‘Old boyism’ is a cherished phenomenon on Ghana’s social landscape and the Adisadel College 1975 year group (Santa’75) have raised it some notches higher with the publication of their book, ‘Reminiscences of Adisadel College 1970-1975.’
It is a 310-page hardcover published by Buck Press that meticulously narrates the entire story of the year group during their time on the Adisadel Hill.
In the process, the book edited by Dr Paul K. A. Mensah and Dr Kwesi Bentum, ropes in vast amounts of information to interest all Santaclausians (as Adisadel old boys are referred to) and perhaps everyone in a secondary school somewhere in this country in the 1970s.
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Adisadel College was founded in 1910 and the school’s motto is ‘Vel Primus Vel Cum Primus’, a Latin expression which translates in English as ‘Either The First Or With The First’.
In setting about the book, members of the Santa ’75 year group were aware they were up to a venture which was not only the first among Adisadel year groups but perhaps also among year groups from other secondary schools across the country.
The idea for the book took hold in January 2015 when the Santa ‘75 group decided to come up with a small publication to accompany their 40th anniversary reunion celebration. An initial work came out and it subsequently transformed into the current edition.
In the first chapter, ‘The History of the great Class of 1975’, Dr Bentum, currently a psychologist in the United States, lays out a detailed tale of happenings in the school and beyond from when the 124 boys arrived in September, 1970 till they left in June, 1975.
He refers to various activities such as dances, debates and quizzes involving other schools. His vivid, encyclopedic recollection of activities has set some of his mates wondering if he kept a diary all through his stay at Adisadel.
Adisadel had a healthy, democratic approach to the election of prefects and a chapter on ‘Politics on the Hill’ deals with that. The ‘Music on the Hill’ piece succinctly covers musical activities and the contributions of the Class of 1975 to that thrilling era.
Other topics touched on in the book include how school discipline influenced members of the group; nicknames in the school between 1970 and 1977; tribute to the art tradition of Adisadel as well as a piece on the teachers who educated the boys.
The book also consists of a fascinating photo gallery showcasing a lot of young men in bell-bottom trousers; campus lingo, contributions of Santa ‘75 to the school’s development and a tribute to departed classmates.
Adisadel and Mfantsipim students have always seen themselves as ’friendly enemies’ and the chapter called ‘The Adisadel /Mfantsipim Rivalry: A Force for Good?’ will definitely interest Kwabotwe boys.
Members of the Santa ’75 year group include COP David Ampah-Bennin of the Ghana Police Service, Mr Ben Appah of B. Appah Electricals Ltd, Dr Gademor Demanya of the Metropolitan Hospital in Cape Coast, Mr Harold Otabil of Hords Ltd and Mr Daniel Owiredu of Golden Star Resources mining company.
Others include Rev. Robert Ampiah-Kwofie of Global Revival Ministries, Mr Eddie Duplan of Aquatec Services Limited, Brigadier General Emmanuel Tetteh Akunor, businessman/politician Horace Ankrah and Prof Kobina Turkson of the University of Ghana.
There are rumours that other Adisadel year groups and a fair number of others from other schools are planning to publish books on their times in secondary school.
Until those ones see the light of day, ‘Reminiscences of Adisadel College 1970-1975’ by the Santa ’75 year group remains an essential history of Adisadel College and a lively overview of life in Ghanaian secondary schools in the 1970s.
The book set out to capture the atmosphere of an important period in the lives of young men when many of them formed life-long habits and friendships, realised what talents they had and also made crucial career decisions.
It succeeds at meeting those goals and also serves as a collective memoir that a variety of social groups may like to emulate if members are not able to publish individual biographies.
Members of the Santa ’75 group are scattered around the world and some have not met since leaving school. Reading the book will certainly make them feel like they have met again on the famous hill in Cape Coast.
Adisadel’s famous school ode urges Santaclausians to give nothing but their best, never think of rest and play up for the school’s great name. That’s exactly what members of the Santa ’75 year group have done with their book!