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Kofi Annan's funeral: The leaders of the world say goodbye to the former UN chief

Ashanti leaders join local chiefs, politicians and extended families to thank Kofi Annan, the Ghanaian diplomat and former secretary-general of the United Nations, who died on August 18, at the age of 80 after a brief illness, at the entrance of the Accra International Conference Center in Accra on September 12, 2018Picture copyright
AFP

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Funeral ceremonies in Ghana are usually complicated matters

World leaders and kings paid tribute to one of Africa's most famous diplomats, Kofi Annan, at his funeral in his native Ghana.

It is the culmination of three days of mourning when thousands of Ghanaians passed by their coffin when it was in the capital, Accra.

Annan died on 18 August in Switzerland at the age of 80 years.

He served as UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006, the first Black African to hold the highest diplomatic post in the world.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for contributing to the revival of the international body at a time when the Iraq war and the HIV / AIDS pandemic coincided.

Military officers guard the coffin of Kofi Annan, Ghanaian diplomat and former Secretary General of the United Nations, who died on August 18 at the age of 80 after a brief illness at the Accra International Conference Center in Accra before his funeral on September 12, 2018.Picture copyright
AFP

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Mr. Annan's body was in condition after being brought from Switzerland

At the funeral, today's UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Annan is an extraordinary leader who sees the UN as a force forever.

"As we face the headwinds of our turbulent and turbulent times, let yourself be inspired by the heritage of Kofi Annan," Guterres said.

"Our world needs it now more than ever," he added.

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"Irresistible Aura"

By Mayeni Jones, BBC News, Accra

Media playback is not supported on your device

media TitleBBC Africa looks back on the career of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Funeral guests in traditional black and red attire filled the main hall of the Accra Conference Center, which seats some 4,000 people. On a huge screen in an auditorium in front of the hall, others watch the proceedings.

There were hymns and a performance by soprano and human rights activist Barbara Hendricks.

Annan's nephew Kojo Amoo-Gottfried read a laudation and described how he conducted a hunger strike in his secondary school to protest the quality of food in the dining room.

There was also a moving tribute from his wife, the Swedish lawyer and artist Nane Maria Annan. She described how her husband was always excited to return home and thanked Ghana for giving the world such an extraordinary man.

She said her husband had an irresistible aura of radiant warmth.

"His legacy would live on through his founding and through us all," she concluded.

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A boy dances as a drummer in traditional clothing at the Accra International Conference Center, where the body of the late Kofi Annan was placed in Accra, Ghana, on September 11, 2018 in the statePicture copyright
EPA

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Drum rolls echoed through the funeral home as Ghana celebrated the life of Mr. Annan

The former Queen of the Netherlands, Princess Beatrix, and her daughter-in-law, Princess Mabel, who were close friends of Annan, were among the mourners.

The King of Ghana's Asante, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, gave Annan the title of Busumuru in 2012 to honor his role as an international diplomat.

Bustrumuru is one of the swords tied to the golden chair or throne of the monarch.

Magnificent ceremonial umbrellas of the Paramount Chiefs at Annan's funeralPicture copyright
Ayo Bello / BBC

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Ghana's traditional rulers came with magnificent ceremonial umbrellas to pay tribute to them

The Anglican bishop of Annan's hometown of Kumasi, Central Ghana, Reverend Daniel Sarfo, said: "Today, history is written in Ghana, one of our famous sons is here.

"But we are grateful that God has used him over the years to work for humanity, for peace, and now that he is here, he has finished his work."

The local bosses, politicians and extended families are waiting for Kofi Annan, the Ghanaian diplomat and former Secretary - General of the United Nations, who turned 18 on 18 August at the age of 80 after a brief illness at the entrance to the Accra International Conference Center in Accra on September 12, 2018.Picture copyright
AFP

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The Ghanaians were very proud of the achievements of Mr. Annan

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