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Stabroek News

Former Ja'can foreign minister named African Living Legend
published: Sunday | October 8, 2006


Ambassador Dudley Thompson

Former foreign Affairs Minister, Dudley Thompson was honoured as one of Africa's Living Legends at the International Media Summit organised by the African Press in Accra, Ghana last month.

Thompson, also the former National Security Minister in the Manley Administration of the 1970s, was Jamaica's High Commissioner to several African countries including Nigeria, Ghana and Namibia during the 1990s. He was honoured along with former South African President, Nelson Mandela; Nigerian writer, Wole Soyinka; UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan and former president of the African Development Bank, Babacar Ndiaye.

Also present at the media conference was Africa's first female head of state, Liberia's Ruth Sando-Perry; and the Ashanti King.

Ambassador Thompson, now 90, is a reknowned Pan Africanist who was defence lawyer for Jomo Kenyatta during his trial in 1952 by the British Colonial Government for his alleged involvement in the liberation struggle led by the Mau Mau fighters in Kenya during the 1950s. Thompson was practising law then in nearby Tanganyika (now Tanzania). Kenyatta later became president of the Republic of Kenya.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO AFRICA

Speaking to The Sunday Gleaner from Florida, where he resides, Ambassador Thompson said the 'Living Legend' award was sponsored by a branch of the Ghanian Government to persons alive, who have done outstanding service to Africa.

"I was very surpised and felt very elated when I saw the names (of world reknown persons with whom I was honoured)," he remarked.

"I have been working consistently as a Pan Africanist from the 1940s with (the late) George Padmore, Caribbean Pan African-ist and Kwame Nkrumah, former Ghanian president."

Ambassador Thompson previously has been given the award of Legend of Africa by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). In addition, he has been nominated as one of a Group of Eminent Persons (EPG) by the summit of African countries since 1993. The group is mandated to study the effects of slavery and colonialsm and working modalities to achieve reparations.

Reacting further to the recent honour bestowed on him, Ambassador Thompson said: "I felt fantastic; people who never heard of Jamaica before, became aware for the first time. You feel that you have been carrying the country's flag (proudly)."

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