Tribute: Kate Bannerman-Lartey 1949-2017

Kate Bannerman-Lartey
Kate Bannerman-Lartey of blessed memory: 1949-2017

Kate Bannerman-Lartey of blessed memory is the mother of Oral Ofori, Founder of #TheAfricanDreamLLC. Below is a brief bio of her and a tribute put together by her children and loved ones. Mr. Ofori read the tribute at her funeral service in Ghana held August 5, 2017, at the Mount Calvary Cross Ministry Church of Odorkor, Accra. She was interred at the Osu Cemetary in Accra after the memorial service that day. May her soul Rest In Peace.

Biography of Kate Bannerman-Lartey by family

Kate Bannerman-Lartey (affectionately known by family and friends as Auntie Kate), was the daughter of Joseph Blankson-Lartey and Elizabeth Asiedua-Lartey, both of blessed memory.

She was born Friday, August 26, 1949, during the Gold Coast era. Other names by which Auntie Kate was known are Aanye, Ameley, and Abla Kate. She was named after her grandmother – Madam Kate Abla Bannerman of blessed memory – herself a very brave lady.

Auntie Kate was born at Osu Ako-Adjei, in the Greater Accra region of Ghana, she started her formal education at the Roman Catholic School there through the late 1950’s. She lived in Ako-Adjei until the early 1960’s when her family moved to the newly developing port city of Tema, just a little over an hour away from where she was born.

Soon after arriving in Tema, she was enrolled by her mother into the Oninku Drive Middle School at Community 1. A few decades down the line she will grow up to eventually move into her house in Tema Community 8 where she became a homemaker and raised all her children while courageously guiding her siblings after the death of their mother.

She was a very giving person and easily gave whatever she had to her siblings and loved ones without thinking twice about it as a young woman. Besides giving, she also encouraged people to work at becoming subsistent. As her way of giving back to society Auntie Kate mentored and played surrogate-mother to a lot of young children and adults, teaching them to attain independence.

Another thing she was well known for was her entrepreneurial spirit. In the 2000’s she started a fish trading business at the Tema Harbour. As a result of her great human relationship and patience, she was able to help many of the women gain employment through her business at the harbor. She carried on her work there till June 2017 when she decided to spend more time with her great-grandchildren.

The need for a staunch relationship with God was very important for Auntie Kate, for this reason, she also dedicated her life to playing active roles in whatever church she found herself, including the Mount Calvary Cross Ministry (MCCM) Church in Odorkor, Accra, where she was very instrumental. Her relocation to Ashaiman-Lebanon after building a house for her children helped her also become pivotal in her service to MCCM as she became a founding member of their branch there. She served actively for over 13 years until her demise in 2017.

Auntie Kate was very passionate about youth development at the MCCM and ensured that most of the young members that were of school going ages pursued their education to the highest level possible. Those who were out of school were also urged by her to return to formal education and those that were interested in pursuing vocations saw themselves being positively pushed into that area by her.

Auntie Kate welcomed her first grandchild in the 1980’s. In all, she left behind a total of 11 grandchildren, they are Gifty, Sonia, Cornelia, Christabel, Joel, Alexandra, Paul, Akua, Katherine, Joseph, and Taylor respectively. Through her grandchildren, she had 4 great-grandchildren whose names are Marvin, Jack-Ben, Lord-Ben and Edmund David. Because of her big heart. Three other children were literally embraced into her home and many others see Auntie Kate as their mother unto this day.

It was always important that people dear to her preserve their happy memories in life and to comfort and support each other. It is exactly what she did all her life as she went about giving thanks to God and saying “Shidaa Aha Yehowa”, a phrase that she became known for repeatedly uttering – it means “Give thanks to God”.

Family was very dear to her and she always made it a point to punctually attend family meetings convened whenever she could.

However, little did we know that she was going to leave the family and join her maker when she fell ill briefly and passed away on Sunday, July 16, 2017, at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra. She was 67.

These are the siblings she left behind: the Omarboe’s are Norley, Winston, Victor, and Norkai. The Lartey’s are Margaret, Benedicta, Ebenezer, Patience, Gladys, Jacob, Faustina, and Beatrice. She’s survived by four children; the oldest of which is Helen, the rest are Nancy, Oral, and Sweetie respectively.

May the Lord keep you in His arms till we meet again!

 

Kate Bannerman-Lartey Tribute By Children.

For anyone who may not know me, my name is Oral. Thank you all for coming here today to help us say goodbye to mum. I am reading this tribute to our mother on behalf of all my siblings. For some of you, she was also your mother, your sister, your auntie, your grandmother, your great-grandmother and a dear friend. She was named after her grandmother Madam Kate Abla Bannerman of blessed memory. She got some of her unique qualities from her grandmother, a strong woman who stood up to the then CPP government in the Gold Coast era even though she was a member of the Party.

Kate, meaning ‘Pure’, reflected on how she lived her life with the unending love and kindness she showed towards her children and grandchildren.

I sometimes wonder why, how and where she still found so much Love and strength in her heart for us and others. She was a true mother, a nurse, a teacher, a motivator and a friend.

Auntie Kate was what some affectionately called her, her children called her Maa, family members called her,  Abla Kate, Aaanye, Ameley, or sister Aaanye. She was always fearless, persistent, truthful and full of Love.

Whichever way her name was pronounced, it always evoked love, persistence, truth, and fearlessness. Today when you say her name in your head, remember to let it bring the great memories, the times you spent with her that made you wonder how she could be so strong and yet so gentle.

Those of you who were born in the 80’s may not know this about Auntie Kate, that growing up she wanted to be a musician, a superstar musician because of her love for music and zest for life. She also spoke fluent Yoruba by picking the language from other family members who spoke this Nigerian language when she was growing up in Accra. Out of reverence for her, I decided to name my daughter Katherine and not Kate since there will only be one Kate, but hopefully, my mother will rain blessing on all of us here who hold her dear to their hearts.

For those of us who shared very close moments with her, we know by now what we have come to identify as her national anthem or her motto for life, and it is the Ga language saying that goes, “shidaa aha Yehowa”, which simply translates into English as “give thanks to God”!

Those who knew her well,  know of her strong beliefs too. Failure was not part of her vocabulary or it was her way of telling God that: “if you’ve brought me to this point then you will have to take me to the next level in life. I don’t know how you are going to do it, but I know that you are, so here I am”!

Auntie Kate would experience pain and smile through it like a walk in the park of life. But when she was happy, she infected you with her joy. One simply couldn’t escape her positive energy.

She was that kind of a person who would tell you to let go when someone said or did something to hurt you, and yet still tell you to get up, dust yourself off and keep climbing up because sitting down and resigning to fate in her eyes was never an option.

However, on July 16, 2017, she stopped breathing. I did not think she gave up, I did not think she threw in the towel. Secretly, I just think God was tired of asking her to come join his choir since she was needed to make the Heavenly choir a little more complete because after all, Auntie Kate loved to sing anyway.

Her spirit is probably smiling at the sound of my voice and the sight of your faces, her hands probably pointing towards the skies and her voice probably beaming with the words: ‘shidaa aha Yehowa’!

Mom, thanks for teaching us all how to stand firm and keep fighting for what we believe in, and for teaching us when to let God take control. Someone once asked my mother to advise them on how they could let go of pain and anger, or fighting back when they are hurt by a situation in life.

She told the person, well, you have asked the right question but you have asked the wrong person. My mom said: “I have built my resilience in life not because I was perfect, no, I was and am still not perfect. I have just had the opportunity to learn, sometimes the very hard way, of my imperfections…”

That goes to show she was human enough to know she was imperfect, she believed in God to know that her mistakes were lessons, that how well she learns from such lessons absolutely determined how she could turn bad into good sometimes.

Today, Kate Bannerman-Lartey has made the ultimate sacrifice of all, she has lived her life to the fullest and allowed those she cared the most about, including her children and humanity, to be happy even at the expense of her well-being. Now as we gather here to mourn, please remember that she was easily contented and forgiving, so forgive her if she wronged you, because she forgave you already.

It did not take a lot to make mom happy, sometimes just a finely brewed hot tea in her gigantic teacup was enough to make her day. It was just the small and simple things that did the trick, so cry all you want now, but on the third day, rise up and go out there and make a mark on someone else’s life. Your life is only meaningful when others smile because of you.

At this moment, I don’t have regrets, none whatsoever, am just in pain, but I know at the right time, when the veil is lifted and we cross over into eternity, we will all meet each other again — in the afterlife.

Let’s just try to make sure we are on the proper side of whoever we believe to be our supreme being. For my mom, she knew her Heavenly Father is God, and God’s son is Jesus. So she’s returned home, let the great memories of her wonderful life move us on to living fulfilling lives. May she rest in peace!

May the Lord keep you in His arms till we meet again mom.

Finally, I would like to ask my siblings: Helen, Nancy, Sweetie, and anyone who cares to join, to repeat this after me: “shidaa aha Yehowa”!

In loving memory of Kate Bannerman-Lartey.

About Oral Ofori

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