Jerry John Rawlings
The late Jerry John Rawlings

Like many Ghanaians, veteran entertainers were devastated to hear of the passing of former president Jerry John Rawlings.

Speaking on Showbiz A to Z on Joy FM, many of them said they had fond memories of the man who supported the creative arts with all he could.

Chairman of the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO), Rex Omar, revealed he was on his way to Kumasi with other creatives when the news broke.

“We were confused and in shock. We just sat down and did not know what to do,” he told George Quaye.

Rex Omar said he will be indebted to the former President for many of his inventions in the arts sector.

“One thing a lot of people don’t know is that apart from building the cultural centres in the regions he (Rawlings) actually, through the centres, organised concerts and the state was paying musicians to perform,” he said.

The GHAMRO chairman revealed he was discovered through one of those initiatives.


Also on the show, radio presenter Ken Addy, who said he was sad to hear the news, stated that the coup Mr Rawlings staged affected musicians and creatives because “night lives were curtailed.”

However, he was impressed with the former president when he used numerous avenues and interventions to revive the arts sector.

Mr Rawlings refurbished theatres and arts centers, Mr Addy said adding that “he was a man you could see love the Creative Arts and it showed sometimes in the way he reacted at concerts and praised musicians.”

Former Deputy Minister of Tourism, Dzifa Gomashie, also told George Quaye the former President needs to be applauded for all the strides he made in the art sector.

She stated that in the 1980s Mr Rawlings facilitated the building of art centres including the National Theatre that has given birth to many of Ghana’s talents.

“For me his understanding and appreciation for our culture and ways in which he promoted it needs to be celebrated. I appreciate him for those interventions,” Miss Gomashie said.

Also on the show, a former member of Nakorex, Akosua Agyepong said she broke down in tears when she heard of the passing while at her restaurant at Rawlings Park.

“We have lost a great man. Our mountain has fallen,” she said.