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18.06.2020 Opinion

The Etymology Of "Ofiri" (To People Living With Albenism)

By Jeffery Nana Boahen
The Etymology Of
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I watched an interview on Angel Fm between my favorite news anchor, Kofi Adomah Nwanwani and the General Secretary to people living with Albenism.

The General Secretary of the Individuals living with Albenism registered his displeasure on not being happy with the name *Ofiri* because it's used derogatorily.

I would want to before unraveling the etymology of the word *Ofiri* use this opportunity to plead with all manner of people to desist from using people living with Albenism for all manner of rituals because the idea of them being Ritually active is neither here nor there.

The word *Ofiri* I may not be able to force them to accept, I only have the duty to help them understand it's not derogatorily used as assumed but it has been transferred via language unto us though it is not originally a Twi word.

In the year *1835*, Rev. Joseph Dunwell established the Methodist Church Ghana on the shore of Cape Coast.

The need to open more branches of the Methodist Church, Ghana lead to the traveling of one Rev. Thomas B. Freeman into the interior; that's Asante.

The journey of T.B Freeman was captured in the book entitled *Mission From Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee* written by Thomas Edward Bowdich who travelled together with T.B Freeman.

It must however be noted that, Freeman could not write an account on the journey but his colleague journeyer did. Freeman had no knowledge on how to read and write.

According to the account, when they got to the border of Asante, that is Adanseman, they were imprisoned a while until the Asantehene Osei Tutu got time to meet them at his palace.

This meeting reminds me of what the Asantehene Osei Tutu Kwame (Bonsu Panin) said when he was informed by Freeman the idea of establishing a church in Kumasi.

*''God in his own wisdom gave unto you the Bible, unto the Mohammedians he gave another book and to us he gave the fetish"*

After several pursuation, Methodist Church was finally allowed to operate in Kumase.

This was as a result of the tremendous achievement of Rev. Freeman who many described as linguistically inept.

Freeman was a person living with Albenism and it must however be noted that, blacks are having the lowest number of persons living with Albenism as compared to the Whites.

Fellow inhabitants of the Gold Coast began calling all people living with Albenism "Fri" in an attempt to mention "Free-man".

Freeman was a noble man and the first white to be seen with such condition on the shores of the coast.

TB Freeman lived nobly and it might not be wrong however people living with Albenism are called after him.

I will therefore entreat all Persons with Albenism to walk with their heads up and smile whenever and wherever.

Long live Ghana

Jeffery Nana Boahen

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