The Rawlingses are arguably the most famous couple in Ghana’s contemporary political history, but the genesis of the love that has bound them together as a married couple for the past decades, has never been known to many Ghanaians until none other than former President Jerry Rawlings himself told the story on Monday.
It is a story that would see a young man convert from Catholicism to become a Protestant just for the sake of love.
Cast in the mould of the Shakespearian Romeo and Juliet love story – minus the tragic end – the love between the Rawlingses, as a couple, would blossom on the strings of music.
Few know, or could have imagined, that the man who would later – both as a Military Officer and a Civilian – lead Ghana for close to two decades, and who could shout his voice hoarse in a milieu of intense charisma when delivering his polemics and harangues, actually used that same voice, as a young man, for the more subtle endeavours of life.
At the age of 15, young Jerry Rawlings, who had been brought up as a Catholic, ditched his religion, ironically, for a religion that up till now, has no love lost between it and Catholicism – the Protestant Church – and all that was for the love of a young “beautiful girl” that got the lad smitten to bits with love and struck right through the heart by cupid’s arrow.
He would confess this himself with a tinge of nostalgia, decades later of course, when he addressed students in his home region just yesterday.
“…I was a catholic, she was a Protestant. But because I wanted to be close enough to her, I left my Catholic Church to go and join the protestant Choir. But not too long after I’d joined the Protestant choir, I don’t know what the young lady [Nana Konadu Agyemang] and her friends did wrong. They [were] kicked out by the music Teacher so I was stuck in there and I was wondering what I could also do to get kicked out”.
Rawlings said he had to slave for Konadu’s love.
“I don’t know what it is like these days but in those days, it took me close to five years to be able to hold her hands, and long after I’d joined the Air Force and became a Pilot Officer, whenever I would try to visit, I had to remove my cap and actually scrub her mother’s car before I could say hello to her”, he recalled to cheers from the young horde of students.
“…Anyways, that lady many years later, became my wife”, and thus the story ends.
Happily ever after?