Today would have been my grandfather’s 91st birthday if he was still alive.
There’s a whole area in Accra that would otherwise not have its name if it were not for my granddad – that is ABC junction. Every day I sit on a trotro on the Nsawam Road, they call out “ABC? ABC wo mmu?” and it’s a reminder of my granddaddy. It is called ABC after the Achimota Brewery Company (now GGBL Guinness Ghana) which acquired its name after the government took it, in 1979, from my grandfather who had actually called it Tata Brewery Company, after his mother.
Few people know the true extent of his rags to riches story. The short version is that he was a cocoa farmer’s son, who had to work on the farm to put himself through school and after hustling and hustling created one of the largest indigenously-owned businesses in Ghana, with expansion plans for Liberia.
When I told my grandmother that this day was coming up she began sharing so many funny and interesting things about my grandfather, like the fact that he had wanted 50 children (these are the ambitions of a man who doesn’t need to go through hours of labour for each child) and the fact that when he first met her he didn’t have an entirely stable job. NOTE TO ALL YOU LADIES OUT THERE.
If you’ve ever been in an English lesson with me, sometime through my educational career you’ll know that my grandfather is hands-down my number 1 inspiration. I doubt I would have such an affinity to Ghana or interest in politics if it were not for him. I never got to meet him but I often meet people here in Ghana and in the UK who talk with such admiration for him and I can’t help but feel proud at what a little boy from Kwahu is capable of.
“With due care and consideration, troubles become the play toys of men with the will to do and dare” – J. K. Siaw