On March 18th, 2006, hundreds of Ghanaians from all walks of life thronged to the Fr. Winters Hall of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Bronx, New York for the final funeral rites of the late Mrs Margaret Afriyie Osei, the first Ghanaian teacher of St. Louis Secondary School in Kumasi, Ghana.
The late Mrs Osei, was also a former assistant headmistress of Tarkwa Secondary School in the Western Region of Ghana. She died at the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana, on November 6, 2005 after a short illness. She was 76 years.
In a tribute read on behalf of the Tarkwa Secondary School Alumni Association, Spokesperson, Kingsley Kofi Appiah described Mrs Osei as a great woman who was one of the most brilliant academic icons Ghana has ever produced.
Appiah said Mrs. Osei was a mother, an inspirer, a friend and disciplinarian whose guidance and advise manifested throughout the lives of her students and even after they left school, she became a source of reference by all.
According to Appiah, “Ewura” as all students affectionately referred to her, Mrs Osei was an academician who was also attached to tradition, adding that when she took her turn during morning assemblies to advise students, what she parted away without charging any student was her thought provoking Twi proverbs.
“She was eloquent, a staunch Catholic and the architect of most disciplinary codes in TARSCO. She was a pillar of discipline, and represented the heart through which the former headmaster of the school, R. T. Sackey, laid his rules and regulations”, he added.
Kofi said Mrs Osei had no room for flamboyance and provocative dressing, explaining that through her, many of the students acquired discipline which they complained about whilst in school but have relied on them as useful tools in their present life.
"Mrs Osei argued that students have to learn and that there was no need to reduce a serious academic environment to the level of parody or burlesque and said most student are now guided by her examples".
He emphasized , that Mrs Osei persistently prodded and cajoled her students to accept cultural literacy and periodically delivered systematic phonics instructions through which most students are reaping the benefits today.
“Mrs Osei was always supportive and had a good-humored touch during her lecture sessions. She did not only teach us Twi, but she also taught us how to speak good English, paying attention to grammar and also how to respect the elderly”, Kofi Appiah lauded.
He said Mrs Osei inculcated in her students real values of fellow feeling, which all her students can attest to today, adding that all her relatives and students have lost an academic luminary and expressed the heartfelt condolence of everyone to the family.
Paul Awortwi-Mensah was a former court correspondent for Daily Graphic in Accra, Ghana. He now resides in Worcester, Massachusetts.