In the last six weeks, Winneba has witnessed massive football festival organized by Winneba United to honor an unknown hero, Mr. R. C. Ekem, the Managing Director of Ekem Art Pottery Ltd, Winneba.
Mr. Ekem, once upon a time, was a lifeline to many individuals and organizations in Winneba.
Born to the late Madam Sarah Anderson, and the late Richard Ekem, he completed Christian Methodist School in Accra in 1964, graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 1970.
He later obtained certificate from the Haggai Institute � Singapore, and did his internship at the Warford Bridge Pottery, UK.
Mr. R. C. Ekem started life as a Tutor at Christian Methodist School in 1964, in Accra. In 1970, he was employed as an Art Tutor with the then Specialist Training College (now University of Education, Winneba).
In 1977, he founded the Ekem Art Studio, which he later transformed into Ekem Art Pottery. Currently, he is focusing on designing and producing Clean Efficient Cookstoves and Crucibles.
Mr. Ekem is married to Mrs Charlotte Ekem, and has four children; Philip, Samuel, Elsie and Richard.
A proud Methodist in whose house the St Paul�s Methodist Church was started, Mr. Ekem served many roles in the church including serving as the Diocesan Treasurer at the Winneba Diocese of the Methodist Church.
He was the first president of the Winneba Chapter of the Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship International, a member of the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translations (GILLBT), a member of the board of Boamponsem Secondary School, and a member of the Management Board of the Winneba National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI).
You might not have heard the name R. C. Ekem. But that is exactly the reason why we are honoring this humble, generous man, and that is exactly the reason we are inviting you to be at the Winneba United park, to grace this occasion, because though he has done great things, he is never known, never acknowledged, and never seek glory, and those are the people Winneba United stand for � invisible people, unsung people, people with greatness inside of them but who face mounting life challenges in their quest to succeed.
Mr. R. C. Ekem was not one of the richest in Winneba, and for that matter in Ghana, yet he made many people rich. Currently he has arguably the longest surviving business in Winneba � nearly 40 years of the pottery business.
He has had great impact on thousands of individuals and organizations. He has impacted on Hairdressers, Tailors, Carpenters, schools, churches, women, children, the sick, the orphan, and the rich have taken from him too!
At one point he was arguably the number one individual every single need in Winneba was directed at � education sponsorship, program sponsorship, medical bills, employment, sports, and the list can get longer and longer.
Mr. Ekem did not have much, but he gave a lot!
I completed Winneba Secondary School in 1994. Two months later, Mr. Ekem offered me a job in his company, as an Accounts Clerk, handling payroll, petty cash, and internal payments.
Two years of working with Ekem Art Pottery made me know him - his humility, and generosity. He was a man of few � very few � words, but a man of many steps, many acts, many actions, and many doings. This man gave! He gave his money.
He gave his facilities for public good. More importantly he gave himself!
Today Mr. Ekem is officially on retirement. He is 74. He still works; he is still physically very strong and active, active at work, and in church. But I imagine he is no longer able to give as much as he used to.
This Sunday, the climax of the football competition will come off on Winneba United park, in Sankor, Winneba.
The host team, Winneba United, will play Sun City fc of Accra, in the grand finale of the six-team tournament which has attracted thousands of spectators every week to the park.
Winneba United takes its root from Challenging Heights. Challenging Heights is a development organization founded ten years ago to support the education of vulnerable children, and women, in Ghana, especially in communities affected by child trafficking. Since its inception, Challenging Heights has rescued hundreds of children from slavery in Ghana.
In the year 2014, the Board of Challenging Heights decided to separate its football program from its core programs.
Football, though seen as important tool for the eradication of poverty and child slavery, the program was getting bigger than the organization could afford, hence the need to allow it to be run by a different grass root group, and that is why Winneba United was formed.
At the beginning of this year, Winneba United decided, as part of its grass root mobilization strategy, to identify specific individuals and cultural issues around which the community could rally for development.
We looked for unsung legend, a person who has contributed to the development of Winneba in multifaceted ways, and somebody who could best be presented as a role model to the youth. We found in Mr. Ekem the role model we looked for.
People who believe in humanity give out of what they have, and give out of what they do not have, to people in need. It requires a lot of sacrifice to be a giver.
Sometimes givers give, not because they have too much, but because they have faith and conviction. Mr. Ekem is an epitome of human selflessness, a gift to human faith, a human in himself, but a giant in his spirit.
My company, Run-OFF Ltd, the operators of Run-Off restaurant at Winneba Junction, is the main sponsor of the R. C. Ekem Cup. My non-profit, Challenging Heights, is also supporting the tournament in kind.
If you want more information on Winneba United, you may visit www.winnebaunited.org, or follow us on Facebook or twitter.
To you Mr. R. C. Ekem: You are truly inspirational. You are truly a gift. You are an unsung living legend, and you are worth celebrating.
I speak on behalf of the many who lived because you gave. I speak on behalf of the many who became educated because you gave.
I speak on behalf of the many children who got fed because you made yourself a vessel. I speak for myself, that I was able to go to the university as a result of saving from the salaries you paid me.
I speak on my own behalf because at one point you helped me pay my mother�s medical bills. I speak for the dead and the living, that you have paid your due.
Thank you sir!
James Kofi Annan
(A former worker, Ekem Art Pottery Ltd, Winneba)
Source: James Kofi Annan/ email: [email protected]
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