Mfantsipim School

Coordinates: 5°07′08″N 1°15′04″W / 5.119°N 1.251°W / 5.119; -1.251
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Mfantsipim School
Mfantsipim School main entrance.jpg
P.O. Box 101

Kotokuraba, Cape Coast


Coordinates5°07′08″N 1°15′04″W / 5.119°N 1.251°W / 5.119; -1.251
School typePublic secondary/high school Mission
MottoDwen Hwɛ Kan
(Think and Look Ahead)
Religious affiliation(s)Christian
Established3 April 1876; 147 years ago (1876-04-03)
Sister schoolWesley Girls High School
School districtCape Coast
HeadmasterRev. Ebenezer K. Aidoo
ChaplainRev. Selali Segbefia
Staff147 teachers
Age16 to 20
Average class size55
Colour(s)Crimson   and black  
SloganThe School
SongFor all the Saints (MHB 832)
AffiliationMethodist Church, Ghana
AlumniMfantsipim Old Boys Association (MOBA)
School AnthemDwen Hwɛ Kan

Mfantsipim is an all-boys boarding secondary school in Cape Coast, Ghana,[1][2] established by the Methodist Church in 1876 to foster intellectual, moral, and spiritual growth on the then Gold Coast. Its founding name was Wesleyan High School and the first headmaster was James Picot, a French scholar, who was only 18 years old on his appointment.

After changing its name to Wesleyan Collegiate School and Richmond College, the school, in 1905, merged with another Cape-Coast-based public high school established by John Mensah Sarbah (an old student of Wesley High School), who had established his own school called "Mfantsipim" as a rival of the Methodist-run school.

John Mensah Sarbah died five years after the merger, at the age of 46, leaving the school wholly in the hands of the Methodist Church.

Mfantsipim is nicknamed "The School" because it gave birth to other prominent schools such as Prempeh College.[3] Other schools, such as Ghana National College, were started with students from Mfantsipim. Schools established under the Mfantsipim blueprint include Achimota School, Mawuli School and Ghana Secondary Technical School. Mfantsipim trainers also started Wesley Girls High School, the nation's most prominent all-female second cycle institution.

Mfantsipim, since Ghana's independence in 1957, has produced 3 Bank of Ghana Governors, 3 Vice Presidents, and 1 Head of State.


The idea of establishing a collegiate school to raise educational standards in the Gold Coast was first mooted in 1865 but was not realized until 1876 when 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 to train teachers and began with 17 pupils. It was originally planned to be sited in 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 pressurised the government to allow the school to begin functioning, but on the understanding that it would later be moved to Accra, though no such move ever took place.

The founding name of Mfantsipim was Wesleyan High School and it was established on 3 April 1876. In 1905 a graduate of the school, John Mensah Sarbah, founded a rival school named Mfantsipim; the name derives from "Mfantsefo-apem",[4] literally meaning "thousands of Fantes" but actually meaning "the gathering of hosts of scholars for change" originally by the Fantes. In July of the same year, the two schools were merged under the supervision of the Methodist Church, keeping the name Mfantsipim.[5] John Mensah-Sarbah, who came up with the name "Mfantsipim" stated at the opening of the school that its aim was "to train up God-fearing, respectable, and intelligent lads."

I want to raise a generation of men from Mfantsipim School who will be bold enough to face the problems of their own continent practically and un-selfishly.

— Reverend W.T Balmer


The school was deemed to be a grammar school because Latin and Greek were taught there in the beginning, though it also offered other disciplines such as carpentry, art and crafts. It is an all-boys boarding school with seven dormitories or houses.

The Reverend W. T. Balmer arrived at Mfantsipim in 1907[7] on a mission to inspect the states of colleges and collegiates around West Africa at the time. On his arrival at Mfantsipim it seemed, for some reason, he had to stay. To his surprise, he only met eight boys in the entire school, with neither a teacher nor a headmaster, the then headmaster having left for the United Kingdom. Balmer named them the "Faithful Eight". One of those boys was Kobina Sekyi, who went on to become a renowned lawyer, statesman, and writer. A monument has been erected in-between the Administration Block and the Assembly Hall to perpetuate their memory.

Reverend R. A. Lockhart arrived in 1925 and laid a solid foundation for the progress of the school. He built classrooms and dormitories on the Kwabotwe Hill and finally brought the school to the present site in 1931. He was also the main architect in bringing the Cambridge School Leaving Certificate Examination into the Gold Coast (now Ghana).

Lockhart was a robust, stronghearted and principled Irishman and was critical of Gordon Guggisberg's administration and ideas about secondary education in the Gold Coast. Guggisberg had proposed to reduce the school to a basic institution, but Lockhart convinced local people to enroll more of their wards.

In few years the people of this country will be amazed at the number of its influential citizens who owe allegiance to this school.

— Reverend R.A. Lockhart


Lockhart's administration oversaw the construction of most of the buildings and structures in the school.[clarification needed] He encouraged some of the bright students of the school to become teachers, on their graduation. For example, he mentored F. L. Bartels in this direction, and through this effort, Mfantsipim finally got its first ever black headmaster.[9]

It is said that the Reverend Lockhart was a firm believer in the spirit of the black man and his abilities thereof. Asked of Bartels in France in his later years which three headmasters besides himself, were Mfantsipim's greatest, he responded: "I will give you only two – Balmer and Lockhart; you add the third."

Dr. Francis Lodwic Bartels, the first black headmaster of the school and also the school's very own product, came into office in 1949. He went from acting headmaster from 1942 to 1945, to becoming main headmaster, and serving for another 11 years, ending his service in 1961.[9][clarification needed]

One notable thing about Dr. Bartels was the close relationship he kept with the boys, encouraging them to face the world, but only with discipline. Kofi Annan, former United Nations secretary general, also an alumnus of the school, recalled: "I was one of a group of boys who sat on the floor of his office for our weekly lesson in spoken English."[10]

There have been many influential products of the school who have served, not only the country and the continent of Africa, but also continents outside Africa and many international bodies. Mfantsipim School has trained many alumni in the fields of medicine, science, engineering, education, architecture, and many other disciplines.

In 1931 the school moved to its present location on the Kwabotwe Hill in the northern part of Cape Coast on the Kotokuraba road. The school sometimes has been referred to as Kwabotwe or simply Botwe for the reason for it being on that hill.


No. Year Headmaster Nationality Comment
1 1876–78 James Picot French
2 1878–79 Rev. J. Jenkins English
3 1879–80 T. N. Wingfield English
4 1880–82 Rev. M. W. Mountford English
5 1882–85 Rev. W. N. Cannell English
6 1887–88 Rev. W. N. Cannell English
7 1888 Rev. Dennis Kemp English
8 1888–89 W. F. Penny (F. Egyir Asaam) Ghanaian
9 1889–90 J. E. Casely Hayford Ghanaian Dismissed for political activism.[11]
10 1890–93 W. F. Penny (F. Egyir Asaam) Ghanaian
11 1893–94 J. L. Mayne English
12 1894–96 W. F. Penny (F. Egyir Asaam) Ghanaian
13 1896–97 Rev. A. E. Somer English
14 1897–99 Rev. David Hinchcliff English
15 1889–99 Rev. Robert H. Gush English
16 1900–02 Rev. Edgar C. Barton English
17 1902 Rev. J. Hannah English
18 1902–03 Rev. George Parker English
19 1903–05 A. M. Wright Ghanaian
20 1905–06 Rev. Thomas E. Ward English
21 1907 Rev. J. D. Russel English
22 1907–10 Rev. W. T. Balmer English
23 1911–19 Rev. A. A. Sneath English
24 1919–25 Rev. R. P. Dyer English
25 1925–36 Rev. R. A Lockhart Irish
26 1937–41, 1942 Rev. A. S. Fenby English
27 1941–42 Rev. W. A. Warren Irish
28 1942–45 Dr. F. L. Bartels Ghanaian Acting
29 1945–48 Rev. A. A. Sneath English
30 1949–61 Dr. F.L. Bartels Ghanaian
31 1961–63 Rev. W. G. M. Brandful Ghanaian
32 1963–70 J. W. Abruquah Ghanaian
33 1970–76 O. K. Monney Ghanaian
34 1976–78 H. V. Acquaye-Baddoo Ghanaian
35 1978–97 B. K. Dontwi Ghanaian
36 1997–08 C. K. Ashun Ghanaian
37 2008–14 Koame Mieza Edjah Ghanaian
38 2014–16 J. K. A. Simpson Ghanaian
39 2016–2020 Manfred Barton-Oduro Ghanaian
40 2020–present Rev. Ebenezer K. Aidoo Ghanaian


Alumni of the school include:



  1. ^ "Mfantsipim Senior Secondary School" Archived 28 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Ghana Schools.
  2. ^ "Tears at Mfantsipim school amidst tight security". Ghanaweb. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Mfantsipim School" Archived 28 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Ghana Nation, 13 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Meaning of 'Mfantsipim'". AfricaSchoolsOnline. 7 June 2017. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  5. ^ Richard Bagudu (2007). Judging Annan. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781425960933, pp. 22–23.
  6. ^ "I want to raise a generation of men from Mfantsipim..." ModernGhana. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Rev. W.T Balmer". Ghanaweb. 24 June 2017. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  8. ^ David Ghartey-Tagoe: A Broadcast Icon. Xlibris Corporation. 28 July 2010. p. 41. ISBN 9781453542071. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  9. ^ a b Adu-Boahene, A. (January 1996). Mfantsipim and the Making of Ghana: A Centenary History. Sankofa Educational Publishers. pp. 52–3. ISBN 9789988763114.
  10. ^ "Kofi Annan Recalls Memories of his High School Headmaster". ModernGhana. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Casely-Hayford, J. E.", Makers of Modern Africa: Profiles in History, London: Africa Journal Ltd for Africa Books Ltd, 1981, pp. 125–126.
  12. ^ Appiah, Edwin, "Kofi Annan led 'demo' over food at Mfantsipim", Joy Online, 10 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Mfantsipim 2014 National Science & Maths Quiz". 9 July 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.

External links[edit]

Media related to Mfantsipim School at Wikimedia Commons