Musicians, including highlife singer Kofi Kinaata, dancehall artist Samini and Afrobeats star Davido, are among the many sympathizers who took to social media to mourn the passing of Ghana’s former president Jerry John Rawlings.
Rawlings died after a short illness on Thursday, according to a statement(link is external) by his family. He was 73.
A towering political figure and a former military leader, Rawlings was Ghana’s first president of the Fourth Republic, having won the 1992 general election on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress. After leaving office in 2001, he remained a prominent statesman and served as the African Union envoy to Somalia until his death.
“RIP Former President Jerry John Rawlings”, Kofi Kinaata tweeted. “Ghana will forever remember you, great man,” dancehall singer Samini said, while producer Killbeatz noted that the country would forever be indebted to the late politician. Nigeria’s Davido also took to social media to express his condolence. “RIP Jerry Rawlings,” he posted.
Ghanaian media mogul and music promoter Bola Ray said: “Life is transient, let’s be there for one another. Rest well, commander.”
Ovation Media Group chairperson Chief Dele Momodu said: “Africa has lost one of her greatest heroes former President Jerry John Rawlings. He was my personal inspiration. May his soul rest in peace.”
Former PRESIDENT JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS was our big Brother who felt totally at home with us and poured out his heart to Ovation International and we loved him unconditionally… PAPA J, may your soul Rest in Peace Sir… pic.twitter.com/OaHQm9dZrH
— Dele Momodu Ovation (@DeleMomodu) November 12, 2020
“This truly is a sad day, a sad day indeed. We’ve lost a true Ghanaian hero,” rapper E.L, who named a single after Rawlings in June, said.
Rawlings was the subject of multiple references in Ghanaian popular music. Apart from EL, several other Ghanaian musicians have employed Rawlings’ name in their songs as a device to symbolise defiance and determination, including Shatta Wale on 2013’s ‘Everybody Like My Tin’ and rapper C-Real on ‘This Be Ghana’, off his 2014 mixtape The Reigning Season.
Meanwhile, President Nana Akufo-Addo has declared seven days of mourning in the wake of Rawlings’ death and directed that all national flags fly at half-mast.
“I convey the deep sympathies of government and the people of Ghana to his wife, the former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the children and the family of the late president, in these difficult times,” he said.