Publishers: GAVOSS Education Plc Ltd (2022)
Reviewers: Herman Ablade Adjase Kodjo & Henking Anyingmor Adjase-Kodjo
Focus, Fortitude And Forbearance In A Life Journey: An Autobiography, is an irresistible page-turner that takes readers deep into the life of the author, Prof. Samuel Tetteh Addo, a distinguished Geographer who has spent close to five decades acquiring and imparting knowledge at the highest level at the University of Ghana and beyond.
Divided into 13 chapters with an addendum that captures comments by the author’s spouse, Mercy Bampo Addo, on the former’s 80th birthday, the book also has a number of appendices including a lecture by Prof. Addo on “Oklemekuku Azzu Mate Kole II, the Great King and Outstanding Statesman”, delivered on the occasion of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the passing of the eminent Krobo Monarch.
The appendix also contains a publication Prof. Addo co-authored with Alex K. Addo on “The Leadership/Education Nexus in the Development of Manya Krobo in Ghana 1939-1989: The Case of Oklemekuku Azzu Mate Kole II”.
The foreword to the book was written by Alfred Teddy Konu, the eminent former Registrar of the University of Ghana.
The tone is practical and straightforward. The 13 chapters logically flow into succeeding chapters, giving readers a chronological piece and reflecting the author’s widely acknowledged meticulous nature.
Prof. Samuel Addo was born on Tuesday, January 28, 1941, at Takorase Miaweni in present-day Upper Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
The book recounts the transformation of young Tetteh through the various phases of his life into the enviable Prof. Addo, teasing readers along the unique trajectory that brought him from obscurity in the hamlet of Takorase Miaweni to the apex of academia at the University of Ghana.
The story of Prof. Addo is enthralling from the background of the sheer resolve with which he rose from missing out on secondary school (Adisadel College) for lack of financial support to attaining a PhD and reaching the limelight.
Also remarkable is the perseverance and hard work that saw the author come out of his 1970 Bachelor of Arts Geography group with the only Second Class Upper and his going ahead to win a conversion from a Master’s Degree to a PhD candidate as one of the only two, (Samuel Addo and George Botchie) upon the recommendation by external examiners.
Prof. Addo’s appointment as the first Dean of International Education Programmes at the University of Ghana and his promotion to a full Professor around the same time are but a few of the high points of an illustrious career.
Why this book?
The author, in the preface to the book, cited his desire to chronicle his lineage which has all along been transmitted via oral narrative as a key motivation for writing the book.
A second reason as quoted in the foreword is to “record his educational trajectory in the hope that it will serve to motivate and inspire our youth to strive to achieve excellence, however difficult the circumstances may be”.
The book aptly conveys the author’s deference and gratitude to great personalities whose guidance and support have contributed to his accomplishments.
These include the late Prof. Alex Adum Kwapong, first Ghanaian Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana; the late Prof. K. B Dickson of the Department of Geography, who taught and supervised the author’s research works; Prof. Ebenezer Laing of the Botany Department; late Prof. P.A.V Ansah, former Master of Akuafo Hall and many others. Also in this category is the elder brother of the author, the late Andrews Kofi Addo, who is on record to have introduced Prof. Addo to formal education and made a profound impact on him and others.
Also noteworthy is the author’s positive approach to life that motivated him to steadily build upon the seemingly wobbly foundation to reach the peak. The book gives sufficient insight into the life of a distinguished academic as an example for those who might want to tread similar paths.
The author’s mental agility in recollecting the several and varied occurrences in his life in such detail and coherence is fascinating.
The book could also pass for an authentic source of history with a content laced with lessons on the political history of Ghana, most of which happened during the author’s days at the University of Ghana.
The references also detail a good number of the author’s research works.
Focus, Fortitude and Forbearance in a Life Journey: An Autobiography Samuel Tetteh Addo is certainly a must-read, for there are many more attractions that need to be discovered.