West African country of Ghana had a good fortune of having Nii Amon Kotei as citizen. He designed the country’s Coat of Arms. Even more spectacular was that Kotei aside being a sculptor was also a painter, musician, teacher, soldier and surveyor.
In later years, Kotei would recount how as Ghana’s Independence day drew near from colonial Britain, on March 6, 1957, the country needed one creative person to design a distinct coat of arms for the state. Kotei, who was then working with the Government Printer was asked to present a sketch for consideration.
“I suggested the use of the Eagle because I had read over and over again of the famous Eagle and the Chick story,” he noted.
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His final drawing caught the eye of Cpt. Hamilton, the British liaison officer and Ghana’s first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It was thus approved on March 4, 1957.
The Coat of Arms composed of a shield, divided into four quarters by a St. George’s green cross, rimming with gold which appears on all government official letter heads.
“Kotei was born into a Ga family at La, near Accra on May 24, 1915. He studied under a scholarship at Achimota School later receiving a scholarship to study art at the London School of Printing and Graphic Art from 1949 to 1952. He also fought for the Royal West African Frontier Force during World War II and also worked in the Cartographic Division of the Army. He drew maps and plans for use by soldiers on the war front. Kotei also taught in Achimota School.”
He was awarded the State Honour of Grand Medal, Civil Division, by former Ghanaian president Jerry John Rawlings on Friday, March 7, 1997. He received several other awards.
“The Coat of Arms produced by Amon Kotei has a crossed linguists’ staff and ceremonial sword on a blue background. This is positioned at the top left-hand quarter representing local administration. A heraldic castle on a heraldic sea with a light background also positioned at the top right-hand quarter represents national government.
A cocoa tree at the bottom left-hand quarter depicts the agricultural wealth of the country while a mine shaft located at the bottom right-hand quarter represents the mineral wealth of the country. A gold lion also positioned at the centre of the Green St George’s Cross shows the continuing link between Ghana and the Commonwealth whiles the black five-pointed star rimmed with gold standing on the wreath of red, gold and green colors signifies the lone star of African Freedom. The two eagles signify a protector with strength and attentive eyes keeping watch over the country while Ghana’s motto Freedom and Justice under the shield represents the country’s national aspirations,” according to Development Journalist, Kwaku Boakye Karikari.
Kotei also painted woman figures and clothed them with celestial symbols like halos. He died on October 17, 2011.