Gabi, was born Gabriele Marion Klemenz on the 19th of November, 1924 in Mannheim, Germany. Her parents were Anny Martha Klemenz and Hermann Steinvorth.
She spent her childhood and early adulthood in Dresden, where she experienced the horrors of the Second World War, especially the bombing of Dresden. These experiences led to Gabi becoming a pacifist throughout her life. Her father went missing at the end of the war and was never heard of again.
After the war, Gabi and her mother moved to Leipzig where she started studying medicine. Unfortunately, her academic endeavours were cut short when the communist authorities banned all children from non-working class families from attending university. She therefore decided to become a nurse. In the middle of the 50s, the authorities loosened the restrictions a little and Gabi was able to train as a physiotherapist, a profession she practiced with great enthusiasm till retirement.
Gabi loved to dance. She spent part of this time as a member of an amateur dance group and performed at the Welt Jugend Festspiele, held in Berlin in 1951. She was shortly under the tutelage of Helene Weigel, the wife of Berthold Brecht, at the Berliner Ensemble.
In 1964, she met Dickens Addai Safo, a Ghanaian agricultural economics student of the Karl Marx University in Leipzig and they married soon afterwards. In 1966 they welcomed their first born son, Oliver Patrick Kofi Safo, who was followed in 1967 by Kingsley Kwame Safo.
After Dickens completed his studies, the family moved to Ghana in 1971 and settled at Bunso in the Eastern Region, where Dickens had been appointed as Agricultural Officer. Gabi started working at the Koforidua Central Hospital, as the only physiotherapist in the whole Eastern Region, defying the distance of 80 kilometres daily, which she did by TroTro for the first 3 years. She was respected and loved by her staff and patients.
By 1976, the economic situation had become so difficult in Ghana that Gabi had to leave to work in various short spells in Germany. These took her to Bad Pyrmont and Oberammergau in Bavaria. In 1979, Dickens was transferred to Accra and the family followed. Here, Gabi soon built up a solid clientele, who came to her for physiotherapeutic treatment. In addition, she set up a poultry farming business which helped sustain the family through these difficult times.
Between, 1982 and 1984, she worked in Bad Gandersheim in Germany, where she had moved with her sons temporarily. On her return to Ghana, she resumed her successful private physiotherapy sessions until she was well into her seventies.
After, Dickens’ demise in 1990, Gabi spent her time shuttling between Ghana and Germany, as each son had settled in one country. In 2006, Gabi finally decided to spend her last days in Ghana. This she did happily till she passed away on the 16th of November 2013.
Gabi is survived by her sons and six grandchildren.