TRIBUTE BY THE OLD ABUSCODIANS ASSOCIATION
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping
(John Ellerton, MHB # 976)
In his autobiography, the River In The Sea, published by Digibooks Gh Ltd in 2010, Akenteng Appiah-Menkah records his early school days and in particular, his entry to Abuakwa State College(Abusco) at Kyebi in 1950. He records that after roaming in Accra in search of admission going to various secondary schools for several days, he heard about a college at Kyebi in Akyem Abuakwa. He set off and landed at the gate of Abusco one evening carrying his wooden chop box and bucket.
The Headmaster who later turned out to be Mr William Ofori Atta( Paa Willie) met him at the College gate and humourously asked him, “ Hey tortoise, what is your mission here?” The boy replied, “ Sir I am not a tortoise and my mission is Methodist. I am here looking for admission to this college “. The likening of him to a tortoise is that this is a creature who has no fixed abode and goes about carrying all its possession in his box-like structure and the village school boy who was carrying his chop box and bucket with him going from place to place was more or less like a tortoise. With that witty humour, he was allowed entry into the college.
And so Akenteng Appiah-Menkah began his education at Abusco in 1950 at the age of sixteen years and records that throughout the 4-years he spent at that college, he paid fees only on two occasions even though he was no beneficiary of any scholarship from any source. Later on in his twilight years lying on his sick bed, he narrated tearfully that when he was studying at Abusco, anytime he was thrown out to go home and collect his fees, he went and camped in the open outside the school gate since there was no one at home he could go to to collect the fees. His mother and uncle just didn’t have any money to give him so it would be pointless for him going home. After enduring the pain staying in the open for days, the authorities, out of pity for him, would re-admit him back to the compound to continue his studies. This scenario went on and on till he completed his studies in 1953. For this reason, he records that,” The Village Boy shall always be grateful to everything connected with Abusco. I don’t think I can ever repay my dues to Abusco.”
And he has kept his word fully : Since 1962, Akenten Appiah Menka has devoted his time and finances to the college and the Old Abuscodians Association. He initiated and outdoored the association at the Kumasi Cultural Center in 1962 and became the first President of the association. He suggested, and it was adopted, that the name Yaanom from the name of his law firm Yaanom Chambers become the appellation-response of the association and it has remained so till today.
He has devoted his entire lifetime to the development of Abusco and the sustenance of the Old Abuscodians Association, having been the national president for more than two decades. The statue in-front of the School’s administration block was his personal donation to mark the golden jubilee anniversary of Abusco. He single-handedly carried the load of the association on his shoulders for many many years and he deserve commendation par excellence.
In 1987, a dormitory in the school was named after him, Appiah Menka House in recognition of his sustained commitment to the College and his belief fulfilled that “ I will be always grateful to everything connected with Abusco”
In March 2005, he was inducted as a member of the Council of Distinguished Alumni (CODA) of the Old Abuscodians Association and he indeed justified his membership so remarkably well.
In 2006, he initiated the project to raise funds to build an Assembly Hall for the College and spearheaded the launching of the Nana Sir Ofori Atta I Assembly Hall Fund. His seed money was used to pay for the architectural design and drawings of the building.
Indeed he has been a pillar of inspiration for all old students and we have come thus far because of his sustained support. Quite remarkably, in November 2017 when, sitting in a wheel chair, frail and barely audible, he insisted and attended Abusco’s 80th anniversary celebrations at Kyebi. Oh, what a Man! Oh, what a Passion! Oh, what a Commitment!
Having studied at Abuakwa State College from 1950 to 1953, he rose high and high to the highest echelon in society as a lawyer, an industrialist, a politician, a statesman and the Living Legend of Africa and we are very proud to have had Akenten Appiah Menka as one of our very best.
The Old Abuscodians Association has suffered an immeasurable loss and will be parting ways with one of its outstanding pillars of support and counsel.
Slowly, slowly, The Village Boy with his Chop Box , the Tortoise, is finally going home and the reality and finality is beginning to dawn on all Old Abuscodians who crossed path with this remarkable personality.
What else is left to say except that, over your silent grave, we shall continue to sing the unfading college anthem, Susubiribi, Susubiribi and re-echo the immortal refrain Yaanom eee, Yaanom eeeee, Yaanom eeeeeeeee!
Fare Thee Well Father! Fare Thee Well! Adieu Adieu!!
(Akenten Appiah Menka( front row 2nd from right) with members of the National Executive Council)
Akenten Appiah Menka addressing Old Abuscodians at the launch of the Nana Sir Ofori Atta Fund
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