Remembering King Tackie Tawiah
III, a man, a giant and a royal
E. Ablorh-Odjidja, Ghanadot
I have always admired Dr. Blankson since I first met
him in the early 70s. He was every inch a leader,
except I was blind to the fact back then that one
day he would be king of the Gas - King Takie Tawiah
The then Dr Blankson never bragged about his
bloodline to the circle of friends we shared.
Rather, he struck me as a very humble man in his
inclination to serve his fellow man.
The future king at this early stage impacted, in
diverse and very positive ways, communities of
Ghanaians in the Diaspora, especially those in the
New York City area. He travelled all over North
America answering calls to officiate at
“out-doorings” and other ceremonies of tradition for
Ghanaian families in need. He was the genial,
resourceful and helpful gentleman with that natural
aura that set one apart in a crowd.
Dr. Alfred Clayton Bannerman, a friend and a
contemporary in the US once said of Dr. Joe Blankson
that “he was a man who had culture running as blood
in his veins.”
In 2005, I visited Ghana from the US. The man who
would be King (and his wife Lady Faustina) had
invited me to dinner. Much to my surprise on arrival
at his house, I saw a string of beads on his wrist.
He was still Dr. Blankson back then; a man of
culture and an intellectual whom I knew was not
prone to empty symbolism. I knew instantly that the
string on his wrist had a purpose. I was told later
that the process for his enstoolment as the Ga
Mantse had begun.
Suddenly it dawned on me that Dr. Blankson had been
a king in the Diaspora all along. The veil that
blinded me from seeing the full worth of the man
dropped. What had seemed opaque was now clear on
account of those little beads on his wrist.
The mild mannered Dr. Joe Blankson, now late King
Takie Tawia III, was a leader who for a frown would
choose to wear a smile. But the visceral toughness
in him was always there and could respond at
critical times as answer to appropriate situations.
But more so than the smile and the toughness, there
was that combination of street smarts, eloquence,
sharp intellect and the calm manner approach to
things that assured the worrier that all would be
The nation and the Ga state have lost a great
leader. Death has robbed us of a man, King Takie
Tawia III, who had the temperament and all the
qualities of a philosopher king.
King Takie Tawia III enstoolment was in 2006. A
chance encounter brought us together in December
2008. The occasion was the opening of the new
presidential palace. I had gone with a crew to cover
the event for use in a documentary film I was
producing on the subject of the presidency of Mr J.
A. Kufuor and his consequential transition from
office in 2009.
The king was at the event in full regalia. I asked
his linguist permission to approach him. When the
word got to him, he looked in my direction and
flashed an instant recognition. He motioned for me
to come to him. He was the king but still the same
affable Joe that I knew.
The king, at my request, rewarded me with an
impromptu speech on camera right there at the
Presidential Palace. The clip can be seen in the
President Kufuor, A New Face for Africa.
Later, I visited the king at the Ga Manste palace at
Kaneshie. I took the opportunity to request his
guidance and help in an intended production of a
documentary on “Chieftaincy in Ghana through the
years”. I followed that visit with one interview of
the king on camera and another for coverage of a
traditional event at the stool house. There was the
promise of more such filming to come.
I returned last year, hoping to continue filming,
but I was to learn to my regret that King Tackie
Tawiah III was gone after a protracted illness. He
had gone to the land of the ancestors. The memory of
him, though, would long remain among many of us who
were with him in New York - a brilliant, kind man
and a gentleman who was born to serve as king.
I wish to repeat here the same words of good will
that he, King Takie Tawiah III, said for a departed
soul to wish him well also:
“Our prayer is that the promise of God for
eternal rest will be granted ….., just as it is
hoped that the earth would rest with deference upon
the remains of this soul of merit.”
On behalf of the many mutual friends we shared back
in the 70s – Dr. Alfred Bannerman, H. E. Kobina
Annan, Winston Davis, Edward and Victor Adom,
Rudolph Dodd, Dr Clarence Addo Yobo and all their
families – I say farewell to you King TakieTawiah
May God your creator give you eternal rest and
Emerging Media Institute, Accra, Ghana
May 04, 2013