Presentation by Magnus RexDanquah at the 143rd Founders Day celebration at Mfantsipim school on Saturday, 6th April 2019 on the “Let Mfantsipim Pass Through You”
I want to start my lecture by telling a simple story of a student I met this morning. He is a science student and a basketball player. I asked if he is a member of the Volleyball team, but he said No. I asked what the relationship between his Science subjects and the games and he gave me a number of jargons, but I said I wasn’t interested in the terminologies.
What I ended up making him accept was the fact that any sportsman or women should be a better science student and not an ordinary student. I used the principle of ‘corner-to-goal’ to support my argument.
You see the history of Mfantsipim is about the story of the Founding Fathers, their thoughts, dreams, aspirations, their quest to make this country, Ghana, then Gold Coast a much better place than they met it. In fact, it was even more about other people’s children than their own for what they were: rich, accomplished in their fields of endeavour, very educated but not selfish nor desiring their children to place others in bondage and servitude.
In fact, it was to produce the leaders for the nation, knowing that the colonial power would leave one day soon, so as a people we had to prepare ourselves to take over.
The collection of their thoughts, aspirations, and dreams are what constitute the DNA that we should all have after leaving this school – MFANTSIPIM.
It means that after school, you ought to have a re-orientation or re-structuring of your original DNA, made up of the genes of your parents.
To LET MFANTSIPIM PASS THROUGH YOU to become – therefore is a holistic change of values, beliefs, principles and philosophies that ought to influence our lives as students and past students. These are also to a large extent moulded by the School Name, School Anthem, School Song, School Logo/Crest, and School Motto – DWEN HWE KAN.
In our days, we went through this metamorphosis within 5 years to the ‘O’ levels and an additional 2 years for the ‘A’ level.
However, in our current dispensation of 3 years of compressed education, if care is not taken we might lose sight of this aspect of our education, which might disrupt the CONTINUUM.
For me, ‘MFANTSIPIM’ is like the Biblical ‘HOUSE OF JACOB’ to this nation.
Over the last 143 years, this ‘HOUSE OF MFANTSIPIM’ has been influenced by the collective exploits of the Founding Fathers, Headmasters, Masters, Prefects, Old Boys who sell the brand to the world: and each and every one of us have been doing exactly that by our lifestyles, attitudes to work and national issues, and the communities in which we find ourselves.
You will appreciate that the ‘House of Jacob’ had small houses within it according to his twelve (12) sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin. Each son had his smaller house also with set blessings pronounced by Jacob.
Your generation, by my loose counting, could be the 139th or 140th of the ‘House of Mfantsipim’, going by the first graduation of the School being three or four years after the establishment of the School in 1876.
By my reckoning, names matter not only in religion and culture but in all things, and why the naming of the dormitories are also important for us to begin to discuss and pay some attention to.
It is time for all of us to begin to engage ourselves to look at the contributions of the gentlemen that we have named our dormitories after because their exploits also shape the DNA of the students who reside there.
We thus now have fourteen (14) TRIBES under the ‘House Of Mfantsipim’, namely: –
These fourteen (14) gentlemen / tribes all have their different characteristics influenced by their exploits, philosophies of life, attitudes, appreciation of life and achievements. Thus, all boarders of these specific dormitories should over time learn to inculcate these traits or attributes in your lives.
Indeed, if each and every one of you appreciates this aspect of your life and development here in the School, you will begin to take better care of the things in the dormitory and the consciousness to put things right without any prodding. In fact, the administration would also then not look for extra funds every term to amend and repairs thins.
Finally, what I have for you the students is what I term the MFANTSIPIM TIME CAPSULE, which is akin to the ‘DWEN HWE KAN’ philosophy.
As an Mfantsipim student of old, not your generation, we should remember the author H. G. Wells and his book “THE TIME MACHINE”, which gave the characters the opportunity to travel through space and time: into the past and the future.
This is the principle: every final year, form 3 students should look into the future and imagine all their dreams, aspirations, desires, the kind of future they envisage for themselves to provide the continuum of all that Mfantsipim stands for to this nation, Ghana, the African continent and the world: where you will be in –
and write down these ambitions, dreams, aspirations and plans on sheets, envelope them and place them into the MFANTSIPIM TIME CAPSULE, which will be sealed and positioned as part of a planned Heritage site for the School.
Thus, each decade when you will have to come back to this campus to celebrate, then you check how right you have been. Please note that hitting the point does not make you a failure, it is only another opportunity to reconfigure your life for a second chance.
The DNA of Mfantsipim offers us all second, third, fourth and as many chances as possible in this life, so long as you stay straight to the ideals of the School and the Founding Fathers, appreciating the principles of the School Crest, the School Song and the School Anthem.
It is also imperative to strive to be the very embodiment of these time-tested principles underpinning the Mfantsipim ideals: to lead wherever you find yourself.
The Founding Fathers saw a looming future where the colonialists would leave the shores of Ghana, West Africa and Africa ONE DAY sooner or later, and took a collective decision to prepare the natives, then Gold Coasters and now Ghanaians – us all here assembled to take over the reins of governance, industry, agriculture, education and indeed all facets of our lives as symbolized by the School Crest / Coat-of-arms or logo. That was why at a certain point in time, Old Boys occupied 13 out of 16 positions of Principal Secretaries then and now Chief Directors of the listed Ministries.
This is an exercise for each and every one of us to see into the future, set benchmarks of life, forecast our own future so we could appreciate LIFE better.
DWEN HWE KAN is not just a School motto or a calling to arms but the right clarion call to all of us to duty, not for ourselves and our families but for our communities, towns, cities, nation, humanity, churches, all peoples and for leadership.
It is only when an OLD BOY, who has experienced what Mfantsipim truly is and allowed it to pass through him, modified his natural DNA within the precepts of the School, would you be said to have truly lived to be countered as one of the SAINTS as sang each time we assemble.
It is to be appreciated that for us, MFANTSIPIM is Ghana’s ‘House of Jacob’ of Biblical times and we cannot afford to fail our nation, Ghana and Africa as the Founding Fathers planned and why they planned to have Mfantsipim School and University across Africa over 143 years ago.
Thank you for your attention and the opportunity to serve Mfantsipim as always.
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