About six decades ago, the man we are going to read about today roamed the streets of Accra with his friends, exploring the city, having fun and window-shopping.
They trekked from Adabraka where he lived all the way to Laterbiokorshie, Alajo, the High Street area and sometimes to Osu, where they bought their favourite waakye.
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This tour of Accra was obviously full of fun but somehow it helped him to know the different communities in Accra and the people’s way of life.
Interestingly, their ‘tours’ came in handy later in life when he was appointed the Mayor of Accra since he knew most of those areas and had visited them regularly in his youthful days.
“I had grown up walking the streets of Accra. As such, when I became the mayor, I had no fear going to Nima or any vicinity in Accra because I grew up visiting friends there so I had an idea of the terrain of those communities,” Mr Nat Nuno Amarteifio told the Junior Graphic.
With his background as an architect, Mr Amarteifio is reputed to have started the comprehensive development plan of Accra, which was meant to make it one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
He was recently in the news when he commented on Accra’s poor drainage system after the June 3 floods that claimed over 150 lives.
Mr Amarteifio spoke about his childhood as well as the circumstances that led to his appointment as the Mayor of Accra.
According to him, he was not surprised because he grew up knowing great politicians and world leaders who made him believe that he could also become a leader one day.
“I was one of the students at Achimota School who welcomed world leaders such as the Queen of England, President Richard Nixon of the USA; President Leonid Brezhnev of the USSR; President Felix Houphouet-Boigny of Cote d’Ivoire, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and President Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia when they visited.
“At Adabraka, where I lived, Dr J.B. Danquah’s office was close by and so I saw many politicians including Dr Kwame Nkrumah in our neighbourhood,” he recounted.
Mr Amarteifio said Adabraka was a middle-class suburb where prominent people resided. The Okyenhene, Nana Sir Ofori Atta II, as well as Dr Morton, a respected medical doctor who recently passed away, resided there. It was actually in the house of Dr Morton that Mr Amarteifio and other children in the neighbourhood went to watch movies.
“Televisions were not common so it was Dr Morton’s house that we went to on Friday evenings to watch movies and this was a wonderful treat for us,” he said happily.
One of the things Young Amarteifio enjoyed doing was going to the beach to fish in the sea. He also loved playing street football, known locally as ‘gutter to gutter’.
In fact he enjoyed doing this with his friends when they were returning home from school and during the weekends.
Young Amarteifio was also one of those children who were fortunate to witness political party activities during the period after independence.
He recalled occasions when the various political parties’ special songs and slogans blared from their campaign vans which drove around the capital announcing dates for upcoming rallies. “That was indeed the joy of most of us children as it attracted our attention and many of us danced and followed the vans around the communities.
• Mr Amarteifio’s father was a pharmacist and his mother, a social organiser.
• He is the second of the five children born to his parents.
• Mr Amarteifio studied for eight years at the Government Boys School, Accra.
• Between 1957 and 1964, he attended Achimota School where he had his secondary and ‘sixth form’ education.
He studied Architecture at Howard University in Washington DC from 1964 to 1969 for his Bachelor of Science degree.
• He also pursued his master’s degree at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, USA.