God was his Rock in the waves

TO A FIRST-TIME visitor to Ghana from more secular Europe, Accra brims with overt religious sentiment. Most of the tro-tros (transit vans) and taxis transporting folk around the city have some kind of religious message lettered on their front or rear windows. Among those I saw on a Monday afternoon drive with Emmanuel Adjaye were "Thank you, Lord," "Holy Ghost," "Fear not," and "The Lord is my Shepherd."

Emmanuel Adjaye embodies these sentiments. As a freelance delivery person in Accra, fellow drivers have nicknamed him "Kaa worry," a mixture of the Ga language and English, meaning "Don't worry!" He has a way of calming people with his confidence in God's control.

It wasn't always like that for Emmanuel. As a young police transport mechanic, he was transferred to the household of Ghana's first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. As with all household staff at that point in Ghana's post-colonial era, Emmanuel was trained in Soviet Russia to serve as a part of the president's security detail. (During the Cold War era of the 1960s, many newly liberated African states sided with one of the two superpowers, the USA or the USSR.) Following a 1966 coup, Nkrumah's whole entourage, including Emmanuel, was imprisoned and subjected to torture.

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October 31, 2005

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