Attending the public funeral service for the Late President Mills of Ghana was quite the experience. It was unlike any funeral or observation I’d ever seen or attended. From where I was seated, I would have to say that portions of it resembled a rock music festival and a tractor trailer pull. There were drummers from different tribes playing throughout the day. Vendors were going up and down the isles selling Mentos and various other snacks along with memorial pictures, pins, calendars and whatever else you could think of. The crowd would roar when the motorcycle police started doing tricks in the plaza between escorts of foreign dignitaries, which included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was pretty chaotic. We had heard that the gates were going to close at 7:30am to Black Star Plaza where the service was being held, so we headed out around 6am and arrived around 7am to make sure we would get a seat. Things didn’t get started until close to 11am.
When the program started, we couldn’t hear a word anyone was saying due to the lousy speaker system that looked like they dated back to the 50’s. The smart ones had their radios on and were listening to every word. Most sat quietly waiting for activity in the plaza while others socialized and went after free funeral swag that included a Mills bandana, Ghanaian flag and a memorial program. I went mostly to observe, but couldn’t help myself in taking some photos. Since I didn’t have a press pass, I thought I’d have a little fun and see what I could drum up. For the most part, the people were really warm to us. I think they appreciated that we were there with them to pay our respects.
All Photos © Sung Park 2012