(Image source from: Al Jazeera)
The former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan has been laid to rest in his native Ghana as world leaders paid tributes to them with calls to keep alive the legacy of a "stubborn optimist" to make a better, more nonviolent world.
At the funeral on Thursday, Annan's widow, Nane Maria, led hundreds of mourners, as well as world leaders earlier and current, traditional rulers and global royalty and termed her husband an "extraordinary" person who had a "joy of life".
"My love, you are now back home where you started your long journey. But may your wisdom and compassion continue to guide us, wherever we are," she said at the state funeral in the capital, Accra.
Annan ran the UN from 1997 to 2006, becoming the first person from sub-Saharan Africa to do so. He died on August 18 aged 80 at his home in Switzerland after a brief sickness.
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Thousands of people have filed past his coffin this week during three days of national grief for Annan who was called "one of the truly iconic figures of modern times" by Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Numerous ordinary Ghanaians described him as a father figure and a foundation of national pride, while his brother, Kobina, told the audience that he was more than a leader and statesman.
"We lost a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather and an uncle, a man of deep conviction who was as committed to instilling the values of fairness, integrity, kindness and service in each of us as he was to advocating for peace and human rights around the world," said Kobina. The current UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, acclaimed his best friend as an "exceptional global leader" who was dignified, courageous and a man of "integrity, dynamism, and dedication".
"Kofi Annan was the United Nations and the United Nations was him," he added.
Annan, who was originally from Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region in southern Ghana, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.
By Sowmya Sangam