Dwen Hwe Kan
|P. O. Box 101
Aboom Wells Road
Cape Coast, central region, Ghana
|Established||3rd April 1876|
|Headmaster||Kwame Mieza Edjah|
|Chaplain||Rev. George Affum, BEd|
|Age||12 to 18|
|School colour(s)||Black and Red|
|Affiliation||Methodist Church, Ghana|
|Alumni||Mfantsipim Old Boys Association (MOBA)|
|Nobel laureates||Kofi Annan|
|School Anthem||MHB 832 (For All The Saints)|
|Telephone||+233 33 213 4923
+233 33 213 2438
Mfantsipim was the first secondary school to be established in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1876, and in 1905 it moved to its present location at Kwabotwe Hill in the northern part of the town, at the top of Kotokoraba Road in Cape Coast. The school sometimes has been referred to as "Kwabotwe" for that reason. It has turned out some of the country's best known public figures in all walks of life, men such as Alex Quaison-Sackey, the first black African to serve as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Dr. K A Busia, Kofi Annan, the former UN General Secretary. It was deemed to be a Grammar School because Latin and Greek were taught but the school also offered carpentry, art and crafts and it has generally been known as "Mfantsipim School". It was an all-boys boarding school although the intake included a small number of "day students", that is, pupils who attended school from home. Girls were later admitted to the sixth form. Today Mfantsipm is an all-boys secondary institution and has historic ties with its sister school, the Wesley Girls' High School. Mfantsipim is affectionately referred to as "The School" by its alums (old boys) due to the institution's historic origins.
- 1 History
- 2 Overview of the campus
- 3 Meaning of Mfantsipim
- 4 Principals/Headmasters
- 5 The products
- 6 Professionalism and public service
- 7 Social
- 8 References
The idea of establishing a collegiate school to raise educational standards in the Gold Coast was first mooted in 1865 but it was not until 1876 that The Wesleyan High School was established in Cape Coast with donations from local businessmen and the support of the Methodist Missionary Society in London. The school was established mainly to train teachers and began with 17 pupils. It was originally planned to be sited at Accra because the British Government had by 1870 decided to move the capital of the Gold Coast from Cape Coast to Accra. However, local agitation and the urgent need to put the idea into practice after eleven years of debate pressurized the government to allow the school to begin functioning but on the understanding that it would later be moved to Accra. Had that happened, it would not have been called "Mfantsipim" since the name means "a countless number of Fantes".
John Mensah-Sarbah, who came up with the word "Mfantsipim" stated at the opening of the school that its aim was "To train up God-fearing, respectable and intelligent lads".
Wesleyan High School changed its name to Wesleyan Collegiate School before the end of the 19th Century. The name "Mfantsipim" was provided by the Honourable John Mensah-Sarbah, an accomplished lawyer and a member of the "Pioneer Boys". Mfantsipim, he insisted, was to be the "soul of the people".
The Rev W. T. Balmer came in 1907, at a time when all the European teaching staff had left for the United Kingdom with only eight dedicated boys left to fend for themselves; He called them the Faithful Eight.
The Rev R. A. Lockhart arrived in 1925 and laid a solid foundation for progress. Indeed, he was peerless in his time in terms of performance and achievement. He built classrooms and dormitories on Kwabotwe Hill and finally brought the school to the present site in 1931. He was also the main architect in bringing the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate Examination into the Gold Coast.
There have been many influential products of the school who have served not only the country and the continent of Africa but also other continents and many international bodies. Mfantsipim School has trained uncounted number of men of distinction. In the fields of medicine, engineering, education, architecture, and others, are found a number of prominent men who owe allegiance to Mfantsipim School.
Overview of the campus
- Academic sites
This area of student residence located at the foot of the Kwabotwe hill is known by the students as "Down" or the "domestic" site.
Balmer - Acquaah House
Named after Rev. W. T. Balmer and Rev G. R. Acquaah.
- William Turnbull Balmer was born at Philadelphia, a mining village near Durham, in 1866. He trained as a teacher at Westminster College, Oxford and became Headmaster of the Wesleyan School at Tenby in South Wales. In 1899 he became an ordained minister of the Wesleyan Church and in 1901 came to West Africa as an educational missionary. In 1907 he became headmaster of Mfantsipim when there were only eight dedicated boys with neither a teacher nor a Headmaster.
- Gaddiel Robert Acquaah, OBE (a renowned song composer), was an old boy of the school who later joined the teaching staff and contributed immensely to what the school is today. He was the first African Chairman and General Superintendent of the Ghana District of the Methodist Church (1950-4).
- It is noted to be the best house in the school. Some respected students in Ghana such as Adu-Boahen Safo Kwasi, Aaron Asugre, Obed Nhyira Sam also the head prefects of Mfantsipim School were affiliated this house
Pickard - Parker House
Named after Rev L. S. Pickard and Rev A. W. Parker.
- L. S. Pickard was a book steward of Methodist Book Depot who bequeathed all the income from his residuary estate to Mfantsipim for as long as the school remained under the control of the Methodist Church. He was a frequent preacher and a sports patron of the school.
- A. W. Parker was the Superintendent minister of Cape Coast Circuit in the 1890s. He led the synod in the re-establishment and maintenance of the co-educational schooling system which led to the formation of Mfantsipim and Wesley Girls High School. Rev A. W. Parker, in 1888, completed his Fanti translation of the New Testament.
Lockhart - Schweitzer House
Named after Rev R. A. Lockhart and Dr. Albert Schweitzer
- R. A. Lockhart was the headmaster of the school between 1925 and 1936. He was instrumental in securing the new buildings on Kwabotwe Hills and moved the school to its present location.
- Albert Schweitzer, with both paternal and maternal grandfathers as ministers, Dr. Albert Schweitzer followed his inner calling to be a missionary. He worked in Central Africa as a medical doctor. He helped to save a lot of lives to augment the work and image of the Wesleyan Mission.
Sarbah - Picot House
Named after John Mensah Sarbah and Rev James Picot.
- John Mensah Sarbah was an old boy, a lawyer and political leader born in 1864, and is the best known of Ghana's early nationalist pioneers. He is so prominent a figure that the university of Ghana, chose to name one of its residential halls in his honour.
- James Picot was the first headmaster and a brother to the chairman of the Wesleyan Mission at Cape Coast. Although he was then only eighteen years old, he had a laudable intention of making the school share the best European education with Africa. He was able to attract intelligent students, amongst whom were John Mensah Sarbah and J. E. Casely-Hayford who later made great impressions on Ghana's social and political scene.
Freeman - Aggrey House
- Thomas Birch Freeman is described as the father of Methodism in Ghana and was instrumental in the spread of the Gospel in the hinter lands especially in the Ashanti Region.
- James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey was a royal of Anomabu and an educator who advocated co-operation between the blacks and whites and incorporated the principles of Mfantsipim into the establishment of Achimota School.
Bartels - Sneath House
Named after Dr Francis L. Bartels and Rev Alec A. Sneath.
- Francis L. Bartels was the first African layman to be a substantive head of the School. He is remembered for his rapid reforms to lift the image of the School.
- Rev Alec A. Sneath was an efficient administrator, which made him serve on two occasions at the headmaster.
Abruquah - Monney House
Named after J. W. Abruquah and O.K. Monney
- J. W. Abruquah was the headmaster of the school from 1963 to 1970.
- O. K. Monney was first a senior housemaster before becoming headmaster in 1970-1976.He was nicknamed The Tormentor.
The current housemasters are Justice Blay and Daniel Appiah.
Meaning of Mfantsipim
William Lindsey, who entered the school in 1908, stated that the school was called Mfantsipim because "it was intended for the Fante".
Christian Word in 1910 said, translated literally, "Mfantsipim means the foundation of the Fantes".
Dr Francis Lodwic Bartels, who was a student and later, a headmaster of the school said, "Mfantsipim means a thousand Fantes". He uses the word Mfantsipim also to mean "the soul of the people".
"I want to raise up a generation of men in Mfantsipim school who will be brave enough to face the problems of their own continent practically and unselfishly" - Dr F. L. Bartels
"The spirit of service, courage, standing up for one's convictions, loyalty, integrity and dedicated patriotism." - Rev Lockhart.
"Very soon, the nation shall be amazed at the number of people who owe allegiance to this school." - Rev Lockhart
|K. M. Edjah||June 2008||Present|
|C. K. Ashun||1997||June 2008|
|B. K. Dontwi||1980||1997|
|H. V. Acquaye-Baddoo||1976||1980|
|O. K. Monney||1970||1976|
|J. W. Abruquah||1963||1970|
|Rev. W. G. M. Brandful||1961||1963|
|Dr. F. L. Bartels||1949||1961|
|Rev. A. A. Sneath||1945||1948|
|Dr. F. L. Bartels||1942||1945|
|Rev. W. A. Warren||1941||1942|
|Rev. A. S. Fenby||1937||1941|
|Rev. R. A Lockhart||1925||1936|
|Rev. R. P. Dyer||1919||1925|
|Rev. A. A. Sneath||1911||1919|
|Rev. W. T. Balmer||1907||1910|
|Rev. J. D. Russel||1907||1907|
|Rev. Thomas E. Ward||1905||1906|
|A. M Wright||1903||1905|
|Rev. George Parker||1902||1903|
|Rev J. Hannah||1902||1902|
|Rev. Edgar C. Barton||1900||1902|
|Rev. Robert H. Gush||1889||1899|
|Rev David Hinchcliff||1897||1899|
|Rev A. E. Somer||1896||1897|
|W. F. Penny (F. Egyir Asaam)||1894||1896|
|J. L. Mayne||1893||1894|
|W. F. Penny (F. Egyir Asaam)||1890||1893|
|W. F. Penny (F. Egyir Asaam)||1888||1889|
|Rev. Dennis Kemp||1888||1888|
|Rev. W. N. Cannell||1882||April 1885 and 1887 through 1888|
|Rev. M. W. Mountford||1880||1882|
|T. N. Wingfield||1879||1880|
|Rev. J. Jenkins||1878||1879|
On the occasion of the amalgamation of the collegiate and Mfantsipim schools in 1905, J. P. Brown stated: "I am looking forward to seeing men going forth from this school to become lawyers, doctors of medicine, artisans, ministers of the religion and politicians of the right sort."
The hopes and expectations of Mfantsipim products have always been very high, with Rev. Balmers' spirit, the Lockhart character, and the pronouncement of J. P. Brown looking forward to the future leaders from Kwabotwe, and Mfantsipim has more than lived up to the lofty expectations of its founders.
Mfantsipim has been called "the father of Ghanaian nationalism". In the period of the Fante Amanbuhu Fekuw (The Fanti Political Society), the Aborigines' Rights Protection Society, and the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA) - all founders and leaders were Old Boys. These are John Mensah Sarbah, Rev. Attoh-Ahuma, Rev. Egyir-Asaam, J. W. de Graft Johnson, J. E. Casely-Hayford and Kobina Sekyi.
During the third and final phase of the nationalist struggle (after 1947), though Old Boys were not very prominent in leadership roles, their contributions were nonetheless significant. It must be pointed out that among the closest lieutenants and supporters of Kwame Nkrumah and his Convention People's Party (before the Gbedemahs' and the Botsios) were Old Boys such as J. Kwesi Lamptey, Joe Appiah, A. E. Inkumsah and Saki Scheck. As far as the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) was concerned, Dr. K. A. Busia, K. K. Kurankyi Taylor and William Ofori Atta (one of the big six) were in leadership roles.
Mfantsipim made its greatest impact on the political map of Ghana during the civilian administration of the Progress Party from 1969. The then Prime Minister, Dr. K. A. Busia and his two deputies, J. Kwesi Lamptey and William Ofori Atta, K. A. Gbedemah leader of the opposition and his deputy, E. R. T. Madjitey and Dr. B. K. Agama were all old boys. Dr Ibn Chambas, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is also an Old-Boy.
Adu Boahen, a proud Mfantsipim old boy, was instrumental in the emergence of the People's Movement for Freedom and Justice (MFJ) in 1990 that relentlessly championed anti-military rule, empowering Ghanaians to seek democratic governance. After a failed attempt for the presidency of Ghana, he instituted an annual public lecture that gave Ghanaians the populist voice to articulate democratic governance.
Kow Nkensen Arkaah, became the leader of the Convention People's Party formed by the merger of the National Convention Party and the People's Convention Party. His party later formed an alliance with the National Democratic Congress and later became the Vice President of Ghana in the fourth republic.
Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur ( an old boy) is currently the Vice President of Ghana.
Products of the school have contributed immensely to the religious landscape of the country. Rev. Robert Gaddiel Acquaah was the first black president of the Methodist Church Ghana, he was instrumental in the growth of the Church during his tenure.
Professionalism and public service
The most illustrious contribution of Mfantsipim to Ghana has been in the development of professionalism and public services. The very first Ghanaians to qualify as lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, surveyors and engineers were all Old Boys. Among the lawyers were John Mensah-Sarbah, called to the bar in 1877, Kofi Asaam 1892, J.E. Casely-Hayford 1896 and Kobina Sekyi (one of the faithful eight) who became the first African to graduate in philosophy in a British University in 1913 and qualified as a barrister in 1918. Of 16 Ghanaian principal secretaries heading the various ministries in the 1960s, no less than 11 were Old Boys.
The first Ghanaians to join the UN and its agencies are Old Boys; A. E. Chinbuah, K. K. Apeadu, F. L. Bartels etc. It is therefore not surprising that the first African to be elected president of the UN General Assembly in the 1960s was Alex Quaison-Sackey, an old boy. The immediate former UN secretary General Kofi Annan is also an Old Boy.
It has been convincingly argued that the best and most brilliant group of all MOBA is the 1930/31 year group that set records in both the Cambridge certificate examinations and in life and has still not been excelled. This group included: Dr. R. P. Baffuor, the first vice chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, M. F. Dei-Anang, C. M. O. Mante, Dr. K. A. Busia, J. Kwesi Lamptey, and C. J. Bannerman. The immediate past Vice Chancellor of KNUST, Prof. Kwasi Kwarfo Adarkwa is also an old boy of the school.
In the 1930s for five consecutive years, Mfantsipim occupied first place amongst all the West African schools in the examinations of the Cambridge University. In those years, the pass list in Mfantsipim was 85% while in England it was only 61%.
Besides the political and the administration fields, the school has made a decisive impact socially.
Mfantsipim alumni contributed to building a truly Ghanaian educated class, and the development of secondary and university education in this country.
The 1880s was one of intellectual renaissance and high-water mark of journalism in Ghana. Products of Mfantsipim wrote and published the books of that period: Fanti Customary Laws (1897), Ethiopia Unbound (1911).
Even more numerous were the newspapers founded during the period. These included the Western Echo (1885), Gold Coast Chronicle (1896), Gold Coast Express (1897). Mensah-Sarbah founded two of them while Casely Hayford worked on the Western Echo.
Some of the old boys of the inter-war period became traditional rulers. Nana Ayirebi Acquah of Winneba, Nana Kobina Nketsia IV of Essikado, Sekondi and the great Ga Mantse, Nii Tackey Tawiah II, who died in 1947.
Wesley College and Trinity College are both offsprings of Mfantsipim. The first headmasters of Prempeh College and Fijai Secondary schools are direct products of Mfantsipim School.
Accra Academy, Wesley Grammar and Ghana National College were all modeled after Mfantsipim. In fact, the Headmaster of Wesley Grammar in 1960 declared that their aim was to build a second Mfantsipim.
The entire first batch of students who entered Achimota School's intermediate degree programs were all Mfantsipim boys. This was the nucleus of University of Ghana. So was the first ever school prefect of Achimota School, William Ofori Atta (Paa Willie).
Among the very first professors of the University of Ghana were all Old Boys. These are: K. A. Busia, J. K. De Graft-Johnson, K. E. de Graft Johnson, K. T. de Graft Johnson, Seth La-Anyane, K. A. Dickson, and K. B. Dickson.
All these achievements confirms the prophecy Rev. Lockhart made about more than a century ago that in few years time, the people of this country will be amazed at the number of its influential citizens who owe allegiance to Mfantsipim.
W.E. Saccoom, W. Coleman, J. Intsiful, J. Doomson, R. S. Coleman, W. E. G. Sackney, I. W. Anaman and A. Esiam collectively known as the Faithful Eight were the courageous students of Mfantsipim, who without a principal or teaching staff, met to study and help each other in 1907.
In commemoration of Mfantsipim's centenary in 1976, a monument was commissioned in their honour.
- http://www.edumfa.com/mfantsipim.htm%7CKwesi Kay
- "Administrative/Biographical history". Identity Statement. Mundus. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- k.m.edjah (headmaster)
- "Pickard Parker". Houses. www.fiankoma.org. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- "Lockhard Schweitzer". Houses. www.fiankoma.org. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- "Freeman Aggrey". Houses. www.fiankoma.org. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- "Bartels Sneath". Houses. www.fiankoma.org. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- "New headmaster for Mfantsipim School inducted". The School. www.myjoyonline.com. Retrieved 2006-06-24.[dead link]
- "An Appreciation Of Professor A. Adu Boahen (1932-2006)". In Memoriam. Akurang-Parry, Kwabena O. Retrieved 2006-06-24.
- Prof. A. Adu Boahen: Mfantsipim and the Making of Ghana
- "What does Mfantsipim Mean?" by MOBA 76, retrieved November 17, 2005