Samuel Joseph Anie: The man who revolutionised the textile industry post-independence
Today marks exactly 25 years since the death of Samuel Joseph Anie.
Mr Anie was a consummate entrepreneur who blazed the trail in textile manufacturing to support the economy under Ghana’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
At 76, he passed away, having contributed immensely to various business sectors in the post-Gold Coast era.
S.J. Anie left behind a wife, Mrs Josephine Anie, who is a pharmacist and eight children in 1995 when he passed away.
In remembrance of the Silver Jubilee of the death of a nobleman, the family told theghanareport.com:
“He touched the lives of so many people. He taught us how to embrace the impossible”.
Theghanareport.com looks back at the life of Mr Anie and his role in politics, public service, industry and other sectors.
Mr S.J. Anie was born to Madam Sophia Antwiwaa Anie and Mr Emmanuel Joseph Anie, on 30th December 1918 at Tutu, Akwapem, in the Eastern Region.
He attended primary school but truncated further formal education due to a need for family funds to be channelled into raising his younger siblings.
By dint of hard work and determination, he was able to succeed at business by learning from his father, who was a merchant.
Mr Anie took up attachments, in-house training sessions at various organisations during the colonial era, including the famous Kingsway Department Store in Accra.
Vision and foresight describe his ambitions, and he later established his different lines of businesses.
He became a founding member of the Convention People’s Party (C.P.P.), and one of the first to heed Osagyefoo Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s clarion call.
He was a courageous and formidable Trade Union Leader in the Western Region during the struggle for the successful liberation of Ghana from colonial rule. He rose to be the Party Branch Chairman in Takoradi.
The late Kojo Botsio of blessed memory noted in his 1995 tribute to S.J. Anie:
“He was one of the people who enjoyed Kwame Nkrumah’s trust most, and he [Osagyefoo] gave him many assignments where confidentiality and truthfulness mattered most”.
S.J. Anie rose through the party’s ranks to become a member of the C.P.P.’s all-powerful Central Committee and also served on its National Executive Committee.
His devotion to public service, specifically organised labour, continued after Ghana’s independence, when he became one of the architects of Ghana’s restructured Trade Union Congress (T.U.C.).
He served as its Director of Business Enterprises and Finance Board Chairman.
S.J. Anie’s place in the economic history of Ghana is assured, as a pioneer in the development of Ghana’s industrial base.
He led negotiations to establish the Industrial Cooperatives (Indusco) in 1960.
Through his strategic foresight, he also spearheaded the establishment of a variety of enterprises such as the Ghana National Construction Company (G.N.C.C.); Ghana National Trading Company (G.N.T.C.); Vegetable Oil Mills and Suhum Garment Factory.
He was a central figure in the establishment of the Ghana Textile Printing Company and the State Textile Manufacturing Corporation, which later became Tema Textiles Ltd, where as Managing Director he produced the first piece of African Fancy Print Cloth in Ghana, an achievement for which he received the praise of Osagyefoo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
S.J. Anie made an immense contribution to Ghana’s manufacturing sector, and this is perhaps best illustrated by his brilliant ingenuity in textile printing.
In the late 1960’s he established his own company, Anitex Ltd. and in time a retail outlet, May-May stores.
Anitex Ltd. was a trailblazer for textile printing companies, which mushroomed in Ghana soon afterwards.
It was the first firm in Ghana to undertake screen printing by hand, and this grew into an integrated multi-million cedi textile printing operation covering cotton prints, printed polyester and synthetic products as well as its retail operation.
He received several major awards for the quality of Anitex products including the 1986 VII Africa Award.
S.J. Anie loved his church fervently and donated his skills, time and money to the Presbyterian Church on a liberal scale.
As a Presbyter of the Tutu Presbyterian Church, his contributions to the church were recognised and valued.
At the Headquarters of the Ghana Presbyterian Church, he contributed his experience to many committees, including the Education Foundation.
In Accra, he was an ardent member of the Kaneshie Presbyterian Church and was honoured severally for his devotion to the Christian call.
He was an excellent sportsman and loved to play lawn tennis and football.
Notably, he was a passionate supporter of Accra Hearts of Oak – a truly committed Phobian.
His association with Accra Hearts of Oak spanned over 50 years including as Life Patron of the Club.
Politics, public service, industry and an exemplary private life all woven into one rich tapestry.
At the 20th Anniversary of his passing, the C.P.P. said in a eulogy:
“He was the titan at the forefront of the industrialisation policy and programme of the C.P.P. government of the First Republic”.
“The indomitable spirit of Samuel Joseph Anie in dedicated service to the industrialisation programme of the C.P.P. and by extension the decolonisation of our national economy is worthy of our recognition and commendation”.
“The Convention People’s Party today elevates and confers on Samuel Joseph Anie the stature of a living legend”.