Diasporian News of Friday, 7 September 2012
Source: Eddie-Quartey, Hadzide and Buckman.
Nii Lante Okunka Blebodzan I, aka Mr. Ebenezer Lamptey, and affectionately known as: Paa Lante, is the first Chief (Mantse) of the GaDangme community in Chicago. He was installed in 1987 and inaugurated on June 8 2002.Nii Lante served with distinction until 2006.
Together with Mr. A. C. Eddie-Quartey, Mr. O. Sowah Botchway, the late Mr. John Bruce-Amartey, the late Mr. Sam Owoo-Batlett all of the Ghana-Chicago Club (GCC),Nii Lante helped in the establishment of the GaDangme Community Organization of Chicago (GACO) in 1995.
Nii Lante’s installation in 1987 coincided with the celebration of the august GaDangme Homowo Festival at Jackson Park in Chicago for the first time, organized by the GCC.
Nii Lante and then Queen-Mother Naa Aku Shika I and their entourage sat in state amid pomp and pageantry and welcomed guests and celebrants to the Festival.
That Homowo celebration eventually evolved into GHANA FEST, the most spectacular and largest Ghanaian or any African annual cultural festival in the Disapora.
Nii Lante in his active and healthy days, hosted his countrymen/women at his store, a gathering place, and the first of its kind then, on the Southside of Chicago.He treated them to Kenkey, fried fish,"shittor" and other cuisine he cooked himself, with lots of beer and other beverages. This socialization helped to ease the stress on the patrons and promoted bonding in the social fabric of the Ghanaian community. Nii Lante is passionately involved in and committed to the cause of the GaDangme International (GDI), a Diasporan organization aimed at contributing to the socio-economic development of the GaDangme Region in Ghana. He attended many GDI conferences in North America. He also participated as Chief (Mantse) in the many functions held between the GaDangme Foundation of Chicago (GDFC), a charitable organization of which he is a member, and the great Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC), whose former Pastor is The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. and the former church of President Barack Obama. Nii Lante frequently attended Ghanaian community activities and events to celebrate birth, death, marriage, etc. He was one of the first Ghanaian honorary chiefs to grace the first ever Kente show at the popular Field Museum in Chicago. He is a founding member of the Chicago Ghana House of Chiefs. Nii Lante was taken ill in 2007 after a surgical procedure and survived many critical life-threatening situations from which he has never fully recovered since. The prayers of our community are with him and his family. The Ga-Dangme Community Organization, the Ghana Chicago Club, the Ghana National Council and the entire Ghanaian Community have set aside September 29, 2012, as a day to honor and appreciate Nii Lante's hard work and dedication to our community. The event is scheduled at the 83rd and Ellis community center, from 9p.m to 3 a.m. Please mark your calendar and come and honor one of our heroes and pioneers that brought our community together. Come one come all.
To view activities in the Ghanaian Community, please visit ghananationalcouncill.org
Source: A. C. Eddie-Quartey, Reuben Hadzide and Frederica Buckman.