K.B. Asante @ 90

BY: Rebecca Kwei

Retired Diplomat, educationist and writer Mr Kwaku Baprui Asante is 90. Born in March 1924 in the Greater Accra Region, Mr Asante is the second of seven children.

In 2005 when he granted an interview to the Junior Graphic for the “I’ll tell my story” column, he said he had to watch his friends go out and watch films in cinema houses when they were children but his strict father made sure that he stayed at home and by his books so he could perform well in school.

For his father said he had no property to bequeath to him except to provide for his education.

That sense of discipline instilled in him by his parents, he said, put him in a class of his own because while his peers played truant in cinema halls, he stayed at home reading. All children need to learn from his story. 


Back to the Motherland

From England, Mr Asante returned to the then Gold Coast, where he worked as a Consul at the British High Commission for some time before going back to London to assist in the establishment of the Ghana High Commission in 1957. He was also tasked to establish yet another embassy in Tel-Aviv in Israel.

Mr Asante was employed by the first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah to work in his office at the Flagstaff House for six years.

He was in Addis Ababa when President Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966 and he remained there where he later took a job as Head of Administration at the OAU office.

In 1967, when he returned to Ghana, he was appointed Ghana’s Ambassador to Switzerland.

Mr Asante also became the Ambassador in the UN office in Geneva, as well as the Chief Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Mr Asante is married with four children, two sons and two daughters.

Education

Mr Asante started his basic education at O’Reilly School. At that time, he said, his friends used to tease him and called him names such as “irregular student” because he usually followed his sister to her school whenever he felt like doing so.

He later moved from O’Reilly to the Adabraka Government Junior Boys’ School, which was an experimental school. He said he found class work at the experimental school tough because everything was taught in Ga.

Mr Asante continued his elementary education at Achimota School up to Standard Seven in 1938 and pursued his secondary school education in the same school where he passed with distinction and began a course in engineering there.

Writing talent

While in school, Mr Asante said, he started writing articles to various media houses for publication. 

“I was encouraged and supported by my housemaster,” he recalled.

His mates named him “Plan” because he could organise his work well and was good at writing.

“At Achimota, I did not have time to engage in unnecessary activities like going out in the night and chasing girls, as some of my mates did. I did not have time for those things because my father’s advice kept ringing in my ears,” he said.

Change of plans

Mr Asante, however, changed his mind while he was still at the engineering school and decided to go into teaching. 

He was employed to teach at his alma mater, Achimota School, where he taught for three years. 

During the course of his career, he decided to travel to England but he had to delay the trip because there were not enough teachers in the school.

He also had to work during school vacations to save enough money for his intended trip.

“Fortunately, I had a scholarship from Achimota School to study at Dirham University in England. I later entered into politics to help defend my motherland and her neighbouring countries because most of the nationalists there always got on the nerves of the Africans and said bad things about Black people, which I didn’t like,” he said.

In 1952, while pursuing a course in England, he lost his father and therefore, Mr Asante found himself shouldering financial responsibilities back home. 

He encountered lots of challenges, which nearly shattered his dreams, but he persevered.