The bust of the late queen mother Manye Nueki Carboo, sat with some regal pride in its bronze hue. Fingers embracing each other in some statement of authority.
This was the commissioning of a new junior high school (JHS) building of the New Ningo District Assembly, D/A Primary ‘B’. It was constructed by the siblings of the late queen mother and donated to the community last Saturday.
The JHS block has an ICT laboratory, a lavatory, Staff Common Room and a store-room.
“This happens to be one of the most beautiful school building in the whole of the district,” the District Director of the Education hailed the effort which was endorsed by applause.
It was the late queen mother who cut the sod for the building of the re-located school in 2000. But cutting the tape for the new school block it was another woman, the Second Lady, Samira Bawumia who was the special guest of honour.
In a way, it felt like what the late queen mother could not achieve in class, another of her kind, Mrs Bawumia had compensated her and taken over to commission the block.
And so on the sunny Saturday of April 8, 2017, right in front of the new JHS block, late queen mother of Ningo Manye Nueki Carboo was immortalised in a piece of a solid brass bust.
Unlike many a moody bust, this one had a broad buoyant smile – a smile of satisfaction of one who had completed a task – a kind of ‘it is finished smile’.
We were later to understand through the speeche delivered by the CEO of Multimedia Group Limited, Kwasi Twum, that indeed this woman had lived a full and fulfilled life;
“Life may throw rotten maize at you, don’t give up, gather it and prepare delicious “Apapransa or Medaa,” he told the students at a ceremony to mark the handing over of the building.
Before the bust and the building would be unveiled, Mr Twum, led his audience to unveil a life that said no and never in the midst of stark difficulties when the odds of sucess was quite firmly set against her.
The late queen mother did not complete elementary school but she did not settle for elementary dreams.
Feisty as a boxer, impatient with the lax and lazy, ‘Auntie Giftie’, as she was also known, dragged herself out through her entrepreneurial spirit.
Counting from the CEO’s speech, she did at least 10 different buying-and-selling activities from charcoal, to importing fabrics and to supplying goods to the Ministry of Defence.
As he testified to his mother’s business acumen, he perhaps uncannily exposed his own attributes confirming that this spirit was a genetic inheritance from his mother.
A ‘gidigidi’ type of woman, she bullishly picked up other women’s fight even before women’s rights became official and trendy.
She died in the United States on March 2, 2016.
In life she was a gift to entrepreneurship, in death she is now a gift to children.
In 894 words, the CEO told the school children how his mother was “a woman who did not let any circumstance rob her of her big dreams and ambitions”.
Limited by her education but with unlimited confidence, it was common to see his mother debate lawyers and politicians finding great faith in her own maverick and streetwise understanding of issues.
From the remarks of the headteacher Patience Osei Poku, life has thrown quite a number of rotten maize at the school established in 1968.
The school had moved a number of times until it settled in its current location in 2000, having spent more than 30 years in the wilderness.
Reading culture among students in the community is very poor and “it is eating deep into the fibre of our students leading to poor performance of our students”, the headteacher pointed out.
Yet when life threw family life at Samira Bawumia, then a nursing mother, she made out if it, an overall best student in her MA class at GIMPA.
When life threw hardship at Auntie Gifty she made several businesses out of it. When it threw the queenmother’s death at the Kwasi Twum family, they made a school building out of it.
Now life has thrown an ultra modern school block at New Ningo community, it is now their turn to make leaders out of it.