Mr Albert Acquah (a.k.a. Opanin Kwadwo Mensah) and his wife, Mrs Mercy Acquah (a.k.a. Obaapanin Akosua Buor), both of blessed memory, already had a daughter and two sons by the middle of 1931. As devout Christians that they were, they seemed to be content with them as their only children.
However, their farming activities demanded increased hands, preferably men, to assist them. They therefore prayed to God for at least two more boys and on 19th June, 1932 God granted their wishes when Kwasi Fosu was born, followed by Benjamin Kofi Agyei on 23rd April 1937.
The Late Opanin Kwadwo Mensah was already noted for delving deep into the Old Testament for names for his children during their christening. He already had Sarah, Seth, Emmanuel, and Ephraim for his older children and finally Benjamin (last born, in keeping with the Old Testament Biblical names).
Kofi Agyei would in his early years join his parents in their farming cottage at Fawtowe – a village situated a couple of miles from Konongo, and walk to school in Konongo, a busy fledging cosmopolitan community set in the midst of a mining concession.
The temptation to join the “mining train” was great, as it offered tons of financial opportunities to young men transforming from their teens into adulthood and which denied them basic education. Opanin Kwadwo Mensah however, insisted on his children pursuing their education and therefore registered young Benjamin in the local Methodist Primary School.
Benjamin used the Accra-Kumasi rail tracks, which passed close to the family’s farming cottage at Fawtowe, as his route to attend school in Konongo. Benjamin’s maternal grandmother, Obaapanin Akosua Afrakoma of blessed memory, noticed how dangerous this was for Kwasi and Kofi Agyei to be commuting to school from the village and pleaded with their parents to permit them to stay at her house in Konongo during the weekdays and return to the farm over weekends. This arrangement continued until they finished elementary school.
Benjamin started his secondary school education at the then “Asante Youth Association” (AYA) school – later to be known as “Asanteman Secondary School” in Kumasi in 1960 but later left for the Odorgonnor Secondary School in Accra, where he stayed with his older brother Seth, in the Railway Quarters.
Young Benjamin initially had an interest to become a Professional Boxer, but his father would not permit this so Kofi was left in a limbo after completing secondary school.
He worked briefly at the “Kingsway Stores” in Accra after his secondary education during which period he met his wife Agartha Yaa Agyapomaa and got married within the shortest courting period of the time – 3 months i.e. 4th February 1967.
In 1969 he left the shores of Ghana for The United States of America. A year later his wife Agatha joined him in America and they were blessed with two children, Seth 1972, and Gloria Afrakoma 1974, both born in Brooklyn in New York. They returned to Ghana in 1979, but due to the economic hardship and instability in Ghana he again sought green pastures and left for Dusseldorf in Germany in 1980. In 1983 they had a third child Benjamin Junior born in Dusseldorf Germany,
In 1984 he returned to Ghana with his family.
He visited family in Nottingham in the United Kingdom in 1979.
However, in 1988 he again left Ghana for The United States of America and by 1996 the whole family was reunited back in America. He left New York for Ohio in 1998 where he stayed until 2006, then moved to Arizona, returning to New York in 2013.
He worked tirelessly to support his family not forgetting his roots. He worked as a Ambulant in the Medical Services, transporting and Supporting Patients as well as a Cab Driver around the famous streets of New York.
Unfortunately, Benjamin was dogged by ill health for a number of years and has been housebound, being cared for by his loving family. During this time, he mentioned having had a son just before leaving the shores of Ghana. Benjamin Junior and his siblings worked hard to trace their father’s lost son to bring him back to the fold.
In 2017 he became reunited with his lost son Nicholas. They stayed in touch until Benjamin was called to glory.
Although Benjamin was immobilized his memory was as sharp as ever, he tried his best to keep in contact with all his family outside of America with the help of technology with video calls.
He envisaged returning to his homeland Ghana but due to his ill health it was not to be.
On Tuesday 28th June 2022 he was called home to glory.
He is survived by his wife Agartha, four children, Nicholas, Seth, Gloria Afrakoma, Benjamin Junior and thirteen (13) grandchildren, Crystal, Felicia, Comfort, Evelyn, Benjamin1, Sierra, Ethan, Albert, Kelsey, Seth Jnr, David, Ashley and David Adarkwah.
BENJAMIN KOFI AGYEI ACQUAH, Rest in Perfect Peace.
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