We invite commentaries from writers all over. The subject is about Ghana and the world. We reserve the right to accept or reject submissions, but we are not necessarily responsible for the opinions expressed in articles we publish.
.           Home

We invite responsible response to articles on our pages.  Response should not be less than 200 words. Write to: The Editor, editor@ghanadot.com


Bank of Ghana Daily Interbank FX Rates
Dr. Albert Wright
Dr. Albert Wright


At the head table
Dr & Mrs. Albert Wright (r)
Dr. Wright was the keynote speaker
Old Boys


The Charge We Have to Keep:

The Role of Mfantsipim Old Boys in the Diaspora

 A Keynote Address by Prof. Albert M Wright

MOBA USA Fund Raising Dinner Dance

May 27, 2017


Thank you, Brother Ampah, for your very kind words. Mr. Chairman, Mr. President and MOBA Executive, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, and Fellow Mfantsipim Old Boys:

I consider it a great joy and honor for me to be invited to deliver the keynote address at this maiden event of MOBA USA.

In preparing this address, I have benefited from inputs from a number of people and a number of sources. Foremost among those who have encouraged and helped me all the way have been my immediate family members, adopted children from the School, friends, and some Old Boys. To all of them, I am extremely grateful.

I have also relied on several published sources; and the one on which I have relied the most is the book on the definitive and authoritative history of Mfantsipim School written by the late Professor Adu Boahen, a former Professor of History at the University of Ghana, Legon who was two years ahead of me at Mfantsipim. The title of his book is “Mfantsipim and the Making of Ghana”. It covers the period 1876 to 1976. It is a highly illuminating history of the School which I would like to recommend to all Old Boys.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, I understand from the leaders of MOBA USA that this is a fundraising dinner, and that you are hoping to use part of the proceeds to support needy students at Mfantsipim. This is a very noble and praiseworthy cause which I hope to address in the course of the evening.

Please allow me to thank and congratulate the Executive of MOBA USA for choosing as the theme of this “outdooring” event – “The Role of Mfantsipim Old Boys in Diaspora”. What a great theme! It is my hope that by the end of the event it will be very clear to us all what that role should be.

My topic for tonight reflects this theme. It also reflects a phrase I have adapted from Hymn No. 578 in the Methodist Hymn Book. And it is: “The Charge We Have to Keep: The Role of Mfantsipim Old Boys in the diaspora”; but before addressing this topic, I thought I should first share a story with you.


The hero of this story is John Mensah Sarbah.

It all began in 1876 when, at 12, he became one of the 10 founding members of the first secondary school in the Gold Coast, the Wesleyan High School. Two years later, he was sent to England to study at Queen’s College, Taunton in Somerset, England, matriculating from there in 1884. He entered Lincoln’s Inn the same year, and in 1887, he became the first person from the Gold Coast to qualify as a lawyer after being called to the bar in Lincoln’s Inn in London.

He then returned home to the Gold Coast to start his legal practice. At age 33, 60 years before our independence, he and others founded the Aborigines Rights Protection Society or the ARPS in 1897. The immediate purpose of this Society was to oppose a lands appropriation bill that sought to place all stool lands under British imperial rule.

It was the successful opposition of the ARPS to this Land bill that prevented the Gold Coast from going the Apartheid way, and from going through the experience of the Mau Mau struggle of Kenya. Their success paved the way for us to gain our independence when we gain it, and also put us in a position to help freedom fighters elsewhere in Africa.


The ARPS was established when most of the educated elite, especially those that had been exposed to education in Britain and America, had become dissatisfied with the existing missionary education system. They saw the system as Eurocentric, eroding African culture and assimilating its people into western culture. To reverse this trend, they attempted to establish their own secondary schools. Some of them chose to do so single-handedly and at the personal level; attempts were made to establish at least two such schools: and the evidence shows that these efforts didn’t succeed.

What John Mensah Sarbah did was different.

First, he was opportunistic:

- Although the ARPS was established for political purposes, Mensah Sarbah and his colleagues in the Society saw it as offering an opportunity for use also as the platform for their struggle against the existing missionary school system, rather than pursuing those goal in their individual personal capacities. Consequently, they included an article on education in the aims of the constitution of the ARPS. It read as follows::

“To foster in the rising generation a knowledge of their historic past, and to encourage the study of the laws, customs and institutions of their country to promote a sound national educational policy with particular attention to agriculture, scientific and industrial training, and generally to facilitate the spread of industry and thrift in the whole country”.

- With this as their justification the Society was used by Mensah Sarbah and his colleagues as the platform for the establishment of Mfantsipim; in fact, it was the ARPS that donated the land on which the School now stands. Called Kwabotwe Hill, the area was named after the original owner of the land who was called Kwa Botwe.

Second, he was a visionary:

- He saw education, not as an end in itself, but as a means to national development.


- He and his colleagues in the ARPS hoped that Mfantsipim would eventually lead to an ideological institute much like the Winneba Ideological Institute of the CPP (Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party). As reflected in the constitution of the ARPS to which I have alluded above, it was the hope of Sarbah that the School would create a new kind of educated African who would be very conversant with the traditions and customs of his ancestors. He was therefore hoping that, in addition to the normal English curriculum, emphasis would be placed on African history, African languages, and African culture. Emphasis would also be placed on agricultural and industrial training that, would enable future generations to have a vested interest in the development of their country. These hopes are reflected in the Mfantsipim crest.

Third, he was strategic:

- His goal was to establish a school that would be a rival to his old high school which had by then been re-named as the Wesleyan Collegiate School. But the establishment of the school was not his first step he took.

- His first step was rather to ensure that an educational goal was included in the constitution of the ARPS even though it had been established for political purposes.

- Next, he established a Trust fund, the Fanti National Education Trust Fund to help with financing the running of the school which he hoped to establish; this done, he invited chiefs and others to contribute to the fund.

- After this, working through the Society, he established an education company known as the Fanti Public Schools Limited.

- It was this Company that took the lead in establishing the new secondary school that was to be the rival of Wesleyan Collegiate School.

- Originally, the company wanted to adopt the name “Collegiate”; but this was disallowed by the Missionaries; so, they adopted “Mfantsipim” as its name.

- Not long after, the two high schools were merged together under the name: “Mfantsipim”.

In effect, the School that was being established by this company was only the first step in implementing a farsighted pan-African vision that they envisioned long before pan Africanism became a popular political goal.

Fourth, he had a grand vision reaching out beyond Mfantsipim to Ghana and Africa. His choice of “Mfantsipim” as the name for the school gives us some insight into this grand vision beyond the School.

- People have interpreted the name of the school in a variety of ways. Some have said that it means “a thousand Fantes”; others have suggested that it means “a countless number of Fantes; and still others have said it means “the foundation of the Fantes”. A common feature in the suggested meanings is that it was meant to reflect the fact that it was a school only for Fantes. Some have said that it was so called partly because some of the members of the ARPS believed that Fante could become a second common language in the Gold Coast after English; others have said that in those days, the term “Fanti” appeared to be synonymous with “nation” or “national”. A thorough review of the various contexts in which the term “Mfantsipim” had been used in newspapers of the time and by others shows that the term had been used to refer to chiefs, kings, and the people of the country.

- Furthermore, the school crest, which Mensah Sarbah got his brother-in-law to design, demonstrated that his vision went beyond one school in Cape Coast.

- This crest looked the same as it does today, except that the shield was surrounded by two circles, and within them the following were written: Asanti, Mfantsi, Wassaw, Akwapim, Accra, Sekondi, Oguaa and Apollonia, a place near Axim.

- A glimpse at the broad reach of his grand vision beyond Mfantsipim and the Gold Coast can also be gleaned from one of the aims of the Fanti Public Schools Company which was "to provide, found, build, establish, conduct, carry on and endow in the Gold Coast and other parts of Africa, schools, colleges, Universities ...".

Lastly, he was always thinking ahead:

- He was clearly always thinking ahead. I am inclined to think that it is this habit of thinking ahead that he wanted inculcated in students at Mfantsipim School.

- The motto we know so well, “Dwin Hwe Kan”, was proposed by him.

- In this motto, he was inviting us to follow his example. He was inviting us always to “think ahead”; to “think beyond the present”; to “be forward looking and forward thinking, not myopic”; in short, he wanted us to “be strategic in our thinking”.
- This is the approach he had successfully used in establishing the School; and this is the approach he was inviting us to follow;

- His motto – or rather, our School Motto - is a perpetual call to arms; through it, he was giving us a charge to be strategic in our thinking.

- To the School authorities, he was extending an invitation to work, not on ad-hoc basis, but through strategic plans. He is calling them now to be strategic about how they should develop the School; and

- To MOBA, he is extending an invitation to be strategic in determining how best we can be helpful to our School.

Just us he started with a 19th century Vision, he was and is still challenging us to start the journey of this new MOBA by developing our own 21st century vision. He was/is saying that the actions we take today should not be stand-alone actions that are meant only to serve immediate needs. They should be the first steps in a series of steps that will lead us to well-considered desired future goals. We should have the future in mind as we take actions today.

Fortunately for the School, we are constantly pledging to do just that. We do so whenever we sing the School Anthem. In it, we pledge to EMBRACE and WORK with his charge of thinking ahead that is enshrined in our School Motto. In effect, we are constantly committing ourselves, saying that we have a charge to keep. This charge is to think and act strategically.

Given this background, what should be your role today?

As an octogenarian, I am passing the torch to your generation to lead the charge in thinking strategically about how to help support our alma mater.

In so doing, I will not leave you without offering a few words of advice for your kind consideration:

You are currently thinking of helping the School in two different ways. One is to contribute to the Endowment Fund; the other is to support needy students. These are great ideas. However, given the charge to be strategic, can you say that these two areas in which you plan to help are part of a strategic plan or not?

I can imagine that the support to needy students may be a pressing need that cannot await the formulation of a strategic plan; but the contribution to the endowment fund is less urgent. It could, therefore, very well be taken up within the context of an overall strategic plan. This would be my suggestion. But the decision is yours to make and own.

Meanwhile, the experience from the history of Mfantsipim School and from the recent experience of other schools suggests that, in the absence of a plan, one of the best ways to help a school would be to help it to attract and retain good quality staff. This calls for providing some incentives and training to all levels of staff, including the headmaster, retirees, and the administrative staff. For this reason, a high priority may be given to providing support for staff, using competition, where appropriate. As a matter of fact, one of the many things that John Mensah Sarbah did was to establish a fund at Mfantsipim to pay the salaries of staff when the school ran into financial difficulties. We too could do something similar today.

Next to providing support to staff would be the provision of support to students. Here too, I would not limit myself to supporting needy students. I would also consider introducing incentives for academic excellence, introducing something like MOBA USA Scholarships for which students in their first years can compete.

Finally, I would encourage the introduction of programs for overseas visits by staff and students who win MOBA USA awards. I would also encourage sponsoring accomplished people to visit the School to inspire the student to greater heights.


John Mensah Sarbah will always be a shining example of an Mfantsipim Old Boy who developed the vision of Mfantsipim which we are called to fulfil. His accomplishments have been vast, and go beyond Mfantsipim and even Ghana. They have been acknowledged not only by Mfantsipim School, but also by the University of Ghana and by the Ghanaian public as a whole. He has been described as: one of the most illustrious sons of Ghana; a pioneer in the struggle for independence from British rule; a philanthropic lawyer; a lay clergy; and one who made his mark on national life in politics, education, and law; as an educationist, he was deemed to be dedicated to the promotion of education in his country as a whole.

In sum, he was: opportunistic, visionary, strategic, had a grand vision beyond Mfantsipim, and was always thinking ahead.

For these accomplishments, he has been recognized in various ways, including the following:

 He was elected twice to the Legislative Council of the Gold Coast – in 1901 and in 1906.

 He was accorded British Royal recognition: In the first birthday honors of King George V of England, John Mensah Sarbah was recognized with the award of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1910, a few months before his sudden death at 46.

 He was recognized by Mfantsipim: In 1925, 15 years after his death, one of the then three dormitories at Mfantsipim School (previously given the alphabetical letters of X, Y, and Z) was named after him – the remaining two being named after Freeman and Balmer; and;

 He was recognized by Ghana’s premier university: In 1963, over 50 years after his death, the University of Ghana at Legon named one of its Halls of Residence after him for his contributions to education in Ghana.


Based upon the foregoing, my suggestions for the way forward would be as follows:

1. Help the School to prepare a strategic plan
2. Prepare a strategic plan of your own

In the interim:

1. Provide Staff Support, including support for staff retirees, where appropriate
2. Provide Student Support along the lines such as those suggested above.

In going forward, please remember that you have a charge to keep: Remember that in the School Anthem, you promise to embrace this charge, make it your own, and work with it.

Above all, remember to be strategic and forward thinking in all you do for the School.

Fellow Kwa Botwe Old Boys, you have been called to arms by this illustrious son of ours.

Through our motto and the School Anthem, he is inviting you and me to follow his example and keep the charge; and I hope that we will be up to the task!

Dwin Hwe Kan, always! Think Ahead and be Strategic always!

This is the charge you have to keep!

God Bless You! God Bless Mfantsipim! THANK YOU.


 Dr. Albert Wright

Washington DC, May 28, 2017



Web www.ghanadot.com


This List Of Attacks Against Conservatives Is Mind Blowing
DailyCaller, June 16, Ghanadot - The Huffington Post publishes an article calling for the execution of Trump and “everyone assisting his agenda.”....Then, shots ring out as a man gorged on media hysteria attempts to slaughter Republican congressmen while they practice for a charity baseball game......  .More.. 



The Role of Mfantsipim Old Boys in the Diaspora
Review, June 12, Ghanadot -  As an octogenarian, I am passing the torch to your generation to lead the charge in thinking strategically about how to help support our alma mater. ...


Kwame Nkrumah: World Peace, African Unity and a United Ghana
Review May 30, Ghanadot - “We all want a United Africa, United not only in our concept of what unity connotes, but united in our common desire to move forward together in dealing with all the problems that can best be solved only on a continental basis.” Kwame Nkrumah.



Zika outbreak fuelled by mosquito control failure, says WHO boss
BBC, May 24, Ghanadot - The spread of Zika is the price being paid for a massive policy failure on mosquito control, says World Health Organization leader Margaret Chan......More


ABC, Australia
The EastAfrican, Kenya
African News Dimensions
Chicago Sun Times
The Economist
Reuters World
CNN.com - World News

All Africa Newswire
Google News
The Guardian, UK
Africa Daily
IRIN Africa
The UN News
Daily Telegraph, UK
Daily Nation, East Africa

BBC Africa News, UK
Legal Brief Africa
The Washington Post

Daily Mail, UK
Mail & Guardian, S. Africa
The Washington Times
Voice of America

Business & Financial Times

New York Times
Vanguard, Nigeria
Christian Science Monitor
Yahoo/Agence France Presse


Ghanaian Papers
Market Place
Official Sites
Pan-African Page
Social Scene


Currency Converter
Educational Opportunities
Job Opening

Send This Page To A Friend: