(Eminent Historian and Writer, Educationist, Founder and First Headmaster of Tema Secondary School, and Former Politician)
“If we have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” Isaac Newton It is with dual feelings of deep loss and pride that I pay tribute to a great man who affected my life and the lives of many other people, particularly past students of Tema Secondary School (Temasco) and most students of history in Ghana and elsewhere. It is highly significant that last year, this very website reported a book launch at the British Council in Accra to outdoor what could be considered as the late FK's (that was how he was known to all of us students) “swan song”. I could not attend the launch because of distance but I was informed that it was a grand affair, and in spite of the obvious touch of frailty FK was in his element.
I first met FK in person in 1967 when I attended the interview for admission to Temasco. I was fascinated by the idea that I was going to attend a school whose head had written a book and when he asked my reason for selecting the school I told him just that. Indeed many years after, anytime he came to Legon, he will tell this story to whoever he met in my office, reminding me of how much I had grown since then. Looking back the five years I spent at Temasco were some of the best years of my life.
FK was a father figure and a role model who instilled a lot of pride and sense of self respect in his students. More than anything else, he taught us to take pride in our school and our country. Up to today, such symbols like the schools crest and motto, I believe, fills most of us with pride and a deep sense of belonging. FK himself lived and breathed Temasco, and he continued to take a keen interest in the school's affairs long after his retirement.
FK had great plans for the school and used his influence to get a lot of facilities for the school which was fairly new then. His ultimate vision was to turn the school into a well endowed centre of excellence befitting the status of the Port city of Tema, as evidenced by the futuristic site plan of the school, including a sports complex, displayed at the school's administration block. In terms of academic opportunities, FK ensured that students who passed through Temasco had a very broad-based education and so there were opportunities to study a wide range of subjects in Arts, Science and Business Studies including not too common ones like Latin, Commerce, Logic, Ghanaian Languages, Accounts, Home Science, Shorthand/Typing and Civics
Temasco was in deed among the first secondary schools in Ghana whose pioneer students went directly from Form 5 to the school's own 6th Form. Because of the School's solid foundation laid by its founding fathers, many students can be found in high positions of occupational and social endeavour both at home and abroad.
I consider myself lucky because my work at the Institute of Adult Education brought me into regular contact with FK, first because he participated in the Annual New Year Schools organised by my department and also because he brought his work to be word processed for him by two of my colleagues. Sometimes I felt my heart will burst with pride when I introduced him to some friends or visitors who will ask, incredulously: “Is that the FK Buah?” It was such an exhilarating feeling to bask in the glory of FK's celebrity status.
FK was very proud of Temasco and all the students who passed through the school. He once said that nothing pleased him more than those occasions when he went to an organisation and met some of his past students who will make sure he was promptly attended to. He once mentioned that after his near-fatal accident on the Winneba Road he was rushed to the emergency ward at the Military Hospital where an old student who was on duty virtually moved heaven and earth to get him the best attention possible. He always spoke with a lot of pride about the old students group in London who often held a function in his honour when he travelled there.
All in all, FK was a great man, whose life of hard work, love for his country and diligence, as well as keen pursuit of excellence are worthy of emulation. My heart goes out to the bereaved family as well as all past and present students of Temasco and many other people who came under FK Buah's sphere of influence, one time or other.
It will be appropriate at this point to quote one of FK's favourite quotations with which he ended his pep talks to the entire student body at the end of each school term:
“Lives of great men all remind us; We can made our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us; Footprints in the sands of time”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
FK, Rest and abide in Perfect Peace. Okunini, Damirifa Due, Darekena
Evelyn Appiah-Donyina (Old Student, 1967 – 1972) [email protected]