There was no Kwame Nkrumah shrine to visit that day. His mausoleum is under rehabilitation. But I realized that Ghana, our beloved country, has gone too far in celebrating the same character.
But I was creative. What I did next was allow my mind the freedom to drift to Osagyefo’s recent experiences, and pretend I had actually witnessed the event.
I quickly remembered two things. Last month, I said hello to Samia Nkrumah, Osagefu’s beloved daughter at my brother’s 77th anniversary party in East Legon. May this pass Nkrumah Memorial Day.
Secondly, I can remember my visit to the renovated Ghana Museum in Accra in June of this year. It will also be a souvenir. The Ghana Council of Museums has done a fantastic job restoring Kwame Nkrumah’s official car to the new museum, and his black 1960’s limousine.
It was probably in that ‘limo’ that Nkrumah rode with Queen Elizabeth II, when she visited Ghana in 1961.
I am glad that the government, though not overly enthusiastic about Osagefu, has kept Kwame’s memory alive, both as founder and part of the founders. For me, Kwame Nkrumah was a great Ghanaian leader. And human as it were, he has flaws.
The best that a nation can do is emphasize Nkrumah’s strengths, showcase it for national development, and emulate it young people. He believes that the debate about the founder or founders need not be exaggerated. There is more work to be done than the connotations of nation building. Dai work on the ground.
The best thing I can do on Nkrumah Memorial Day is to visit Mensah Sarpa Hall, Legon, my school. This was not by chance. The man for whom the hall is named, John Mensah Sarb was a great figure and Nkrumah’s idol.
When creating the newest residence hall in Legon in 1963, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah admitted that he was inspired by a character dear to his heart, whose works and noble ideals he sought to imitate. This was John Mansah Sarba: a jurist, statesman, educator and patriot.
Sarbah, the torchbearer of the founding of Mfantsipim, Ghana’s oldest high school that fought hard for gender equality in the courts of law; This is what Nkrumah sought to extend to higher education.
Serbah, with its promiscuity from the start, was experimental in Osagevo’s vision. Unable to attend Sarbah’s commissioning in 1963, Nkrumah sent his minister Kojo Botsio to read his speech.
Looking at the Nkrumah-Sirbah vision mix afterwards, I visited the hall on Nkrumah Memorial Day. But that was also at a time when Mensah Sarabah Hall still wore mourning clothes. The bust of their teacher has not been found since he was kidnapped by the Vandals in early March, allegedly during a nightly engagement.
What was left of the monument, was the trunk, an empty base on which the great teacher of students stood. The memorial’s disappearance overnight has had a profound effect on me, ever since I led the bust installation in February 2002, as Hall Master.
In the early afternoon last Wednesday, dozens of Sarba alumni led us to a tearful visit to the void, and solemnly floated ideas on how to revive the hall’s spirit in the shortest possible time. In a way, such low-key moments in history create opportunities for greater things to come out of the ashes.
And I can assure everyone that the hall is currently at the dawn of a major spiritual rebirth unprecedented in the history of the University.
Those who are familiar with the procedures of the alumni of Sarba should be used for the role of mpusuo in the affairs of the hall. This is often the moment when Vikings and men and women come together and sip hot and intense goat soup cheerfully, while discussing matters of utmost importance. This is the hall where mpusuo is enjoyed in times of joy and times of sorrow, but by all means in moments of recreation.
Thanks to the order we held, attendance was high at the meeting itself and even greater on item 13, in the loggia. The location of the two successive events was strategic, and enabled the characteristic scent of goats, gently billowing, to break through the walls and permeate the adjacent meeting partially disrupting the proceedings.
Signals of the invitation were clear, and soon a motion to postpone the proceedings was immediately granted by myself and the Head of Alumni, His Eminence Albert Neunew.
Here is a summary of the attendees for that day: Vikings through the decades the oldest of which was the 1970s group, represented by the encyclopedia “Reverend” Osu Ansah approved in the hall; The ’80s and ’90s were probably the winners in the numbers game; Events in the 2000s were almost catching up, and the 2021 baby boomers were on their way.
A nobleman we have sorely missed is the king and founder of mpusuo, Nana Tuom, a Viking from the Apuri Mountains, who volunteered over 15 years to write off all expenses on the mpusuo, and with a rag around his torso, scoop in hand they cooked the most luxurious nakuan prima in the history of tertiary education.
Even our Vandal competitors envy his mubuzu recipe, which has since been patented.
Guess who did the taste test and declared the soup fit for purpose before consumption began. Yours truly, Kwatriot, with the support of Principal Alumni His Excellency Albert Neunew, Master of the Hall, Roger; Dean of Students Rosina Kerimating, Josephine, former Vice-Masters, and Senior Instructor, Dr. Darko. Not even our taste testers, our constitution won’t allow for any false starts.
And who did you meet? First, the younger generation of Okpo’s companions and “lords”, with whom I went to salute and shove. Among them are Chief Agyeman, Chief Cyrus, Chief Charles, Chief Bantama, Chief Iben, Chief Okeese, Ambassador Howard, Agoba, etc.
The hall appears to have a number of Lords and Chiefs, whom we have advised to be of good behaviour, and at all times we give priority to academic work over extra-curricular activities. A few regular Vikings were missing that day: Tom Sawyer, and Aunt Betty Mold Idrissou.
Tom was with us quietly in spirit, and he flicked his fingers angrily from faraway New Jersey; Bona Comson licked his lips in sympathy from Texas; Patrice Caesar savored soah mpusuo by zooming in, and so did Aunt Betty. But of course the former leader of Okpo, lawyer Opoku Agyeman could not miss this, and soon switched from the position of the lawyer to lead the meeting; And the lawyer Yao Noketia, who gave freely from his vast experience, knew almost everyone by name, was always present.
Naturally, Grace Frimpong honored the occasion. Rosina got to her feet and gave a proper blessing at the meeting. His Eminence was clearly the most outstanding of all.
But there were other surprises in the mpusuo session. A lady admitted she was a thorn in my body when I was lecturing to her in the ’90s; Then Yvonne and Josephine were my “daughter”. Yvonne gave me gifts from her garden. Rosina and Josephine though their noses were dripping complained that Mbusu was not seasoned enough.
Another former student, Kwame Appenteng surprised me. Al-Hajj, a friend from Radio Universe was present but had to rush to the studios; Yeboah, a former student, appeared and was also surprised. Li Ohui waved from a distance.
It is clear that Professor Abdul Qadeer Abu Aji of the College of Business Administration was not a Viking, and may have come to Loggia as a spy. I arrested him and put a picture with him to be used against him. Many of my former students, fortunately, have had CEO or professor positions, including a young girl from the ’80s who is now a professor at ISSER.
Osei Agyeman surprised me with a gray beard. A nobleman from Juventus introduced me when I was a young anonymous writer in the seventies with the Catholic standard. We stood, remembered, and exchanged phone numbers, even while salivating.
At the end of it all, my colleagues, on the orders of Commander Maxwell Opoku Ageman, handed me the solemn trophy, indeed the most precious part of the goat, which will remain unmarked – for security reasons.
What a Nkrumah Memorial Day!
#Kwesi #Yankah #Celebrating #Osjevo #bereaved #Vikings