2nd Decade (1951-1960)
Recounted by Old Man Quayson (Father of the Original Abeku)
In 1950, I married a second Letitia; Miss Letitia Mercer and Abeku relocated from Cape Coast to live with us on Hansen Road Palladium, Accra. I knew it was not easy for my boy Abeku (the second born of my nine children) as he tried to adjust and fit into life in Accra. As a Cape Coast youngster, he didn’t understand Ga and didn’t quite fit in at the Korle Gonno Roman Catholic School in Accra. But he was determined to overcome these challenges as he picked up the Ga language and started acting like a real Ganyobi.
As was expected of a bright boy lad like him, he sat for the common entrance and passed with flying colours.
Achimota School was his first choice of school and he was so so eager to sing “From Gambaga to Accra…” He confidently attended the entrance interview and we were all shocked when the list came out and he hadn’t made the list. How? Andrew was crushed and inconsolable. At that time, I was preparing to go to London for a course and decided to take Abeku along with me for the summer holidays. Andrew was excited to sail away to London. While in London, I made the decision to enroll young Andrew at St. Joseph’s College, Beulah Hill London, the first secondary school to be founded in the United Kingdom (U.K) by De La Salle brothers from France.
Although he was the first and only black student amongst a student population of 500, my son excelled in the La Salle Community. The Community challenged students to fulfill their potential in every aspect of their lives; academic, sporting, artistic, social and spiritual.
Abeku made me proud when he was made the Captain of the only Boarding House. He passed his ‘0’ and ‘A’ levels and left the school with an outstanding sporting record. Andrew won the College’s Victor Ludorum Prize for the best graduating student in studies and sports in 1959.
Andrew continued to make me proud as he entered the University College London (UCL), London in 1959 to read Chemical Engineering. Although he was amongst the first Ghanaians to study the subject this did not prevent him from excelling at it. UCL was a vibrant intellectual place and was regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Abeku graduated in 1963 from UCL with a BSc in Chemical Engineering.
The one thing that made Andrew stand out in all he did was the fact that he ensured he enjoyed every single aspect of his life. At UCL he participated fully in social and sporting activities. He was the first Black Captain of the UCL Football Club, a club that fielded seven teams each week. His most memorable experience at UCL as a 21 year old black student was successfully leading the College’s 1st Team Football, made up of white students on a tour of Germany to play Mainz, Marburg and Manheim Universities.
When I returned to Ghana, Andrew lived with the Jones, a family of Mr. Robert Jones, a colleague of mine in the then Gold Coast. Mr. David Jones and Mrs. Elma, both of blessed memory were his guardians and he easily adapted to being the older brother of David and Philip, their sons. He remained close to his Jones brothers through the years. Living with this family in Higher Bebington, Cheshire completed Abeku metamorphosis as an English Man! The influence of Mr. David Jones, a Chief Building Inspector with Liverpool City Council and Mrs. Elma Jones a manager at the Unilever establishment at Port Sunlight, was very instrumental in shaping his professional direction.