Chapter 1: Growing up

Chapter 1: Growing up

  • date
  • November 4, 2014

wcaptExcepts from “The political History of Ghana (1950-2014)”
Chapter 1: Growing up

…Caning by teachers was the order of the day back then. It made going to school an unpleasant experience, as some teachers were particularly wicked. When my older brother came to teach my class at the junior school, he whipped me to no end on the theory that you must be harsher on your own than on others. I was not amused by this treatment, as I was comparatively a good pupil. There was no point complaining to my parents either, as my father, with his German and Presbyterian training, also caned us regularly. He considered it an appropriate antidote to infractions of discipline and the best thing that could happen to us. My getting neighbours and relatives, particularly my brother-in-law, Mathias Agble, to intervene and to plead for mercy invariably only postponed the evil. My father had the knack of allowing my siblings and I to go to sleep thinking we had escaped punishment only to be woken up early the next morning around 4:00 a.m. to receive our punishment.

From Likpe Mate Junior School, I followed my elder brother E. K. Asamoah to the Senior School in Bodada, Buem, where he taught. I was his houseboy. He, too, was a disciplinarian, but I benefitted from his tutoring. Under his guidance, I passed the Common Entrance Examination in 1949. Then, I had to undergo an interview process with the officials of the secondary school along with the other pupils from the Volta Region seeking admission. This was held in Ho on the campus of the newly constructed Mawuli School.

It was there that I met my lifelong friend Capt. Kojo Tsikata, who had also arrived for the interview, from Keta. Because my surname started with A, my interview came early in the day. Then I was given a form to take to the officials of Mfantsipim Secondary School, which was my second choice, for an interview. While I was waiting for the second interview, Kojo Tsikata came up to me and enquired where the Mfantsipim officials were conducting their interviews. I was sitting on a guava tree and had been plucking and eating the fruits, and he soon joined me in this exercise. After we had finished our interviews, we stayed on in Ho for about a week, playing around until our money ran out. We were tasting freedom from parental supervision for the first time, and it was sweet.

On my way back to Bodada, I passed by my elder sister’s place at Hohoe to collect some money to continue my journey. I was met with a severe reprimand and great reluctance to be given any money. Apparently, someone (I suspected one particular pupil from my hometown who had also been at Ho) had reported to my sister that Achimota had rejected me. He must have assumed that I had been sent to be interviewed for Mfantsipim because Achimota had not accepted me. He had not been given a second chance and he interpreted that to mean that he had secured admission to Achimota. I believed then that he was probably right, and I was heartbroken. However, after much pleading and a show of appropriate remorse, my sister, a midwife, finally gave me the money to continue my journey. When the results of the interviews were released, I found that I had gained admission to Achimota School, and so had Kojo Tsikata. The pupil whom I believed had misinformed my sister did not gain admission to Achimota School.


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