Former President, JJ Rawlings has shared fond memories of his meeting with boxing legend Muhammad Ali when he visited Ghana in May 1964.
A statement issued by the office of the former president, said he was excited as a young student at Achimota School when Ali visited the school.
The statement which was issued on Thursday, the eve of Ali’s funeral, JJ Rawlings recalled his memory when the late boxing legend visited the Achimota School.
According to him, when Achimota School was chosen as one of the schools to be honoured by his visit, classes were stopped for two to three hours.
Former president Rawlings said he and some friends met the champion and his team in the Assembly Hall, where he recited some of his poems.
Below Is The Full Statement:
I met Muhammad Ali as a youngster when Achimota School was chosen as one of the schools to be honoured by his visit.
Classes were stopped for two to three hours. We met the champion and his team in the Assembly Hall, where he recited some of his poems. Then virtually the whole school gathered around him for a group photograph.
Ali’s visit electrified the school compound.
The next day was an exeat day and when I heard he was staying at the Ambassador Hotel on the very floor my mother was in charge of, I went there with one of my friends and we called on her to take us back to him.
We spent about half an hour with Ali and his friends.
He was eating ice cream and could hardly sit still but kept shadowboxing in the room.
Ali stimulated political consciousness. He sparked positive defiance.
While, his actions and words lifted the bar of political defiance, his unique combination of brash confidence and humility taught us the beauty, peace and strength in being true to ourselves.
He taught us to be bold and fearless in our fight for what was just. I learned from him to audaciously set my own standards.
Muhammad Ali was the undying inspiration to so many of us. He epitomised the finest and the best of our generation, the pride of our time.
Ali fought battles in city rings and a ‘jungle’ of his choosing. Loyal to his convictions at the pinnacle of achievement.
He paid a heavy price For defying the establishment. He raised himself again to extraordinary heights. His battles were our battles, his loss was our loss and his victory was our victory.