FOR ALL THE SAINTS
DWEN HWE KAN
Mfantsipim School is a high school in Cape Coast, in Ghana. It was established by the Methodist Church in 1876 as an all-boys secondary school dedicated to fostering intellectual, moral and spiritual growth. Its foundation name was Wesleyan High School and the first Headmaster was James Picot, a French scholar, who was only eighteen years old on his appointment.
Rev James Picot
John Mensah Sarbah, who came up with the word "Mfantsipim" stated at the opening of the school that its aim was "To train up God-fearing, respectable and intelligent lads".
Wesleyan High School changed its name to Wesleyan Collegiate School before the end of the 19th Century. The name "Mfantsipim" was provided by the Honourable John Mensah-Sarbah, an accomplished lawyer and a member of the 'PIONEER BOYS'. Mfantsipim, he insisted, was to be the "SOUL OF THE PEOPLE".
John Mensah Sarbah
Several heads served the school with distinction. The Reverend W. T. Balmer came in 1907 and could be considered as a 'stabiliser'. He met only eight dedicated boys in Mfantsipim with neither a teacher nor a Headmaster, the then headmaster having left for the United Kingdom. He called them the 'faithful eight'. A monument has been erected between the Administration Block and the Assembly Hall to perpetuate their memory.
Rev W.T. Balmer
The Reverend R.A. Lockhart arrived in 1925 and laid a solid foundation for progress. He built claassrooms and dormitories on Kwabotwe Hill and finally brought the school to the present site in 1931. He was also the main architect in bringing the Cambridge School Leaving Certificate Examination into the Gold Coast, now Ghana. Dr. F.L. Bartels built on the foundation of the former heads. His main period as a head stretched from 1949 to 1961.
Dr. F.L. Bartels
There have been many influential products of the school who have served, not only the country, the continent of Africa but also continents outside Africa and many international bodies. Mfantsipim School has trained uncounted number of men of distinction. In the field of Medicine, Engineering, Education, Architecture, etc, are found a number of prominent men who owe allegiance to Mfantsipim School.
Relics of Wesleyan High
Relics of Wesleyan High (Mfantsipim) at Mount Hope in Cape Coast, Ghana. The idea of establishing a collegiate school to raise educational standards in the Gold Coast was first mooted in 1865 but it was not until 1876 that The Wesleyan High School was established in Cape Coast with donations from local businessmen and the support of the Methodist Missionary Society in London.
The Assembly Hall
The school was established to train teachers and began with 17 pupils. It was originally planned to be sited at Accra because the British Government had by 1870 decided to move the capital of the Gold Coast from Cape Coast to Accra.
However, local agitation and the urgent need to put the idea into practice after eleven years of debate pressurised the Government to allow the school to begin functioning but on the understanding that it would later be moved to Accra, though no such move ever took place.
Mfantsipim was the first secondary school to be established in the Gold Coast and in 1931 it moved to its present location at Kwabotwe Hill in the northern part of the Town, at the top of Kotokuraba Road, Cape Coast. The school sometimes has been referred to as Kwabotwe for that reason.
It was deemed to be a Grammar School because Latin and Greek were taught but the school also offered carpentry, art and crafts and it has always been known as Mfantsipim School. It was an all boys boarding school although the intake included a small number of "day students", that is pupils who attended school from home. (Credit Kwesi Kay)
Several heads served the school with exemplary distinction. The Rev'd W. T. Balmer came in 1907 and could be considered as a 'stabiliser'. He met only eight dedicated boys in Mfantsipim with neither a teacher nor a headmaster, the then headmaster having left for the United Kingdom. He called them the Faithful Eight. A monument has been erected between the Administration Block and the Assembly Hall to perpetuate their memory. The Rev'd R.A. Lockhart arrived in 1925 and laid a solid foundation for progress. Indeed, he was peerless in his time in terms of performance and achievement. He built classrooms and dormitories on Kwabotwe Hill and finally brought the school to the present site in 1931. He was also the main architect in bringing the Cambridge School Leaving Certificate Examination into the Gold Coast, now Ghana.
Dr. F.L. Bartels built on the foundation of the former heads. His main period as a head stretched from 1949 to 1961. He scored unparalleled success during his time.
Rev Balmer and the Faithful Eight
The Faithful Eight
I.W. Anaman and
James Picot [1876-1878]
Rev. J. Jenkins [1878-1879]
T. N. Wingfield [1879-1880]
Rev. M. W. Mountford [1880-1882]
Rev. W. N. Cannell [1882-April 1885, 1887-1888]
Rev. Dennis Kemp 
W. F. Penny (F. Egyir Asaam) [1888-1889]
Casely Hayford [1889-1890]
W. F. Penny (F. Egyir Asaam) [1890-1893]
J. L. Mayne [1893-1894]
W. F. Penny (F. Egyir Asaam) [1894-1896]
Rev A. E. Somer [1896-1897]
Rev David Hinchcliff [1897-1899]
Rev. Robert H. Gush [1889-1899]
Rev. Edgar C. Barton [1900-1902]
Rev J. Hannah [1902-1902]
Rev. George Parker [1902-1903]
A. M Wright [1903-1905]
Rev. Thomas E. Ward [1905-1906]
Rev. J. D. Russel [1907-1907]
Rev. W. T. Balmer [1907-1910]
Rev. A. A. Sneath [1911-1919]
Rev. R. P. Dyer [1919-1925]
Rev. R. A Lockhart [1925-1936]
Rev. A. S. Fenby [1937-1941, 1942]
Rev. W. A. Warren [1941-1942]
Dr. F. L. Bartels [1942-1945 (Acting)]
Rev. A. A. Sneath 1945-1948]
Dr. F. L. Bartels [1949-1961]
Rev. W. G. M. Brandful [1961-1963]
J. W. Abruquah [1963-1970]
O. K. Monney [1970-1976]
H. V. Acquaye-Baddoo [1976-1980]
B. K. Dontwi [1980-1997]
C. K. Ashun [1997- ]
Meaning of Mfantsipim
William Lindsey, who entered the school in 1908, stated that the school was called Mfantsipim because it was intended for the Fanti.
Christian Word in 1910 said translated literally Mfantsipim means "The foundation of the Fantes".
Rev. Bartels who happens to be a student and the first African headmaster of the school in the 20th century said Mfantsipim means a thousand Fantes. He uses the word 'Mfantsipim' also to mean the soul of the people.
"I want to raise up a generation of men in Mfantsipim school who will be brave enough to face the problems of their own continent practically and unselfishly" - Rev Bartels
"The spirit of service, courage, standing up for one's convictions, loyalty, integrity and dedicated patriotism." - Rev Lockhart.
On the occasion of the amalgamation of the collegiate and Mfantsipim schools in 1905, J. P. Brown stated "I am looking forward to seeing men going forth from this school to become lawyers, doctors of medicine, artisans, ministers of the religion and politicians of the right sort".
The hopes and expectations of Mfantsipim products have always been very high. If you look at Rev. Balmers' spirit, the Lockhart character, and the pronouncement of J. P. Brown, you will realize that the nation was looking forward to the future leaders from Kwabotwe.
The question is has the school lived up to these lofty expectations? And in what ways has it impacted Ghana and the world?
Yes, Mfantsipim has really lived above and beyond the expectations of its founders.
Mfantsipim has been called "the father of Ghanaian nationalism". If we look at the period of the Fante Amanbuhu Fekuw (The Fanti Political Society), the Aborigines' Rights Protection Society, and the [[National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA)}} - all founders and leaders were Old Boys. These are John Mensah-Sarbah, Rev. Attoh-Ahuma, Rev. Egyir-Asaam, J. W. de Graft Johnson, J. E. Casely-Hayford and Kobina Sekyi.
During the third and final phase of the nationalist struggle (after 1947), though Old Boys were not very prominent in leadership roles, their contributions were nonetheless significant. It must be pointed out that among the closest lieutenants and supporters of Nkrumah and his CPP (before the Gbedemahs' and the Botsios) were Old Boys such as J. Kwesi Lamptey, Joe Appiah, A.E. Inkumsah and Saki Scheck. As far as the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) was concerned, Dr. K. A. Busia, K.K. Kurankyi Taylor and William Ofori Atta (one of the big six) were in leadership roles.
Dr. K.A. Busia
Mfantsipim made its greatest impact on the political map of Ghana during the civilian administration of the Progress Party from 1969. The then Prime Minister, Dr. K. A. Busia and his two deputies; J. Kwesi Lamptey and William Ofori Atta, and the leader of the opposition and his deputy; Madjitey and Dr. B. K. Agama were all old boys. It was one of the greatest calamities in the nation's history that this government was overthrown by the military. The very fact that the economic and social policies pursued by the military regimes namely; open-market economy, privatization of SOE's, devaluation, JSS system and decentralization goes to vindicate Dr. Busia and his government. These policies are virtually identical with those of the Busia regime.
Professionalism and Public Service
The most illustrious contribution of Mfantsipim to Ghana has been in the development of professionalism and public services. The very first Ghanaians to qualify as lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, surveyors and engineers were all Old Boys. Among the lawyers were John Mensah-Sarbah, called to the bar in 1877, Kofi Asaam 1892, J. Casely-Hayford 1896 and Kobina Sekyi (one of the faithful eight) who became the first African to graduate in philosophy in a British University in 1913 and qualified as a barrister in 1918. Of 16 Ghanaian principal secretaries heading the various ministries in the 1960's, no less than 11 were Old Boys.
In 1944, R.E.G. Amattoe was elected patron of the German institute of science of which the famous nuclear physicist Professor Albert Einstein was the President.
The first Ghanaians to join the UN and its agencies are Old Boys; A. E. Chinbuah, K.K. Apeadu, F.L. Bartels etc. It is therefore not surprising that the first African to be elected president of the UN General Assembly in the 1960's was Alex Quaison-Sackey, an old boy. The current UN secretary General Kofi Annan is also an Old Boy.
It has been convincingly argued that the best and most brilliant group of all MOBA is the 1930/31 year group that set records in both the Cambridge certificate examinations and in life and has still not been excelled. This group included; Dr. R.P. Baffuor, the first vice chancellor of KNUST, M. F. Dei-Anang, C. M. O. Mante, Dr. K. A. Busia, J. Kwesi Lamptey, and C. J. Bannerman.
In the 1930's for five consecutive years, Mfantsipim occupied first place amongst all the West African schools in the examinations of the Cambridge University. In those years, the pass list in Mfantsipim was 85% while in England it was only 61%.
Besides the political and the administration fields, the school has made a decisive impact socially.
Mfantsipim alumni contributed to building a truly Ghanaian educated class and the development of secondary and university education in this country.
The 1880’s were one of intellectual renaissance and high watermark of journalism in Ghana. Products of Mfantsipim wrote and published the books of that period; Fanti Customary Laws (1897), Ethiopia Unbound (1911).
Even more numerous were the newspapers that were founded during the period. These included the Western Echo (1885), Gold Coast Chronicle (1896), and Gold Coast Express (1897). Mensah-Sarbah founded two of them while Casely Hayford worked on the Western Echo.
Some of the old boys of the inter-war period became traditional rulers. Nana Ayirebi Acquah of Winneba, Nana Kobina Nketsia IV of Essikado, Sekondi and the great Ga Mantse, Nii Tackey Tawiah II who died in 1947.
Wesley College and Trinity College are both offsprings of Mfantsipim. The first headmasters of Prempeh College and Fijai Secondary schools are direct products of Mfantsipim School.
Accra Academy, Wesley Grammar and Ghana National College were all modeled after Mfantsipim. In fact, the Headmaster of Wesley Grammar in 1960 declared that their aim was to build a second Mfantsipim.
The entire first batch of students who entered Achimota School's intermediate degree programs were all Mfantsipim boys. This was the nucleus of University of Ghana. So was the first ever school prefect of Achimota School, William Ofori Atta.
Among the very first professors of the University of Ghana were all Old Boys. These are: K. A. Busia, J. K. De Graft-Johnson, K.E. de Graft Johnson, K.T. de Graft Johnson, Seth La-Anyane, K. A. Dickson, and K. B. Dickson.
All these achievements confirms the prophecy Rev. Lockhart made about more than a century ago that in few years time, the people of this country will be amazed at the number of its influential citizens who owe allegiance to Mfantsipim.
Happy 130th birthday Kwabotwe!