Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-AddoNana Akufo Addo’s recent comment ‘all die be die’ shows remarkable depths of philosophical thought that most popular commentators have failed to latch on to. I suggest that the uproar that met his use of this phrase may perhaps be due to an unconscious rejection of its underlying assumptions.

What interests me is the suggestion of a hidden atheist and existentialist philosophical thought in that statement. Is Addo a

closet atheist?

A friend sent me this Akan dirge which was even less cryptic than ‘all die be die’. It needed little philosophical interpretation to lay out its atheistic meaning and point me to the possibility that Ghanaian culture ‘originally’ didn’t believe in life after death.

“Owuaa na sa, owuaa na sa” x2
“Onipa eee woye dieben? Onipa eee woye dieben? Onipa eee woye dieben?”
“Owuaa na sa!”


“When you die it is finished”
“What is man”
“When you die it is finished”

Why hadn’t I chanced on this earlier? Did I erroneously think that every Ghanaian believed in the after-life as described in the bible?

Addo’s existentialism – death is just death and no more – follows in the tradition of this Akan song. It suggests an atheist rejection of an after-life – no heaven, hell or judgment.

to clarify my point. The statement appears to suggest that all deaths are equal. A position consistent with an existential viewpoint. But christians are taught that all deaths are not equal because the state you die is the deciding factor whether you enter heaven. Hence my assertion that there is another layer of meaning behind his statement. True? Only you can judge!

Thanks to Bright Owusu-Konadu for suggesting this topic and helping with the article.