Tetteh, Benjamin O.

By Chris Annan-Nunoo

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Chris Annan-Nunoo

First Published: October 24, 2023

Benjamin Okoe Tetteh was one of the early converts to Adventism in Ghana, an Adventist minister, and a founder of churches in Ghana.

Tetteh was born on March 14, 1900. He obtained his Standard Seven Certificate (ten years of basic education) from Accra Royal School and was further trained to become a tailor. Previously a devout Christian of the Methodist faith, Tetteh was converted and baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church in early 1931 at Bawjiase, a town in the Central Region, Ghana. Tetteh was one of three newly converted Seventh-day Adventists who founded the Seventh-day Adventist Church at Bawjiase. Tetteh married Emma Efua Halm in 1930, just a year before his conversion to the Seventh-day Adventist faith. Mrs. Tetteh came from a strong Methodist background and accepted the Adventist faith in 1950. Benjamin and Emma Tetteh had four sons and three daughters. Their son E. C. Tetteh served as the general manager of the Advent Press from 1988 to 1996 and initiated the founding of Prince Emmanuel S.D.A. Church in Accra.1

In 1941, ten years after becoming a Seventh-day Adventist, Tetteh gave up his profession as a tailor and became a ministerial worker in the Adventist Church.2 He began his ministerial work at Anum-Boso in the Eastern Region, Ghana. Early in his ministerial work, he was greatly encouraged by an event resembling a miracle. Tetteh was walking home to Anum-Boso after working the entire day in another village. It was late in the night when he unknowingly met a funeral procession going to bury the chief of that region. The day’s custom forbade anyone unrelated to the function to cross the funeral cortege’s path. Offenders would provoke a very negative reaction from people in the procession. However, that night, it appeared that nobody saw Tetteh, although he wore a white suit. Tetteh wondered: “Did the angels of the true God close their eyes?”3

From Anum-Boso, Tetteh was transferred to Bisa, the land of Krobo tribe in the Eastern Region. The inhabitants were predominantly Presbyterian. There was already a small company of Adventists at Akokoma, about five miles from Bisa, which was founded by a Togolese Adventist lay member by the name of Gidigidi. Tetteh’s first goal was to strengthen the small company to become a fully-fledged organized church, and then extend evangelism to Bisa and other areas. Among his earliest and most helpful converts in Bisa was Jacob Latrame, who later became an outstanding literature evangelist.

In late 1944, Tetteh was asked to join Evangelist David N. Agboka4 in the pioneering work of bringing the Adventist message to the city of Accra. They visited people at their homes and workplaces and conducted Bible study groups in Accra’s neighborhoods, including Abbosey Okai, Osu, and James Town. They also organized children branch Sabbath Schools in Osu and Chorkor. Agboka’s and Tetteh’s efforts were supported by Andrews Daitey and other literature evangelists.5

One of the challenges that Agboka and Tetteh faced in their work in Accra was the hostile attitude of some people who, being accustomed to Sunday worship, had difficulties accepting the Saturday worship and the teaching of the second coming of Jesus. Agboka recounted how they were chased once and sought refuge in a nearby house. Tetteh was the first to leave the house when they thought the assailants had left. Unfortunately, the attackers came out of hiding, caught Tetteh, and beat him up.6

Tetteh worked together with Agboka from 1944 to 1946 and then took over the work in Accra from 1949 to 1951. Then, he returned to Bisa to continue his work there. Pastor Jesse Clifford, an American missionary and director of the Mission Station at Koforidua, a town in Ghana, stayed with Tetteh for over a week to help him start the work. Tetteh labored in other places, including Larteh, Asokore Asiakwa, and Krobo Odumase, all in the Eastern Region, and Ekwamkrom in the Central Region, Ghana.

In 1965, Tetteh retired from active service. He died on October 4, 1986, at the age of 86.7

Sources

Brocke, E. M. Adventism in Accra. Accra, Ghana: E. M. B Goodwill Foundation, Advent Press, 2011.

Owusu-Mensa, Kofi. Seventh-day Adventism in Ghana. Accra, Ghana: Advent Press, 2005.

Notes

  1. E. M. Brocke, Adventism in Accra (Accra, Ghana: E. M. B Goodwill Foundation, Advent Press, 2011), 5-7; Kofi Owusu-Mensa, Seventh-day Adventism in Ghana (Accra, Ghana: Advent Press, 2005), 22.

  2. E. C. Tetteh, Benjamin Tetteh’s son, interview by author, November 9, 2019.

  3. Brocke, 11-13.

  4. See, Nii Lante Thompson, “Agboka, David Narter (1907-1999), Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, January 29, 2020, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DH1I&highlight=Agboka.

  5. Brocke, 5-10.

  6. Ibid., 12-15.

  7. E. C. Tetteh, Benjamin Tetteh’s son, interview by author, November 9, 2019.

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Annan-Nunoo, Chris. "Tetteh, Benjamin O.." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. October 24, 2023. Accessed June 14, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DB8J.

Annan-Nunoo, Chris. "Tetteh, Benjamin O.." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. October 24, 2023. Date of access June 14, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DB8J.

Annan-Nunoo, Chris (2023, October 24). Tetteh, Benjamin O.. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 14, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DB8J.