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Meet the first African professor to have taught at the University of Ghana

He was Ghana’s Prime Minister from 1969 to 1972 and is credited with his efforts to restore civilian government to Ghana following military rule.

Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia achieved many strides in education which appeared to have been his first love before his full conversion into politics.

In this piece, we explore his educational history while highlighting the role he played as an African and Ghanaian in Ghana’s educational history.

Basic to Doctorate education:

Born in Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region in July 11, 1913, Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia received his basic education at the Methodist School in Wenchi, his secondary education at the Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast and then furthered to the Achimota College.

After this, he gained his first degree with Honours in Medieval and Modern History from the University of London and went on to study at the University College in Oxford as the first African student.

Though he returned to the Gold Coast after his first degree, he went back to achieve higher feats in Oxford.

In 1947, he earned a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Anthropology at the Nuffield College in Oxford – England and returned to the Gold Coast (now Ghana) to continue his teaching profession.

First African lecturer in Ghana:

Dr. Abrefa Busia was appointed the first lecturer in African Studies and the first African to occupy a chair at the University College of the Gold Coast (now the University of Ghana).

Reiterating this in an interview with Citi TV’s ‘Footprint TV’ program, sister of the late former Prime Minister, Ama Bame Busia said,

“He was a lecturer at Legon. The first African to become a professor in Legon,” she said.

Choice between education and politics:

According to Ama Bame Busia, her older brother, Dr. Busia had to, at a point in his career, flee the country into exile because of political tensions in the country between him (as leader of then Ghana Congress Party which later became the United Party) against then President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

“This was during the time that political tension between Dr. Busia and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was at its height and Kwame Nkrumah wanted to arrest and detain Dr. Busia in July 1959 so he had to leave the country.

“The political tension was so high that they gave him an ultimatum either to stop teaching and do full-time politics or stop politics and do full-time teaching and he chose politics.

“He was compelled to leave the teaching field. He was teaching sociology,” he added.

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