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29.08.2005 Diaspora News

Alero "Woman 7" Olympio passes away

Audrey Quaye

It is with profound sadness, a deep and overwhelming sense of loss, and a very heavy heart that I announce the recent passing of Old Achimotan Alero Olympio. Alero Olympio passed away in Edinburgh, Scotland last week. She was 46 and had battled with cancer for the last 6 years. Her cremation service will be in Edinburgh, Scotland on Wednesday, August 31st, 2005.

Alero was a brilliant and talented architect who was based in Edinburgh, Scotland, and also practiced extensively in Ghana. She had gained international acclaim for her body of work, and was particularly known for her use of laterite as a building material. Her work included the design and construction of adobe style buildings using local woods, stones and laterite. She often gave lectures on her architectural philosophy and the use of local materials. In addition to her architectural work, Alero also used her artistic skills to help market a soap called "Black Palm", which is produced by the women of Kukurantumi, a village located west of Kumasi.

According to Dr. Danilo Asase the last time he saw Alero was in Accra in April of this year. He stated that "she continued with her many projects, despite undergoing continued chemotherapy with grace and quiet courage. She was so excited and animated about the solar powered hotel she was building in Accra".

Alero was a very beautiful woman who had an outgoing and very likable personality, an irresistible charm, and a great sense of humor. She was active in sports at Achimota and played in the 1970s all-girls band, "Woman 7", which included Akoras Anna Bossman (Acting Commissioner of CHRAJ), Wendy Addae, Suzette Ayensu, the late Akosua Kwarteng, and Rowena Acquah.

In 1970, she co-authored a book titled "Akosua in Brazil" about a seven-year-old Ghanaian girl who visits Brazil on a holiday. Incidentally, the Olympio family are part of the Afro-Brazilians who left Brazil and settled in West Africa. Alero is the daughter of the late Mr. Bonito Olympio, an Accra businessman and owner of the popular Vanoly Bakery, who is the son of the late President Sylvanus Olympio, former President of the Republic of Togo.