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By Kwesi Atta Sakyi 15th September 2014
(Professor Alexander Adum Kwapong was my Vice Chancellor for one year from 1975 to 1976, during the stormy and heady aluta continua days at Legon, and other campuses in Ghana. He was succeeded by Professor Daniel Adzei Bekoe of the Chemistry Department)
Obenefo Katakyi Kankambowa Alexander Adum Kwapong,
Damirifa due! Damarifa due! Damirifa due!
Ghanafo nyinaa ma mo yaako. Mo nduei ne amanehunu
May your acolytes around the world
Who proselytized under your tutelage and VCship at Legon salute,
From 1953 to 1976, you made Legon your abode to share your wide knowledge,
You who fathomed the depths of tomes to excavate knowledge,
You evinced flashes of the bounteous beauties of Classics and Philosophy,
As instruments for the purgation of crudities of the mind,
For banishing ignorance and recrudescence,
Yea, the quest of the ages,
Nay, the zest of sages,
Philosophy, mocker and confuser of nitwits, dimwits, misfits,
Sans culottes, mundane pedestrian pretenders after filthy lucre-
Aye, Father Confucius and the Heavenly Muses, come to our aid to restore sanity in our systems,
Grant the ennoblement of our minds,
Just as you did to your son, Kwabena Sei (Osei), alias Professor Kwapong
Who am I, son of a poor fisherman?
To propose love to fairest Philosophy and Classics,
Loves of our late Kwapong?
Oh, who am I, to espy gorgeous form of Classics and Philosophy,
Mother of high intellectual leanings?
When eminent philosophers shied away from presumptive preposterousness,
Likes of Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Thucydides and a panoply of the Athenian Academy,
Even in their best intellectual garbs
Only glimpsed facets of your dazzling form in your domain and dorm,
The bone the Hyena failed to crack; the Dog boasts it will crush!
Philosophy, you explain life and death in one breath,
That death begins at birth
And life is programmed to expire
As Shakespeare, the Bard, observed,
Life is a big stage,
We make our entrances and exits in the big drama of life,
But Kwapong was a prima donna, and dramatis personae,
Kwapong of Suapong K3se, Legon, played his part from bottom of his heart,
Oh Ghana’s sunshine is dimmed,
A cumulus-nimbus cloud has obscured our light,
Something peppery and chilli-like has entered our eyes,
Our tears flow like streams and rivers in the peak of the rainy season,
Draining into Fraw (Volta),
Our Man Mountain and intellectual
Mahogany has been uprooted,
Many a bird has lost its nestling in the shade of academic respite,
Despite our restraint, our tears keep flowing and flooding the forest of knowledge
Our Gari has been mixed with sand and gravel,
Our Akosombo Power Station has experienced an intellectual blackout
Kwapong, you were an Odum tree
In the midst of cacti, mistletoes, brambles, and prickly sharp needles of silk cotton trees,
Kwapong, you sailed the seven seas,
You soared high in many stratospheres
You towered tall over intellectual dwarfs,
Vice Chancellor of Legon 1966 to 1976
Vice Rector UN University, Tokyo 1976 to 1988
Chairman Ghana Council of State 2001 to 2005
Distinguished member, Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences,
The list is endless…..
Oh Mother Philosophy, your fair form
Frustrates and bemuses us as we mourn your son
Pray, offer us solace and solution to this conundrum,
We grieve and mourn at this great loss,
Yet, we are mortal and at a loss
Philosophy, were you conceived in contradictions and contradistinctions?
Philosophy, we queue to worship
And proselyte at your altar of convoluted sophistry,
At the Eleusinian heights,
Where initiates baptize
At Bacchus Shrine till they lie comatose in their brine,
At Bacchus Shrine, where the Phallus sign witnesses no shine,
As associates and disciples dabble in the deep bellies
Of Aristotelian eudemonism
And Socratic syncretism-
Where neophytes drink deep from Pope’s Pierian springs,
Lest, shallow draughts intoxicate and becloud their minds
And obfuscates them from enlightenment,
Blake’s Paradise lost echoes across time and space
But the human race learns no lessons from poets symbolic mace
Philosophy, are you mired in mirage or in abstruse abstractions?
Are you able to cause phantasmagoric hallucinations and illusions or cataclysmic categorical imperatives?
Are you a scion of logical syllogisms, speculative divinations and circular polemics?
At your fountain, we imbibe holy vibes of Platonic absolute universals, rational realism and pragmatic dogmatism
Thomas Kuhn, Francis Bacon, David Hume, Kant, Wiggenstein, Descartes, all play by the rule,
Nietzsche stands aloof and isolated, on the parapet of history, his story, better obliterated,
We succumb to suckling Einstein’s relativity against the backdrop of universal unifying theory,
All in a rainbow coalition radiance of academic brilliance, yet brittleness is more fragile,
Oh Philosophy, you create academic riddance and brouhahas
In your winding alleys of sophistry,
Who am I, the poor fisherman’s son, to complain or contemplate?
Even Oxonian and Cambridigian wranglers
Sometimes skirt the hem of your skirts,
Failing to pierce the kernel of your elusive form,
Nay, I’d rather die an unlettered and unclassical folk,
Rustic with my Kweku Ananse fairy tales and Aesopian fables
Than suffer the morbid torture toying with eclectic elusives in Classics and Philosophy,
The tirade of tomes of Homer, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Thucydides
What with the anorous and tortile homilies, intrigues and epic Odysseys in Greek and Latin,
Cicero, Ovid, Livius….
In the lofty courts of your palatial domes,
Kwapong read tomes and tomes to earn the Olympian tripos, tiara, and coveted accolades
Like Pheidipides, he ran a great marathon
Owurapa da yie. Onyankopong Kokoroko Oboade3 mfa wo nkodu fie dwodwoodwo!
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