It was a fitting tribute to one of us who had gone the way all of us will eventually go. But he went before his time.
Incidentally, the burial of Emmanuel Okwabi happened on the 29th of January, 2016, exactly the day he would have been celebrating his 58th birthday. But it was not to be.
May the departed rest in eternal peace!