Sunday, 1 May 2011

Sports & Society: Ex President of Ghana, General I.K Acheampong’s grandson, Charlie Peprah of Green Bay is interviewed by Newd Magazine….

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Title: Charlie Peprah: Ghana Nobility Now Dallas Royalty

Green Bay Packer Charlie Peprah is of Ghanaian nobility. And yet, the royal treatment he's receiving in his hometown Dallas, Texas has far less to do with his African lineage and more to do with the game he's played since childhood.

Peprah's friends, family, and high school buddies will be shouting his name from the stands as he takes the field alongside Packer teammates at Super Bowl XLV this Sunday.

The 15 complimentary tickets allocated to him for his own personal "rah rah" section are all spoken for. His girlfriend, a nursing school graduate in Dallas, his mother Elizabeth and father Josh will be among the throng.

"It feels great. It's cliché but it's a dream come true," said Peprah. "My friends and family get to see me. Not only that, I get to come home and I'm a it's definitely a dream come true."

Peprah's nobility is traced back to his maternal grandfather, Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, who was once Lieutenant Colonel of the West African nation of Ghana. Acheampong took over the democratically elected government of the Progress Party and its leader Dr. Kofi Busiain in what accounts call a "bloodless" coup in 1972. At that time, Ghana's government leaders had been accused of economic mismanagement and corruption.

                                                            General I.K Acheampong

Acheampong established the National Redemption Council, which later became the Supreme Military Council, of which Acheampong was promoted as general. Many agree that he made some positive changes to the nation's administration and economy.

He introduced the change from the imperial to the metric system of measurement, he started a program aimed at self-reliance in agriculture called "Operation Feed Yourself" and a plan for "National Reconstruction" aimed at lowering unemployment and increasing skill in Ghana's workforce.

For six years, his regime - comprising military leaders, not elected officials - ran government branches.

However, in 1978, his rule would come to an end; then, one year later, he would be executed by firing squad at the hands of Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings - Ghana's military leader from 1981-1982 and elected president from 1993-2001.

Chaos ensued. Peprah's mother, father and older brother, Kwabena, escaped Ghana for their own protection. After a stint in Europe, they moved to the U.S., settling in Texas.

"I never had the honor to meet him," said Peprah. "But, it's pretty cool to have that in my family history."

Peprah was born in Fort Worth, just four years after his grandfather's death. He was raised in Plano - one of the 12 suburbs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

"I used to take him to his games and I saw the talent from a young age," said Peprah's cousin, Kobui Darfi. "He was one of the smallest kids on his team, but it was so hard to take him down."

Peprah played tailback at Plano East High School and recalls that, regardless of football, he would dare not slack on his academics - knowledge that came from the strictures of a traditional Ghanaian upbringing.

"I remember my mom telling me, 'You better do your homework or you won't play football,'" said Peprah. "My parents didn't play about education."

Nevertheless, as Peprah thinks back on his life's journey from Texas to University of Alabama (where he earned both a bachelor's and master's degree), getting drafted by the New York Giants, then finally making his home with the Packers, he feels one sentiment -- blessed.

"When I go back to visit [Ghana], there's such a gap between the haves and the have nots," said Peprah. "I learned at a very young age that I had to work hard for everything, so every opportunity given to me in the States is definitely a blessing."

Because of his roots, Peprah tries to avoid the pitfalls of his profession in America: namely, groupie drama.

"You have to pick out the women who have hidden agendas," said Peprah. "There's a lot of fun to be had, especially with the money we make and the free time that we have. There's a lot of trouble you can get into out there, but you just have to be smart."

And not only does he have his strong African roots to thank for his level-headedness, Peprah practices his faith on the road.

"He's my Lord and Savior and, without him, none of this would be possible," said Peprah. "Some guys are more vocal than others, but it's great to be able to use my platform to show the talent He's given me."

(Credit: Text & photos all courtesy of:

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