|BORN||KOFI NYAME, after a fetish called NYAME|
|CONVERTED CATHOLIC||FRANCIS ODURO after Father's Name|
|UNIVERSITY||KOFI ABOAGYE-NYAME OR KOFI NYAME|
DATE & PLACE OF BIRTH
I am told I was born on or about 13 September 1934 at Abira Kumaa, a farming village situated between Barekese and Offinso, where my father farmed large stretches of cocoa. I was told of my birthday after I grew up by some of my educated relatives who attended my birth. Both my father and mother were illiterate, so they would not have had any records on the exact date.
I was my mother’s fifth child and my father’s third. My mother had two children with her first husband who died before she married my father.
I am from the Boahen Anantuo Abobonoo family in the Royal Bretuo Clan of Asante Mampong. My great-great grandfather, Nana Boahen Anantuo, led the Asante army in the Denkyira war of liberation and was the first Bretuo member to occupy the Asante Mampong Silver Stool. My great-great maternal grandmother, Gyimafra, was a younger sister of Nana Boahen Anantuo. She was given in marriage to Nana Osei Kwadwo, Asaamhene of Abira, in the Kwabre No 1 district of Asante, and her descendants settled in Abira, where I was born and raised.
My father was Opanyin Kwasi Duro of Abira. He was from the Asona Clan and a wealthy cocoa farmer and trader. He was also a cocoa agent for U.A.C, a British trading company. Opanyin Kwasi Oduro, popularly called "Oduro Frikyi", was a typical Asante traditionalist who believed strongly in matrilineal inheritance and was therefore more interested in his nephews than his own children. He also had no interest in education, particularly for girls. He did not send any of his nephews or his own children to school. All his children were either sent to their uncles or engaged on his cocoa farms. Any who got any education got it through close relatives, uncles, brothers, or mothers. My father had 69 children with 10 wives. At one time, he had nine wives at the same time. He died on 1 March 1979 at the very mature age of 92 years, leaving behind five wives.
My mother was Yaa Aboraah Sika, also called Nana Yaa Birago, of the Boahen Anantuo Abobonoo family of the Royal Bretuo Clan of Asante Mampong. Her maternal grandfather was Nana Boahen Anantuo, past Omanhene of Asante Mampong. My mother died at a very old age of 105 on 12 December 1995, leaving behind five children.
I spent my toddler years in Kumasi where my father was trading in beads at the Kumasi Central Market in addition to being a cocoa agent for U.A.C. At about age two, the marriage between my father and mother was dissolved. Afterwards, my mother went to stay for a couple of years in Kinah, a suburb of Abira, before joining her uncle and her elder son, both named Kwasi Aboagye, at Amanfrom, which is a farming village near Hwidiem in the Ahafo district of Brong Ahafo region. Opanyin Kwasi Aboagye, my mother's uncle and my grandfather, was also a wealthy cocoa farmer.
In January 1943, when I was about seven years old, my mother and oldest brother sent me to the Methodist Primary School at Hwidiem in Ahafo, which was three-and-a-half miles from home in Amanfrom. Five other children and I used to walk the distance every day, starting at about 5:00 am and arriving home at about 7:00 pm.
To my relief, my mother got married again to one of the wealthy cocoa farmers in Hwidiem, called Opanyin Kofi Sarbeng, who had three other wives. My mother and I therefore moved from Amanfrom to stay in one of her new husband’s houses in Hwidiem. Unfortunately, the marriage lasted only a couple of years, and my mother moved back to Amanfrom. However, she left me in the care of her former husband’s nephew until I completed primary class three in December 1947.
The couple of years that I stayed with this man were a tough training for me and a friend who was with me in the house. Water was very scarce in this town and only wells supplied good drinking water. We woke up every morning at about 2:00 to fetch water. We then worked on his farm until about 6:30 before going to school. Most of the time, we did not even take breakfast before going to school—only taking lunch at 12:30 in the afternoon, which was mostly plantain, sometimes with kontonmire gravy or with no gravy at all. We cooked for ourselves.
In 1947, my older brother, Kwasi Kwarteng, who was an apprentice mechanic at U.A.C. Motors, invited me to spend the Christmas holidays with him in Kumasi. No doubt this invitation was welcome news indeed, though my older brother, Kwasi Aboagye, was not happy with it.
Joe Konadu-Bonsu, a nephew of my father who was attending school at the Roman Catholic Primary School at Abira also spent Christmas holidays in Kumasi in my father's house. Joe, who was a little older, took great interest in me and used to take me around the city to show me interesting places. We became very good friends.
When I told him that I was looking for a senior school to attend, because Hwidiem did not have one, he readily agreed to help me get admitted to a school in Jamasi where he had been admitted. Consequently, I had no problem in getting admission to standard four. Joe told me he heard it would be difficult for us to find a family in Jamasi to stay with for free to attend school. So he decided that we should find accommodation in a students' hostel in the Roman Catholic Mission, where the church cared for students preparing to be Priests. Since we were not seminarians, we had to feed ourselves, so we carried food to school to last most of the term. When our food stocks ran low, we worked on people’s farms in exchange for food. From January 1948 to December 1949, we lived like this—attending Jamasi Roman Catholic Senior School.
The hostel had six other older pre-seminary students. One of them, Paul Asante, took great interest in me and talked to me about the Catholic faith. So, I started attending holy masses with him every morning. I had been baptised in the Methodist church while attending the Methodist school.
KUMASI STATE SCHOOL
Joe and I decided that we should seek admission at the Kumasi State School because he knew a teacher from our hometown who taught there. Mr. Afiasu agreed to help us get admitted if we could each pay seven pounds, the equivalent of about 1,900 cedis today. I had to tell my older brother, Aboagye, who was responsible for my upkeep. With difficulty, he raised the amount for me to be admitted into standard six. From January 1950 to December 1951, Joe and I attended Kumasi State School, staying in my father's house at Asante New Town Kumasi under the care of my father's wife, Maame Abena Dufie. The two of us were given "Sempoa", three pence, an equivalent of about 3 cedis today, daily for our meals but it was not enough to feed us well. We used one and half pence to buy koko, sugar and bread, for our breakfast. The remaining one and half pence we used at school during break time for lunch.
INITIATION INTO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
In Kumasi, I continued to attend catechism classes and morning masses at St. Peter's Cathedral Church. Because I was attending daily morning masses, my classmates used to call me "the saint".
On 25 November 1950, I was initiated into the Catholic Church at St. Peter's by Rev. Fr. H. Smeele, and on the following day, I received my first Holy Communion. I was confirmed on 17 December 1950 by His Lordship Rt. Rev. H.J. Paulissen, First Bishop of the newly created Kumasi Diocese.
At the Kumasi Division School, I became very good friends with one of the Senior Prefects and classmate named J. E.K Taylor. He was aware that I didn’t have enough money, so he shared his meals with me. He even bought me a pair of canvas shoes when he saw that I was barefoot. In fact, that was the first time in my life that l ever wore shoes. Mr. J.E.K. Taylor Snr. was at one point the Executive Chairman of Vodi Technic Motors Ltd., Accra.
OPOKU WARE SCHOOL
I completed the standard seven in December 1951 and obtained the primary school certificate. The Bishop of Kumasi established a Catholic Secondary School in Ashanti since there was no such school in the region; it was first named Yaa Asantewaa School and Joe Konadu and I were admitted, my school number was K45. On 28 February 1952, the first batch of 60 students, including me, entered the school. Since it was an all-boys school, the name was changed from Yaa Asantewaa to Opoku Ware School after a couple of months. I completed my secondary education in December 1956.
I played volleyball very well and was the captain of my school team. I was also very good in playing chess and draughts.
I was elected one of the first three school prefects of the school when it opened in 1952. In my final year I was elected the Assistant House Prefect for St. Mark's House.
KUMASI COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY
The Kumasi College of Technology offered non-degree professional courses such as Sixth Form, teaching, physical education, engineering, pharmacy, architecture, building technology, fine arts, etc. In January 1957, I entered the college to do a two-year Sixth Form course in science. I passed in all the subjects.
In January 1959, I began a two-year diploma course in pharmacy. At the end of the course, I was attached to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to do a one-year housemanship to qualify to be registered as a pharmacist, which occurred in September 1961. I continued to work in the Pharmacy Department at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
In the first few years of my admission at the College of Technology I used to play lawn tennis very well, but I had to abandon this to enable me concentrate on my studies.
In January 1960, I was elected Chairman of the Entertainment Committee of the Independence Hall. My committee was able to organize an end of year dinner dance which was sponsored by a company which was the sole distributor of Heinekens Beer. Beer and other drinks were served free for all students who attended the dance.
In 1966, I was elected a member of a student’s delegation to meet the Chairman of the National Liberation Council, General Ankrah when there were student disturbances on campus. This delegation was led by Mr. J.H. Owusu Acheampong, one time Majority Leader in Parliament and Minister of Agriculture.
In October 1963, I was transferred to the Tarkwa Government Hospital, and there, I bought my first car in March 1964. It was a brand-new Vauxhall De Lux. It was tough for me as a bachelor in a bubbling mining town like Tarkwa; therefore, in May 1964, when I took my annual leave in Kumasi, I was determined to come back to my station with a wife. Low and behold, I met a beautiful young lady by name Margaret Arthur who agreed to marry me. All the necessary customary rites were performed, and she joined me in Tarkwa in December 1964. We had our first child, a boy, on 5 March 1965, who was named Kofi Aboagye after my senior brother.
On 5 April 1969, I had my marriage to Miss Margaret Arthur solemnized at the St. Mary's Catholic Church at South Suntreso in Kumasi, in a very simple group wedding ceremony. We were six couples who went through the ceremony that day.
UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The Kumasi College of Technology was upgraded to a full degree-awarding university in June 1962, it was later renamed Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). From there, I obtained a B. Pharm. degree in December 1968. I was then posted back to Komfo Anokye Hospital, Kumasi in January 1969.
In October 1969, on a British Council Scholarship, I did a one-year attachment course in hospital pharmacy in various hospitals in the U.K including St. Mary's Hospital Paddington in North London and St. George's Hospital and Royal Infirmary at Aberdeen in Scotland. My wife joined me in London in December 1969. She also did a one-year diploma course in dressmaking.
OTHER POSTS: 1971-1979
- In January 1971, I came home to Ghana and was posted to the Nsawam Hospital as Pharmacist-in-charge. In October 1971, I was transferred to Bolgatanga Regional Hospital in the Upper Region, where I also served as the region’s Pharmacist-in-charge; I did a lot of trekking to all the hospitals and clinics in the region.
- In April 1975, I was appointed the Pharmacy Superintendent for almost three years at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.
- I resigned from the service in January 1978 to go into private practice and worked briefly as the Managing Director for a drug manufacturing company, Tropical Laboratories Ltd., in Kumasi.
KOMARCO PHARMACY, LTD.
In January 1979, I resigned from Tropical Laboratories Ltd. and moved to Accra where I established Komarco Pharmacy Ltd. which operated until 2000.
Komarco’s initial business was the bulk preparation of mixtures such as magnesium trisilicate, ferric ammonium citrate, kaolin, paracetamol syrup, chloroquine syrup, and many others for sale to clinics, hospitals, and retail shops countrywide. We used to import our raw materials from Europe, especially London, Hamburg, and Amsterdam, where I travelled regularly.
OTHER ACTIVITIES AND OFFICES HELD
Knights of Marshall: Catholic Friendly Society
I was initiated into the Noble Order of the Knights of Marshall on 16 September 1972. As l was stationed at Bolgatanga, I took it upon myself to organize a Council in the town. Consequently, in September 1973, Council No. 28 and Court No. 31 were consecrated at Bolgatanga. I was installed as Deputy Grand Knight. Since I was the sole organizer of this Council, I was designated "Father and Founder of Council 28 and Court 31”.
Offices held included:
- Deputy Grand Knight 1973-1974
- Grand Knight 1974-1975
- Past Grand Knight 1975-1976
- Grand Advisor 1976-1977
- Past Grand Advisor 1977-1997
- Past Regional Grand Knight 1997-2002
- Past Supreme Knight 2002-2022
Mother Council: Council No. 48, Accra West
- President, Kaneshie Marshallan Association, 1982-1984
- Member, Supreme Council Paraphernalia Committee, 1984-1988
- Manufacturer and supplier of Regalia and Gowns to the Supreme Council, 1984-1988
- Member, Organizing Committee and Founding Member of Council No. 48 Accra West, 1985-1986
- Member, Cabinet, 1986-1988
- Member, Health Committee, 1986-1996
St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Kaneshie, Accra
Member since January 1972
- Member, Parish Council, Nominated by Kaneshie Marshallan Association January 1980-December, 1984.
- Member, Parish Council, Nominated by St. Martin De Porres Akan Kuo, January 1986-December, 1988.
- Member, Parish Council, Nominated by Legion of Mary, January 1990-December 1994.
- Member, Parish Youth Council - Parish Council Representative, February 1990-December 1994.
- Chairman Youth, Vocations and Evangelization Committee, 1990-1994.
- Organizer, Small Christian Communities in the Parish, 1990-1994.
- Member, Liturgical Committee, January 1994-December 1998.
- Member, Parish Council, Nominated by Legion of Mary, January 1999-December 2002.
Legion of Mary
- Secretary, March 1990 - March 1993
- Member, Accra Regia, 1990-2001
- President, June 1993 - January 2001
- Vice President, Accra Regia, June 1998-October 1990
St. Martin's De Porres Akan Kuo (now Holy Family Society)
- Founding Member, 1992
- Vice President, 1992 - 1993
- President, 1993 - 1997
- “Ɛkuo Ɛgya”, 1997 - 2022
Offices Held in Other Societies
- Member, Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Registration No. 324, 1961
- President, Hospital Pharmacists Association, 1976 - 1978
- President, Opoku Ware Old Boys' Association, Kumasi Branch, January 1976 - December 1978
- President, Opoku Ware Old Boys' Association, Accra Branch, December 1986 - June 1995
- Patron, South McCarthy Hill Association, January 1998 - 2022
- Member, Boahen Anantuo Abobonoo Royal Bretuo family of Asante-Mampong
- In January 1999, elected to occupy the Boahen Anantuo Abobonoo Abakoma stool of the Silver Stool of Asante Mampong. All the necessary preliminary customary rites concerning this honour were performed. I later declined this honour on medical grounds
- Abusuapanin of the Boahen Anantuo Abobonoo Royal Bretuo family. Some family members permanently reside at Abira, Abuontem, and Sesease. All family members are royals of the enviable Silver Stool of Asante-Mampong
- Roman Catholic Church
- Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Reading Catholic books
- Writing about the Catholic faith
RELIGIOUS ARTICLES WRITTEN
- Children of Mary? (Brothers and sisters of Jesus)
- Christian marriage—an indissoluble union
- How often Should a Catholic go to Confession?
- Mary as Mother of the Church
- Mary's Role in Our Salvation
- Life of Mary, Mother of Jesus
- The One True Church of Christ
- The origins of war against Mary
- Mary's role as Co-Redemptrix of all Graces and advocate for the people of God
- Salvation only through the Church?
- Some practices of devotion in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Thank God l am a Catholic Christian!
- Some reflections on the Fatima messages
- Why the Rosary?
- The Crisis of Faith
- Conversion through Personal Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
- CERTIFICATE OF HONOUR: Awarded for meritorious and devoted services during the conversion of West Marshallan Association to Council and Court; the Noble Order of the Knights and Ladies of Marshall, 1987
- CERTIFICATE OF MERIT: Contribution towards Youth Apostolate for 1994-1996; Accra West Deanery Catholic Youth Council, 1996
- CERTIFICATE OF HONOUR IN PRAISE OF GOD: Appreciation of great service to the Service and to the Society and to the glory of God. Accra/Tema Catholic Akan Nkanbom Kuo, 1997
- CERTIFICATE OF COMMENDATION: In recognition valuable, meritorious, devoted, and faithful services to sustain the St. Theresa's Parish Marshallan Association; the Noble Order of the Knights and Ladies of Marshall, St. Theresa's Catholic Church Kaneshie, Accra; Marshallan Association, 1999
- JUBILEE YEAR AWARD: CERTIFICATE OF DISTINCTION, HONOUR AND RECOGNITION GOD WILL REWARD THE FAITHFUL SERVANT: Expression of profound gratitude and deep appreciation for dedicated, loyal, and committed services that contributed to the spiritual, moral, and physical development of the people of God in the community. Above all, hard work, noble thoughts, acts of charity, and humility that earned admiration and respect among fellow Christians and non-Christians in the Archdiocese, 2000
- CERTIFICATE OF HONOUR: For meritorious services to St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Kaneshie, 2008
- CERTIFICATE OF HONOUR: For meritorious services to St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Kaneshie, 41st Anniversary, 2009
I wish to express my special thanks and gratitude to the following people who, in diverse ways, helped to form my life as a man and my understanding of Jesus Christ and His Church—the Roman Catholic Church.
- My father and mother of blessed memory
- Opanyin Kwasi Aboagye, my senior brother who took care of my education
- Fr. H. Smeele, who initiated me into the Roman Catholic Church
- Joseph Poku, Godparent at my baptism
- His Lordship Rt. Rev. H. J. Paullissen, first Bishop of the newly Created Catholic Diocese of Kumasi who confirmed me
- Joseph Konadu-Bonsu, who secured admission for me in a Catholic school at Jamasi
- Paul Kwame Asante, who instructed me extensively in the Catholic faith at Jamasi
- J. E. K Taylor, a worthy and trusted classmate and friend up to adulthood, who gave me my first shoes
- My wife and children who have all embraced faithfully the Catholic faith that I introduced to them. Your support, loyalty, and dedicated services have contributed immensely to the enhancement and sustenance of my faith and my life as a whole
THANK YOU ALL