Joshua Kwao Anim (2 Feb 1944 - 22 Apr 2020)

Funeral Service

Streatham Cemetery Garratt Lane London SW17 0LT
1st Jun 2020
Funeral Director
F.A. Albin & Sons


Come unto me all ye who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Joshua Kingsley Kwao Anim aka Paa J, Ray Charles, was born in Osu, Accra to Helena Azu (a business woman, political activist Entrepreneur) and Mr Henry Baah Anim a Magistrate, both deceased.

At age 5, Paa J as he was affectionately called, apparently followed his older brothers to the shops for bottled soda water which ended up breaking. How the pieces of glass got into his eyes, nobody knows but the accident left him with a complete sight loss at that tender age.

Despite this setback, his parents had great plans for him and enrolled him in the Specialist school for the blind (Akropong Blind School) where he had his formal basic education. He learned to read and write in Braille which equipped him tremendously.

He led a normal life just like his siblings and wasn’t allowed to think that disability was inability. With no sight, Paa J used his other senses of touch, hearing and smell to identify everyone. No one could sneak past him. Shake/hold his hand and out popped your name without one saying a word. His many nieces and nephews couldn’t understand how he could describe or take pictures of them; what they never knew was he got others to describe the picture or person in detail. His retentive memory served him well.

His mother pulled all political, religious and educational strings; in fact, any string she could muster including seeking healing from well-known preachers. There was no crusade his family didn’t attend spanning the length and breadth of Ghana and beyond. However, physical healing didn’t come in the way we all expected, but God directed them to no less a person than the 1st President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory who ensured Joshua’s voluminous books and Braille equipment were imported which aided effective learning. Some of us learnt to use the braille alphabet out of curiosity!

His secondary education was in a different environment, a state school, Labone Secondary School for sighted students - he competed from a disadvantaged position, but this did not deter him.

He continued his ‘Advanced’ level education at the renowned Achimota School (formerly The Prince of Wales College).

He was still quite young when his son Alex was born in 1962.

His beloved mother died in a tragic accident in 1965. His older sister, Theodora, took over from their mother. Paa J helped out on school holidays and excelled in whisking eggs (manually) for cakes in those days. Their late mum was also a confectioner - another role his sister took on.

Paa J had a great sense of humour influenced by various friends and life events. Those of us who were his "eyes" and went everywhere with him, remember the jokes he shared; one would completely forget his disability then. We thought he could’ve been a comedian. He drew people to him like a magnet – he was never short of friends and company.

Paa J had an opportunity to attend a conference for the blind in the then West Germany. He informed his family but sought blessings from his maternal uncle, affectionately called (Broda) who tried to dissuade him from travelling due to his disability.

Paa J’s 1st cousin, James, overheard the conversation between them and recounted that until that day hadn’t heard the word ‘bleak’ when Paa J used that word to assert himself thus:

‘Broda’, oha nii'ɛ efee BLEAK eha mi ee. To wit you’ve
made this look bleak for me
BUT I WILL GO. End of story.”

Such determination, knowledge, academic brilliance and intelligence rarely witnessed in a “handicapped” young man who, not only took no for an answer, but taught a younger person what the word “bleak” was. A word that he Joshua might have used to best describe this pandemic!

Another maternal uncle, Papa and others ended up financing his trip.

From the Conference Paa J headed for London where he settled and pursued a Degree Programme in Social Work at The London University. He worked in his chosen field as a social worker.

Paa J had an enquiring mind - the many questions he asked during visits or calls. He could recall incidents long forgotten by others. He could navigate the London Underground and directed some of us! He was a fountain of knowledge many of us will miss.

He dabbled in local politics and became a Councillor here in Lambeth where he helped many people who approached him, until series of strokes robbed him of some of his independence. He was moved into a purpose-built flat to enable him live independently.

As fate would have it, Paa J met and married Esther Sackey. His immediate family made up of his Sister Theodora, Abigail Tagoe and her children supported him at their wedding.

His health continued to fail in the last decade or so with various setbacks, which ended on 22nd April 2020.

Paa J leaves behind Esther, son Alex, Grandchildren and great-grandchildren and many friends and family.

Upon hearing of Paa J’s death, a friend from his Achimota school days wrote this:

“Fare thee well Ray Charles, Joshua Anim. You were one of a kind. Witty with an elegant turn of phrase. Friends from our school days at Achimota where you had a room dedicated for your special needs. We connected again in London and spent many a joyous Sunday afternoon at Collingham Gardens. Then in Brixton when you became a councillor at Lambeth. Heard you were unwell. Rest in perfect peace in the Lord."

Another wrote:

“Sorry to hear about a big brother and a friend. We were together in Stannard Hall, in the late 70s,early 80s, which was a London University Hall of Residence in Camberwell. He was very popular with all the students in those days and in times of trouble counselled all of us. Great memories.”

After waiting patiently for physical healing, Paa J finally heard Jesus of Nazareth passed by him on 22 April declaring what a hymn writer penned which summed up his challenges in the 3rd verse of this hymn:

Jesus! ‘tis He who once below
Man’s pathway trod,‘mid pain and woe;
And burdened ones, where’er He came
Bro’t out their sick, and deaf, and lame, The blind rejoiced to hear the cry:
Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.

Paa J, your family and friends near and far say

Yaa yɛ hejɔlɛ mli
Kɛ yaashi beeyinɔ ni wɔbaa kpe ekonn.

Georgina Lutterodt lit a candle
Augustina Lutterodt wrote

Hello PJ, take care and sorry I had not been to see you in a long while. You are still one of the best people I can recall growing up as a child. Love always Tina

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Anchoe wrote

Unco Paa J, may The Angel's receive and usser you to God Almighty to grant you Eternal Rest!!
Rest In Perfect Peace and Rise In Glory !!

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  • Amen.

    Posted by Abigail on 2/06/2020 Report abuse
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Jeremias Engmann lit a candle
Ramsey Quartey wrote

God’s Garden

by Melissa Shreve

God looked around his garden and found an empty place
He then looked down upon the Earth and saw your tired face
He put his arms around you and lifted you to rest
With the help of his angels they flew you to your heavenly place
Gods garden must be beautiful, he always takes the best
He knew you were suffering, he knew you were in pain
He knew that you would never get well on Earth again
He saw the road was getting rough and the hills too hard to climb
He closed your weary eyelids and whispered “Peace be Thine”
It broke our hearts to lose you but you didn’t go alone
For part of us went with you the day God called you home.

Ramsey on Behalf of Brother Joshua

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Betty Botchway wrote

My condolences to the entire family
Paa J, RIP

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Abigail Tagoe is attending the funeral
Abigail Tagoe wrote

This year's summer has been marred by a disease that has robbed me of my dear brother, Paa J. My annual trips to see my siblings; and sadly being unable to attend his funeral nor bid him Farewell.
As a younger brother I accompanied Joshua everywhere until I left for the States.
My journeys with Paa J took us everywhere including Togo, another country which shares a border with Ghana without informing our sister, Theodora!
Paa J had not heard from his good friend, a Togolese he met at the Akropong Blind School. Paa J introduced him to our family. He felt sorry for him as he had nowhere to stay so he joined during school holidays.
That friendship flourished for many years.
Paa J and I shared many old jokes and escapades over the phone. I'll miss these moments and interactions. I'll treasure the memories, certain trips which escaped the eagle eyes of big sis and our second mum!
Parting and goodbyes are pretty difficult, but we believe we will meet again, but until then my dear brother Paa J, rest easy and peacefully with your Maker!

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  • Sent on behalf of Ramsey

    Posted by Abigail on 1/06/2020 Report abuse
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Esther Anim wrote


On 29th May in 1965, I woke up as a young lady going about life with hardly a care in the world because our mum did everything including looking after my 2 children at the time, Abi & Lily together with Alex, your son.

By noon that day I had inherited 5 younger siblings when our mother tragically died in an accident and left us all emotionally bereft. I was plunged into becoming an instant carer and nurturer for all of you before I was even 30. It's therefore difficult for me to receive and report your death Paa J. For me you became my child from the moment our own mother left this physical realm.

We had a unique big sister/mum relationship. I kept a keen interest in your affairs as any ‘mum’ would, especially as we both lived in the UK and lived just streets apart. I watched with pride as you graduated from university with numerous accolades, such as leader in our local government at Lambeth Council You would go on to show my sighted kids how to navigate life in the hustle and bustle of London Life and pop in to have your favourite meal or ask for ‘Takeaway’.

When I was informed by your wife, Esther of your latest admission at Kings College Hospital, I expected you to recover as you had done umpteen times before. I knew I would go through the routine of calling the hospital ward and follow up with visits. Apparently, you had exhausted all 9 lives but kept going!

You fought a very good fight in life, many sighted people would envy. Your cries for your mum have come to an end, now that you are both resting in the Lord’s arms. A mother’s love can never be substituted though I did all I could to guide and nurture.

I believe these would have been your parting sentiments:

"Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard his call,
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I've found that peace at the close of the day.”

Paa J. Rest well.

From Sta Theo

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Lawerh wrote

Anyèmi Paa J. You were special and I will always treasure the thought. Wô odzogban. Gban Kukuu.

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Esther Anim wrote

Tribute by wife

Now the labourer’s task is over
Now the battle day is past
Now upon the Father’s shore
Lands the voyager at last
Father, in thy gracious keeping
Leave we now thy servant sleeping

Uncle Paa J is what I affectionately called you. We met in 2004 and I am glad God gave you to me.

In all the years I was with you, I learnt that you are so kind, loving, sometimes difficult to deal with yet such a generous man, with a heart of gold. Words cannot express how good you were to me.

I thank God for the opportunity of meeting you, I wish you could have stayed longer but the Lord knows best. As I bid you farewell, I say thank you so much for all the good times we shared together.

Uncle Paa J may the good Lord bless your soul and keep you at his bosom. Sleep safely in the hands of your maker, until the trumpet sounds and we meet again.

Uncle Paa J w) ojogbaa!!!
Me ko wo saminya!!!

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Wedding day

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Wedding Day

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Wedding Day

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Brother and sister

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Husband and wife

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Standing beneath the statue of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, his great educational enabler

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Councillor Anim at work

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Graduation Day

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Memories live forever in the hearts of those left behind

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  • May the soul of dear Uncle Paa J rest in perfect. He was an epitome of a gentleman, scholarly and very knowledgeable. Despite his challenges in life, he kept abreast with world events and had a remarkable memory. Uncle Paa J,

    Posted by Vernon on 9/05/2020 Report abuse
  • Sorry for the typo mistakes, I don't seem to be able to correct. Apologies. Vernon

    Posted by Vernon on 9/05/2020 Report abuse
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  • Grandpa Rest In Peace! We will grow holding on to your remarkable achievements. Love from Lisa, Zoella and Noella Anim .

    Posted by Rosemary Nadia on 31/05/2020 Report abuse
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