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6 former Heads of State in Africa who attended Achimota School

The Achimota School was founded in 1924 and formally opened in 1927 in 1927.

The school was formally opened in 1927 as a boarding school with the self-declared aim of “providing for the educational needs of the people of the Gold Coast”.

The nickname of the Achimota School is “Motown” and an alumnus or alumni of the college is called “Akora”.

The founders of the school are Dr. James Emma Kwegyir, Sir Fredrick Gordon Guggisberg, and Rev. Alexander Garden Fraser.

The centre of the school complex, which besides a primary and a secondary school consists also of a school-own kindergarten, a hospital, a police station, and a golf course.

The motto of the school is Ut Omnes Unum Sint meaning “That all may be one”​, a reference to the founders’​ expressed the philosophy that starting in the context of school life, black and white, male and female, everyone should integrate and combine synergistically for the good of all.

The school has churned out many leaders in Ghana and the African continent including Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Edward Akufo-Addo, Jerry John Rawlings, and John Evans Atta Mills all of whom are former Heads of State of Ghana.

Former Prime Minister of Ghana, Kofi Abrefa Busia also taught at Achimota as a student/teacher and then staff.

Also included on the list of African heads of state are Zimbabwe’s longest-serving president Robert Mugabe and Sir Dawda Jawara, the first head of state of The Gambia.

Here are six African Heads of State the Achimota School produced to lead their countries.

Sir Dawda Jawara

He was a Gambian politician who served as Prime Minister from 1962 to 1970, and then as the first President of the Gambia from 1970 to 1994.

He was educated at the Methodist Boys’ School in Bathurst and then attended Achimota College in Ghana.

He trained as a veterinary surgeon at the University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine and then completed his training at the University of Liverpool.

He decided to enter politics and became secretary of the new People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and was elected to the House of Representatives in the 1960 election.

He became the leader of the PPP and then the country’s first Prime Minister in 1962, only the second-ever head of government following Pierre Sarr N’Jie’s term as Chief Minister.

Under Jawara, The Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1965. He remained as Prime Minister and Elizabeth II remained as head of state as Queen of the Gambia.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

He was the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana, having led the Gold Coast to independence from Britain in 1957

He was an influential advocate of Pan-Africanism, Nkrumah was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and winner of the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union in 1962.

Nkrumah was Ghana’s President and he was in office for 5 years, 240 days between July 1, 1960, to February 24, 1966.

He attended Government Training College soon to become Achimota School and graduated in 1930.

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President from 1987 to 2017.

He served as the leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) from 1975 to 1980 and led its successor political party, the ZANU – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), from 1980 to 2017.

The former Zimbabwean was a student of Achimota School.

John Evans Atta Mills

He was a Ghanaian politician and legal scholar who served as President of Ghana from 2009 until his death in July 2012.

Atta Mills was previously the Vice-President from 1997 to 2001 under President Jerry Rawlings, and he contested unsuccessfully in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections as the candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He had his primary and middle school education at Huni Valley Methodist Primary School and Komenda Methodist Middle School respectively.

He then proceeded to the prestigious Achimota School for his secondary education, where he completed the Ordinary and Advanced-Level Certificates in 1961 and 1963 respectively, and the University of Ghana, Legon, where he completed a bachelor of a law degree, LLB, and a professional law certificate in 1967.

Edward Akufo-Addo

He was a member of the “Big six” leaders of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) and one of the founding fathers of Ghana who engaged in the fight for Ghana’s independence.

He became the Chief Justice from 1966–70, and later President 1970–72 of the Republic of Ghana.

He had his basic education at Presbyterian Primary and Middle Schools at Akropong.

He continued to Presbyterian Training College, Akropong, and Abetifi Theological Training College.

In 1929, he entered Achimota College, where he won a scholarship to St Peter’s College, Oxford, where he studied Mathematics, Politics, and Philosophy.

Jerry John Rawlings

Jerry John Rawlings was a Ghanaian military officer and politician who led the country from 1981 to 2001.

He led a military junta until 1992, and then served two terms as the democratically elected President of Ghana.

He came to power in Ghana as a flight lieutenant of the Ghana Air Force following a coup d’état in 1979. Prior to that, he led an unsuccessful coup attempt against the ruling military government on 15 May 1979, just five weeks before scheduled democratic elections were due to take place.

After handing power over to a civilian government, he took back control of the country on 31 December 1981 as the chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).

In 1992, Rawlings resigned from the military, founded the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and became the first President of the Fourth Republic.

He was re-elected in 1996 for four more years and died in November 2020, at age 73, and was accorded a state funeral.



Credit: Pulse Ghana

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