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Etornam Gorni,, 14 of Ghana

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A 14-year-old JHS one pupil of Ho Fiave Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) School, Etornam Gorni, has finally been laid to rest at Gorni Korpe in the Akatsi District after a sorrowful but historic burial ceremony in Ho.

The park of the Volta Regional Police Training School, popularly called Police Depot, where her funeral was held, was packed as students, teachers, police officers, officials of the education directorate, the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC) family members and the general public converged on the place to mourn Etornam who died during rehearsals for this year’s Independence Day parade.

Local radio stations within the municipality also mourned Etornam and held discussions on her death.

At the burial grounds, a display by the SDA female football team brought tears to the eyes of mourners. The sketch was to ‘pull’ Etornam out of the team that she once played for as a defensive midfielder. After a brief ‘training session’ near the casket of Etornam, which was covered with the national flag, the players, one after the other, gave a pass to Etornam who obviously could not return the pass.

At the end of the ‘training session’, the coach of the team, John Kafui Akana, mentioned the first 11 without Etornam as the team bid her farewell. According to the coach, Etornam had convinced him and facilitated the relocation of the team’s training sessions to the Police Depot Park, the place she was laid in state.

Tributes were read by the family, siblings, parents, Apostles Revelation Church, Municipal and Regional Director of Ghana Education Service, the Deputy Regional Minister, Henry Ametefe and her school.

Henry Ametefe described Etornam as national heroine and linked her to Corporal Attipoe, one of the veteran soldiers who died at the crossroads of the Christiansburg Castel Osu many years ago. He noted that Etornam was a great, great, great grandchild of the national hero. He commiserated with the bereaved family on behalf of the President and the government.

He donated an undisclosed amount of money to the family on behalf of the state and announced that the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, had donated GH¢1,000 to the family.

The family, in its tribute, dismissed claims in some sections of the media that Etornam was a sickle cell patient and that she had not eaten that fateful morning. “Etornam is not a sickler and she was not sick on Monday 27th, February, 2012, when serving mother Ghana.”

They noted that although she might have weaknesses as human, she was loved by almost everyone who interacted with her.

Preaching the sermon, Pastor G.Y. Agboado-Dijt of the Ho SDA Church urged all not to be depressed by Etornam’s death but rather take solace in the fact that “God knows best…and that he is doing a new thing”.


He advised all to follow the ways of God in order to gain eternal life.

Etornam was born on 30th September 1998 at Hohoe in the Volta Region to Corporal Atsu Gorni and Charity Gorni, both from Gorni Korpe in the Akatsi District. She started her basic school in Hohoe. In 2006, she joined the Ho Fiave SDA School after her father was transferred to the regional training school.

Etornam was described as God-fearing, sociable, hardworking and respectful.

According to her biography, on Sunday 26th February 2012, a day before her death, she sang Jim Reeves’ ‘This World Is Not My Home’ when she worshiped with police recruits at the training school. She also had the inscription ‘He Lives In Me’ on all her books.

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I wanted to know how she died, and learned the following from http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/regional/artikel.php?ID=232495:

Etornam Gorni, the 14 year-old pupil of the SDA Junior High School, who collapsed and died during rehearsals for the Independence Day Parade, has been buried at Gorni-Kope in the Akatsi District.

Hundreds of school children with red wrist bands, teachers, government officials and other mourners filed past her body dressed in her school uniform and in a sitting position as schools in the Ho Township were closed for the funeral service.

The funeral occurred at the Ho Police Training School Park.

Etornam, Daughter of Corporal Atsu Gorni, was born on September 30, 1998 in Hohoe, and was hale and healthy when she went for the rehearsal where she collapsed and was rushed to the hospital but all attempts to revive her proved futile.

Mr Henry Ametefe, Deputy Volta Regional Minister, said President John Evans Atta Mills had called from the United States instructing him to convey his regrets for the loss to the family and school.

He said the President had donated some money to the parents of Etornam and added another donation of GH¢ 1,000, to the family through Mr Doe Adjaho, First Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament for Ave-Avenor.

He said the Regional Coordinating Council, Regional Directorate of the Ghana Education Service and the assembly collaborated with the family to organise the funeral.

Mr Ametefe said it was unfortunate that such a fate fell on Etornam, a descendant of Corporal Attipoe, killed in the 28th February 1948 Christiansborg Crossroads Shooting, dying in preparations for the nation’s independence day activities.

Reverend Godwin Yao Agboado, Ho District Pastor of the SDA Church, said it was difficult to understand certain events because God’s ways are different.

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