World leaders and royalty gather at the country home of the late United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan to pay their respects to one of Africa’s most famous diplomats, as his funeral is conducted in Ghana.
It is the climax of three days of mourning which saw thousands of Ghanaians file past his coffin as the former UN scribe lie in state in the capital, Accra.
The former UN Secretary General died on August 18,2018 in Switzerland at age 80.
Kofi Annan was the first black African to hold the position of UN Secretary General from 1997 to 2006.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for helping to revitalise the international body, during a period that coincided with the Iraq War and the HIV/Aids pandemic.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who spoke at the funeral, described Annan was an exceptional leader who saw the UN as a force for good.
His words: “As we face the headwinds of our troubled and turbulent times, let us always be inspired by the legacy of Kofi Annan. Our world needs it now more than ever,”
Mourners in traditional black and red attire filled the main hall of the Accra Conference Centre, which sits about 4,000 people. More are watching proceedings on a giant screen in an auditorium just outside the hall.
There have been hymns and a performance by soprano and human rights campaigner Barbara Hendricks.
Annan’s nephew Kojo Amoo-Gottfried read a eulogy, describing how he had led a hunger strike in his secondary school to protest against the quality of food in the dining hall.
There were also a moving tribute by his wife, Swedish lawyer and artist Nane Maria Annan. She described how her husband was always excited to return home, and thanked Ghana for giving the world such an extraordinary man.
She said her husband had an irresistible aura of radiant warmth.
“His legacy would live on through his foundation and through all of us,” she concluded.