'Our people are not plaster saints, but every boy in the School (Mfantsipim) knows that our allegiance is given to Jesus Christ and some of them recognise His right to rule their lives. If their service is more faithful because of what they learned in this School, then for that alone and for that supremely our work will be justified'.
— Rev. R.A. Lockhart, Mfantsipim Headmaster (1925 - 1836)
On Sunday, July 26, 2015, the newly elected members of the Mfantsipim Old Boys Association (MOBA) National Executive Committee shall be inducted into office at the Cavalry Methodist Church, Adabraka, Accra at 3.00pm by the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Asante with a sermon to be delivered by Rt. Rev. Dr. Nuh Ben Abubekr (MOBA '61). The induction will be rounded off with a reception at Clever House adjacent to the Calvary Methodist Church. All members of MOBA are expected to grace the occasion with their Companion Members (spouses).
The members of the National Executive Committee who shall be inducted into office are:
- Captain Joe Forjoe (MOBA '73) - Ebusuapanyin (President)
- Emmanuel Kotey Hammond (MOBA '67 - Vice-President
- Kofi Bentum Coleman (MOBA '76) - Secretary
- James Kodwo Morgan (MOBA '77) - Vice-Secretary
- Charles Darko Cobbina (MOBA '83) - Organiser
- Kwesi Wilson (MOBA '94) - Vice-Organiser
- William Parry Aboagye (MOBA '73) - Treasurer
- Kofi Ammaniampong (MOBA '98) - Vice-Treasurer
- A. K. Gyasi (MOBA '65) - Executive Member
Speaking to the Press ahead of the induction, the Ebusuapanyin-elect, Captain Paul Forjoe said the new executives would have the development of the School and the Association as a priority in their agenda. The executives, he said, have coined a theme that will guide them in their work, dubbed 'The New Dawn'. 'The Mfantsipim Brand (The School) is solid - It is God's gift to us. We have to nurture it, grow it and always keep it strong. This means we have to stay united and focused to achieve our collective aim of making our Alma Mater the best in the world', he said.
Captain Paul Forjoe added that the new executives were committed to ensuring that the Association will be financially viable to meet all its targets.
Mfantsipim has survived all its glorious years partly due to the dedication and generosity of its old students grouped into an exclusive club called Mfantsipim Old Boys Association (MOBA). MOBA has year group chapters appropriately identified, for example MOBA '65 groups all old boys of Mfantsipim who either completed the old form five or entered the old sixth form in the year 1965. Members of MOBA identify themselves with distinctive car stickers on the wind screens of their cars bearing the School crest.
Mfantsipim is an all-boys and the oldest secondary school to be established in the country in 1876, founded and nurtured by the Methodist Church and dedicated to fostering intellectual, moral and spiritual growth. At a point in time, before sixth form was established in the early sixties at Wesley Girls High School, Cape Coast, Mfantsipim opened its doors for admission into sixth form education to students of Wesley Girls High School. Hence, currently, there are 'Old Boys' who in realty do not look like 'Fanta' bottles because they are not 'boys', but look like 'Coca-Cola' bottles because they are 'girls' who belong to MOBA. They include Mrs. Prof Florence Abena Dolphyne and Mrs. Dr. Sylvia Boye. Sadly, their number is dwindling due to natural attrition.
The history of Mfantsipim and secondary school education in Ghana is intertwined with the spiritual and political history of this country and in particular with the political agitation for self-government leading ultimately to national independence while the philosophy of the Mfantsipim brand has its roots in the Legend of the Faithful Eight. Writing in his book: MFANTSIPIM AND THE MAKING OF GHANA, the late Prof A. Adu-Boahen, an old boy of Mfantsipim states at page 3: 'Mfantsipim was founded in response to certain stimuli topical of the 1870s namely the political conditions of the day, the demand of Ghanaians and of the Wesleyan Mission for higher education, and above all, the personal interest and dynamism of Revs. G. W. Grimmer, Thomas Picot and Thomas Birch Freeman; the founding father of Ghanaian Methodism. Indeed considering the circumstances leading to the foundation and the needs that the institution was meant to serve, the surprising fact is not that Mfantsipim was founded in 1876 but that it was not founded earlier'.
As a result of a decision taken at its Synod of 1876, the Methodist Church in April 3, 1876 established in Cape Coast a boys' school called the Wesleyan High School. The school had 17 students with Mr. John Picot, the 18 year old brother of Rev. Thomas Picot as its first Principal. By the end of the year, the student population had increased to 28. Wesleyan High School, in actual fact, was founded as a secondary as well as a teacher training college. The ten founding students of the school who were present at the inauguration were John Mensah Sarbah (who incidentally gave the School its motto: 'Dwin Hwe Kan'), George Grant, Henry Van Hein, William Fynn Penny (later Rev. Fynn Egyir Assam), William Fynn, Robert J. Hayfron, Benjamin Pine Word, Samuel C. Crankson, Brodie Arthur and John James Clement.
Those present at the opening ceremony were Rev. Thomas Picot, the General Superintendent of the Ghana Wesleyan Mission, his brother, James Picot, the first Principal of the School, Rev. R. J. Hayfron, Minister-in-Charge, Cape Coast, John Sarbah, a very wealthy merchant and prominent citizen of Cape Coast, W. E. Pietersen, another very rich merchant, J. P. Brown a well-known educationist, J. P. Clement and Thomas Penny. Those Ghanaians were active key members of the new mercantile elite and the Cape Coast Nationalist School. In the early stages of its life, the school experienced a lot of difficulties including the shortage of funds, unsuitable accommodation and inadequate qualified staff. In 1891, the name of the school was changed to Wesleyan Collegiate School with no appreciable improvement in its fortune.
This led John Mensah Sarbah and others to form a company called: 'Fante Public School Limited' with the objective of advancing higher education through the establishment and improvement of higher educational institutions in the country. In April 1905, the company founded a high school and called it Mfantsipim. The result was disastrous. Both Wesleyan Collegiate School and Mfantsipim experienced more serious difficulties through lack of resources and unhealthy rivalry between them. An amicable agreement was arrived at when in July 1905, the two schools were amalgamated under the overall management of the Methodist Church. The amalgamated school adopted the name Mfantsipim with the moot: 'Dwin Hew Kan'.
Mfantsipim continued to face problems until the arrival in Cape Coast in November 12, 1907 of Rev. W. T. Balmer of the Methodist Church, then Principal of the Richmond College in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Rev. Balmer was on tour of educational inspection to help improve secondary education in West African countries. When he arrived at Mfantsipim, Rev, Balmer found only eight students without teachers and a headmaster, the last headmaster having left in July 8, 1907. Rev. Balmer was so touched by the determination of the students that he christened them the 'FAITHFUL EIGHT'. Rev Balmer accepted to stay and take charge of the School as headmaster. That marked the great beginning and turnaround of the fortunes of Mfantsipim. In its great march forward, four other former headmasters, Rev. R. A. Lockhart, Rev. Alex. A. Sneath, Mr. F. L. Bartels and Mr. O. K. Monney require special mention.
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By Kwame Gyasi
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