A number of people including heads and representatives of diplomatic missions and international bodies and institutions accredited in South Africa have signed a book of condolence opened at the Ghana High Commission in Pretoria, in memory of former United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan.
Mr Annan, the first black African to lead the UN, serving two terms between 1997 and 2006, passed away on August 18, 2018 in Switzerland aged 80.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced a state burial for the iconic Ghanaian in Accra on September 13, this year.
Speaking to Graphic Online from Pretoria last Thursday, Ghana’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Mr George Ayisi-Boateng, said 31 people had signed the book of Condolence as of last Wednesday.
He said the diplomats who signed, hailed Mr Annan’s great work at the UN.
Mr Ayisi-Boateng said the national flag was also flying at half-mast at the High Commission as directed by President Akufo-Addo.
Meanwhile, the UN Resident representative in South Africa in collaboration with the Ghana Mission in South Africa, last Friday organised a memorial service for the late Mr Annan.
The service was attended by dignitaries including High Commissioner, Mr Ayisi-Boateng, the Executive Director of UN Women, Madam Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Minister of State at the South African Presidency, Madam Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma.
Mr Ayisi-Boateng who spoke on, “The life and work of the former Secretary General,” described him as a high-level diplomat par excellence.
“Kofi was a global influence and a force for driving peace,” he stated.
According to the African News Agency (ANA) Madam Mlambo-Ngcuka paid tribute to Mr Annan saying he had a vision and passion for Africa and worked to the very end to achieve peace on the continent.
“He literally fell with his boots on like the good peacekeeper he was,” she said.
She recalled how during the last event he attended in South Africa – centenary celebrations of Nelson Mandela – he spent time with young people on the day, despite not being in the best of health.
“That was the calibre of the man,” she said.
The Resident Coordinator for the UN in South Africa, Ms Nardos Bekele-Thomas, described the death of Mr Annan as a loss of one of humanities brightest stars.
For her part, Madam Dlamini Zuma praised Mr Annan for his ability to connect people.
“You could speak to him without fearing that you were speaking to this great giant of the world. But he also guided you and gave you advice,” she said.