Jerry John Rawlings
The late Jerry John Rawlings

A new textile print has been introduced for the funeral of former President Jerry John Rawlings.

The theme for the wax print is Odupɔn bi atutu, a Twi expression which means: ‘A big tree has fallen’.

It was designed by Tex Styles Ghana Limited, formerly Ghana Textiles Printing Company Limited, at the instance of the family of the late President.

The name of the cloth was chosen to immortalise the memory of the first President of the Fourth Republic.

The Head of Design, Premium African Textiles/Tex Styles Ghana Limited, Bismarck Adu-Asare, told the Daily Graphic in Tema that following the demise of the former President, the family contacted the company to come up with a design and name for the fabric.

With the name and the theme in perspective, Tex Styles Ghana went into action to design something to meet the family’s preference.

The concept

Mr Adu-Asare explained that everybody valued a tree, hence in trying to design the cloth after initial discussions with the family, the company settled on some elements that must necessarily appear.

They included a portrait of the late President Rawlings, with the English inscription: “A great tree has fallen,” he said.

The print has the image of a fallen big tree, with some of the leaves still on it and others flying in the air, signifying that sometimes death occurs when the deceased still has much to offer.


Mr Adu-Asare said the fabric also had the image of the favourite animal of the deceased, an eagle, flapping its wings in the air after the tree had fallen.

There is also an arc around the eagle, which the company explained signalled that nothing happened in a vacuum.

“Some will say his (Rawlings’) God has called him, while others will say his mother, who predeceased him in the same year, has called the beloved son,” Mr Adu-Asare explained.

He added: “From the artist who designed the cloth, all those leaves could also represent other leaves of other trees around the tree which is falling. This could mean the fallen tree has affected the others around it, hence we believe Rawlings’s death has affected others.”


He said the fabric came in five colour combinations — red and black, black and curry pad, black and dark brown (the typical Asante Kuntukuni colour of grey), black and black and white.

The typical Asante Kuntukuni (black and dark brown)  colour of the official family funeral fabric produced by GTP
Cloth for late former President Rawlings’ funeral.

Mr Adu-Asare said the initial quantity requested was 10,000 yards, which had been released to the family, and expressed the hope that people would appreciate the designs.

NDC version

He said apart from the designs ordered by the family, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the party founded by the former President, had also ordered another design along the same theme: Odupɔn bi atutu.

The fabric, which has the inscription: Odupɔn kɛseɛ bi atutu and its Ewe translation: Atsi gaa de mu, printed on it, is in red and black colour mix.

Another design printed by Tex Styles Ghana Limited at the request of the NDC is on the theme: ‘Papa J’, which also came in red and black colours.

Funeral event

The burial service for the late former President will be held on Wednesday, January 27.

The former President will be laid in state at the Foyer of the Accra International Conference Centre from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Monday, January 25 to Wednesday, January 27.

A mass will be held at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 26.

The burial service will take place at the Black Star Square in Accra from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, January 27.

Former President Rawlings died at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra on Thursday, November 12, 2020.