Ghana’s Oldest Centenarian Passes Away

History, People And Places

One of Ghana’s, if not the world’s oldest super-centenarians- Obaapayin (née) Sarah Efua Andrews- affectionately known as “Maame Aketze”, has passed away at an “enviable age” of 120, at Amanfopong, near Breman Asikuma, in the Central Region of Ghana.

Born in January 1889 into Eguana Ebusua of Ekumfi Adanse and Abroadze Obataan Family of Ekumfi Otuam in Central Region respectively, the Obaapayin who almost witnessed the foundation stone of Gold Coast’s once bubbling mining hub- Prestea, in the Western Gold Coast, where she spent most of her “adolescent years” as a wife and plantain trader, until her natural death at Amanfopong on Friday, 22 May 2009, could be perhaps, comfortably crowned as the world’s most immediate-past oldest person- beating the current Guinness Book of World Records’ holder- Gertrude Baines, of the United States of America.

The Californian super-centenarian Gertrude Baines, who was born on 6 April 1894, assumed her current title as the oldest living person, following the 2 January 2009 death of Portuguese woman super-centenarian- Maria de Jesus dos Santos, who was born on 10 September 1893 (115yeras and 114 days- making her the world’s oldest person for five weeks at the time). Santos is said to have been bestowed that status after the 26 November 2008 death of American Edna Parker who, according to Guinness World Records, died at 115 years and 220 days- and being the only verified person born in 1893 to live into 2009. Yet, she also trails Eguanaba Sarah Efua Andrews some five years?

Indeed prominent family members such as Eguana Ebusuapayin Opayin Kojo Ntsiful (Ekumfi Adanse), Obaapayin Edufuwa (Ajumako Takyiman) and Nana Anto-Apem Boadu- Ankoabeahen of Amanfopong, not forgetting ((paternal)) Abroadze Obataan Ebusuapayin Nana Ntsiful, of Ekumfi Otuam, had been unable to provide documentary proof of Maame Aketze’s said age, yet historically moved, the date of birth of Sarah Efua Andrews- the lone sister of the late J.B. Andrews and Kofi Abekah, and the daughter of the late Opayin Ekow Nyinfa and Maame Nyankomah, all from Ekumfi Adanse, could hardly be disputed.

Having moved with her parents to settle in Abonku, near Saltpond, the born Efua Eduah got married to young Kojo Anamoah- known in official circles as Mr Joseph E. Anaman. Mr Anaman moved later with Maame Efua to settle at Prestea in the early 1930s, when gold mining, attracted most young Gold Coasters to fizzy places such as Tarkwa and Obuase. Here the compassionate ((great-great)) grandmother, mother and friend- “Maame Aketze” (commonly known by friends and relatives), whose life-secret was her readiness to share and forgive, travelled around Goaso and Sankore in the Brong-Ahafo Region as a foodstuffs trader. Though had no formal education, as one of the first plantain sellers in town, her entrepreneurial skills, combined with love, open-handedness and keen interest in people once earned her queen mother of plantain sellers association.

Maame Aketze, whose husband’s died in 1986, was a committed Christian, who held various positions at Prestea Methodist Church. For those who are familiar with Takoradi and Prestea localities, the born Sarah Efua Andrews whom we depart this week, is the mother of the late Nana Abekah II of Abonku- known in private life as Mr John Kwame Anaman, who until his death in 2000, owned the Adisco Tailors of fame, in Takoradi. The late Opanin Kwame Anaman (Nana Abekah II,) is the father of Ex-Corporal Ebenezer Anaman until 1982, served at I Recce Squadron, at Gondar Barracks, Accra.

According to Ex-Cpl Ebenezer Anaman, now a Reverend Minister at Faith Alive Chapel International, London, his late grandma- Sarah Efua Andrews, had initial childbearing difficulties as a young woman. “The old lady had said also that she lost her first born- and the second pregnancy was also prematurely terminated as a result of what she described as a terrifying fire outbreak that occurred in the 1930s at Prestea mines. In reality she said she had little hoped for having a child until my Dad was born in 1936,” said the “Old Boys’ Company” absolvent, Anas, as he is popularly known by colleagues.

Taking the 1936 as referable root to, speculatively, affirm Maame Aketze’s miscarriage of 1930s, JusticeGhana Samaritan Research Group discovered that the Railway Loan Ordinance (no.6 of 1898) and (no.7 of 1898) and later, the Private Enterprise Railway Construction Bill of 1907, were all enacted to raise the economic image of mining-related ventures in Gold Coast. For example, between 1902 and 1913, the British government granted three loans totalling £3,163, 000.00 for railway and harbour construction. According to Railway Administrations Annual Report of 1928, the discovery of more gold veins at Tarkwa (including Prestea) and increasing profitability of the older mines sited at distance from Tarkwa, made the construction of the branch line from Tarkwa necessary.

In writing this therefore, is an attempt to generate further thesis and documentation on our unsung centenarians across our country and to ‘mourn’ specifically, with entire Eguana Ebusua of Amanfopong and Ekumfi Adanse, not forgetting Obataan Family of Ekumfi Otuam, as they prepare to celebrate a “joyous” passing away and final reception for our royal centenarian Obaapayin Sarah Efua Andrews, which begins on Friday, 26 June 2009, at Amanfopong and her final aided-journey to Ekumfi Adanse, where she would be laid to rest on Saturday 27 June 2009. The Church activities and sermon would be presided over by Very Reverend Isaac T. Fynn- Superintendent of Methodist Church of Breman Asikuma District.

Obaapayin Sarah Efua Eduwah Andrews- otherwise “Maame Aketze”, left behind 12 Grandchildren, 30 Great-grandchildren and 2 Great-great-grandchildren. The entire Eguana/Abroadze Ebusua of Amanfopong and Ekumfi Adanse/Otuam acknowledge your sympathy and support, and wish to thank you all.

Author’s Note:

*1. Eguana Ebusua (Fante) is known in Akuapem/Asante Twi as Agona Abusua. This Akan Abusua has parrot as its totem- representing their eloquence and frankness

*2. Abroadze Ebusua (Fante), is known in Akuapem/Asante Twi as Aduana or Aborade. The Aduana/Abroaze Abusua has dog (otwea or kraman) as its totem which symbolises humility and friendliness.

3. Historically speaking, all these families, including other Akan Abusua/Ebusua, such as Asakyiri (Fante- Anona), Asenie (Fante- Atwafo), Asona (Fante- Nsunafo or Dumana), Bretuo ne Tena (Fante- Twidanfo), Ekuona Abusua (Fante- Kwonnafo) and not least, Oyokuo (Fante- Yokofo or Dehyena), according to Baafuor Ossei-Akoto, until their migration from their original state in Adanse- in the present day Ashanti Region, to their present location across Ghana, were living together as one Akan Abusua or family.

Compiled By The JusticeGhana/SamaritanProject


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