“All form one boys should line up in front of the cadet square and scavenge anything in sight including the gravels on tarred roads leading to the Administration Block from the Swimming Pool through to G’burg House.”
This was the guttural voice of Tula, the Eastern Campus Dining Hall Prefect. It was a period akin to the rapture in the military – you are first broken down and then rebuilt! If you survive the first 2 weeks, then you can sail through successfully. In the ‘iron-rod’ hands of the old system students from forms 3 to Upper Six, we were to endure the torture for 9 months!
In 1992 and in the second batch of the new system, we had only the first batch ahead of us followed by the old system forms 3 to Upper 6 and their girls in green and brown uniforms were like fresh mothers. Buoy!
25 Years Ago
These were men with beard and muscles and women with ‘everything’, while we were just ‘anything’ lumped together like sparrow birds caught in a ‘fowlers’ net! ‘Bob Say’ (real name Mr. Robert Asiedu, the Headmaster at the time, had to intervene in a lingering controversy or was it a tussle as to the exact level of the SSS 1 student and made it clear that being an SSS1 student was the co-equal of being a form 5 student! Period! Matter finish!
But for this timely intervention, there could have been chaos on campus as the likes of ‘Ap33p33’, ‘Tula’, ‘Sokoto’ and a few ‘deadly’ and muscular ones would not let us be. The likes of ‘Tippa I-Ray’ by their muscles and stature discouraged most of us from joining the school’s cadet corps, because they wondered what ‘babies’ like us could be doing in the midst of bearded giants! By their body build-up, they were already soldiers – complete men with 6-packs and for us, one pack each, even Agya Ackah had only one.
The Young Have Grown
Ei, Agya just celebrated his birthday with the likes of Ethel Vardon-Odonkor, my special one, Cynthia and Serwaa! Too many February borns in the Achimota 1994 Year Group! But they should wait till we get to April when the Philip Wellintons and Eric Okyere Amanqwa (Hine Hine) start celebrating their birthdays in April! Almost everyday in April, an Old Achimotan was born! Mr. Wuver, Gyamfi Housemaster acclaimed as the ‘hardest’ house master ever in the history of Motown was more than any serious Ph.D programme one could think of. In fact Wuver was a case study as far as instilling discipline in tough students was concerned! During his tenure I can recall when those students regarded as most recalcitrant in other houses were transferred to Gyamfi House, for purposes of Discipline! May your soul rest in perfect peace, Ojor Walata!
I recall vividly how the then McCarthy House Master could not handle Ojor anymore and asked for his transfer to Gyamfi House for Wuver to manage! Did Gyamfi House house some of the most brilliant students of Achimota as well? Oh yes, once it has been established that the likes of Philip Osafo Quarqoo, Philip Dodu, Kofi Dodu Asomaning (Asupi) were all in Gyamfi House! Notwithstanding his high-handedness, Wuver equally never slept in peace throughout his tenure as housemaster. He went through hell in the hands of Gyamfi House boys, but his philosophy was that ‘if the crying baby would not let his mother sleep, he would also not sleep’.
None of these is a soldier today
The boys from Lugard, Aggrey, Livingstone, Fraser, Stopford Houses among others were not left out on discipline, nonetheless. Sad to say I just remembered my closest buddy, Delali Atikpui, also a Gyamfi House boy, an undisputed football gem who never got to play for the Black Stars! If ever you’ve heard of the reactions that followed whenever the name Salifu Amankwa was mentioned at Nkrumah Circle, then you would understand what it means when the name Wuver was mentioned!
Most of our girls in Clarke, Slessor, Kingsley, SOA and Houses 17 were famous for their high sense of discipline. Our year group Leader, Alberta Ama Ahiabor and a few notable ones were the ‘primp pro’ ‘babes’ on campus – extremely disciplined, to the extent that they could virtually get out of the bathroom showers to visit the ‘l…o..o..o’ just to pass gas - simple! Achimota Tutors were simply awesome! Can’t forget Mr Justice Wilson, aka Bottom P, and his ‘rasta’ citroen jalopy powered by a suspected ‘okada’ engine!
All of these are Mums and Dads today
This Father-Christmas-look-alike bearded man ‘disturbed’ the whole compound anytime he was going out from his McCarthy House ‘bonglo’ or returning to campus. In fact, his relationship with his jalopy was synonymous with a one-time Black Stars player and slaps – inseparable! Memories of Sonbi aka Hanson Evenornornyo, the ‘unnecessarily’ strict housemaster of Livingstone House and Man Akpet (Mr Akpetey), the mystery Mathematics Tutor who was profoundly proverbial remain fresh in our minds.
‘When you dig dig dig and come across water, that’s not me; when you dig dig dig and you find fire, it is still not me. You have to keep digging till you find me, Man Akpet!’, he would boastfully utter as far as the areas of Advanced Mathematics was concerned! Agric Science Tutor, the late Man Aryee, who had a wooden pair of shoes should have been alive today to see us give back to our school in such ecstasy, balour and candor to mark the 92nd Bonfire night on Achimota campus on March 1 st 2019! I recall once asking Man Aryee during an Agric lesson on the categories of agric produce ‘whether sugar cane was a fruit crop’ and his immediate answer was ‘you are a f**l; it is a vegetable’. Really?
I'd never imagined becoming an Immigration Officer - Munira
After the bonfire, we shall all go to the school farm (ie if it is still there) to see things for ourselves and that would answer this question. I can hear the sounds of the school bell ringing in the towers of the Grey City, calling on the Christian Godogas, the Awotwis, the Sewordzi’s, the Owusu-Sekyeres, the Yvonne Manukures, the Lucky Woanyas, the Kwaku Kpekpes, the Ethel Dandzos, the Elizabeth Olympios, the Leticia Boyes, the Ato Stephens, the Christian Atinyos and many others across the world to come let’s give back to our school 25 years after leaving the ‘graffiti-infested’ walls of Motown. Shhhh! Please don’t tell anyone o, ‘Bob Say’ and his lieutenants, Mr Amartey Amarh and Ms. Matei, the Asst Headmistress in charge of ‘dismissals and indefinite suspensions’ would be there to witness for themselves whether we are indeed ‘Living waters to a thirsty land!’ Undoubtedly, our Class of 1994 is noted for some of the best, weirdest and most memorable moments in the history of the School.
If for nothing at all, we were the first to have members who kept snakes and scorpions as pets in chop-boxes and trunks! Anyhow, whether sugar cane is a fruit crop or not, I am sure your participation in the Bonfire Night, on Friday March 1, 2019 and other events scheduled to mark the 92nd Founders’ Day celebration could make you ask ‘…but where is the school farm?
The Innocent Trio in 1992. Are they still innocent