In our series of letters from African writers, Ghana’s Elizabeth Ohene writes that George Floyd, whose killing has sparked a global debate about race relations, has been immortalized in the West African state that was central to the transatlantic slave trade.

We do funerals well here in Ghana. When it comes to the rituals, music, clothes, and ceremonies that accompany them, I can safely say that nobody does them better.

As I watched the funeral of George Floyd on television, I needed no reminding that most African-Americans can trace their origins to West Africa and grand funerals come easily to them. Or they have had to organize these painful funerals of their people so regularly that they have become well practised.

A man holds his hand up in solidarity as the remains of George Floyd are brought by horse-drawn carriage in a funeral procession to Houston Memorial Gardens Cemetery for burial on June 9, 2020 in Pearland, Texas
Image caption George Floyd’s death in police custody has galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement

During the Houston funeral on Tuesday, there was a reference to the message of condolence sent to Mr Floyd’s family by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo.

It was also mentioned that at the president’s request, Mr Floyd’s name had been permanently mounted on the wall of the Diasporan African Forum at the W.E.B. Du Bois Centre in Ghana’s capital, Accra.

This was done at a moving ceremony, organized by the Ghana Tourism Authority last week, in memory of Mr. Floyd, who was killed on a street in Minnesota when a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.


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