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13.06.2007 General News

Coptic Orthodox Church to build Fathia Foundation

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The Coptic Orthodox Church (COC) from Egypt has applied for land in Accra and Nkroful to build a Foundation in honour of the late Madam Fathia Ritz Halim Nkrumah, wife and former first lady of Ghana.

His Grace Bishop Antonious Markos, Bishop of African Affairs of the COC, who made the announcement during the final funeral rights of the late former First Lady, noted that Madam Fathia was a true and faithful widow of Osagyefo in the Biblical sense, who dedicated her widowhood days to charity and to raising her three children at the expense of her own personal life.

He said the Fathia Foundation would therefore be dedicated to the continuation of her charity works and to issues that pertain to African unity.

Bishop Markos and four others from the COC, assisted by Arch Bishop Charles Palmer Buckle, Catholic Bishop of Accra officiated.

True to the assertion of Bishop Markos, all the five tributes by the late first lady's children, her family from Egypt, Nzemaman Council, the Convention People's Party and from the government of Ghana acknowledged Madam Fathia's sacrifice in migrating from North Africa to the West during those heady days of post-independence Ghana and her commitment to the education and well-being of children and women in Ghana.

At least four out of the five of the tributes recalled the famous "Fathia Fata Nkrumah" Kente cloth, which was symbolically designed in her honour for sacrificing her middle class life in Egypt to join the great African leader in his quest for African unity.

As Nana Addo Akuffo Addo, Ghana's Foreign Minister put it, she displayed by that single act of cross-cultural movement that she really befits the great leader, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It was not a surprise therefore that even though Fathia was originally Egyptian, her coffin was covered in colours of the Ghana flag.

Indeed, in what several onlookers described as unexpected, Nana Addo stated that "in spite of our political differences we must give honour to deserving citizens of this country who served with dedication and there is no doubt that Osagyefo and his wife Fathia were two of such."

Gamel Nkrumah, first born son of Fathia and Dr Nkrumah, described his mother as a woman of courage who in the days of the 1966 coup that overthrew his dad, "told us to fear not and that even if they shoot bullets at us the bullets will not hurt us. That single statement from our courageous mom drove off every fear in us and we have since faced life with boldness even without our dad."

The Nzemaman Council in their tribute called on all political parties in the country to bury their difference and move towards national and African Unity.

In the words of the Great Ghanaian Poet, Professor Atukwei Okai, "we are not here to mourn Fathia but to witness the unfolding of a spiritual geometry".

Prior to reading his poem he stated that "Fathia is not dead, she has only come to Ghana ahead of the African Union Conference to indicate to African leaders that she and her husband started it all and that they must ensure that the union government was a reality," he stated.

Source: GNA