Nana Alan Rudwick
    Class of ’51

    Nana Alan Rudwick was Headmaster of Achimota School from 1965 to 1977.
    During his final year at Cambridge, where he read History, two of his university
    colleagues, Alex Kwapong and Patrick Anin, encouraged him to apply for a
    teaching position at a school in Ghana called Achimota College, their alma mater.
    Alan had heard of Achimota. There were pictures of it on display at the
    Commonwealth Institute in London. Alex and Patrick—later, respectively, Vice
    Chancellor of the University of Ghana and a Ghanaian High Court judge—both
    spoke so enthusiastically about the school that he decided to apply anyway.

    They literally propelled me to, he says. There was, however, one more hurdle for the 23-year-old
    Englishman to clear. Before the appointment, he was interviewed in London by no less than the Old
    Chief himself, the Reverend Alexander G. Fraser, Achimota’s legendary first principal. Mercifully,
    Fraser ended the nerve-wracking interview by saying there and then: “Yes, young Rudwick, you’ll
    do very well at Achimota.”

    Thus begun a 27-year relationship with Achimota that, in many ways, came to mirror the milestones
    of his own life. Born the year Achimota began, 1927, he arrived at the school just before its Silver
    Jubilee in 1952, and retired at 50 just after Achimota’s Golden Jubilee in 1977. (He counts himself as
    a member of the Class of ’51, the year he got there.) In between, Alan taught history, served as
    Cadbury Housemaster, was promoted to Assistant Headmaster at just 32 (serving under Dr. Daniel
    Chapman Nyaho, then Dr. Isaac Chinebuah), and to Headmaster in 1965. Two years later, in a
    solemn ceremony, complete with palanquin and sacred libations, the Old Achimotan community
    installed—or more correctly and traditionally, enstooled—him as Nana, or chief, of the Achimota
    community, a gesture of acceptance into Ghanaian culture that deeply moved him.

    Rudwick’s vision as headmaster was to raise academic standards, modernize the school (rewire
    and repaint buildings, resurface roads, upgrade street lighting), and spur a revival of the Achimota
    spirit. To that end, he instituted the very popular Inter-House Singing Competition and the
    Gardening Competition. The Art School, expanded under him, encouraged the work of student
    artists such as Delaquis who later launched brilliant careers. The annual Festival of Nine Lessons
    and Carols, established earlier by Dr. Chinebuah, became so popular that it went to repeat
    performances. Gilbert and Sullivan operas flourished, with both students and staff playing lead
    roles. The Founders Day celebrations became wonderful occasions for everyone to show pride in
    Ghanaian culture, with dancing and drumming in great tribal processions up to the main
    administration building.

    Students came to look forward to visiting the Headmaster’s Residence after dinner on Saturday for
    one of the several open-air drama performances held in his capacious garden, plays by writers such
    as Molière and Goldoni. These became cultural highlights of the school year. One of those
    memorable dramas was The Ghost’s Revenge, a full-length play written by a Sixth Former, Joris
    Wartenberg (Guggisberg House, Class of ’69), who went on to create the most successful sitcom
    ever on Ghana television, Osofo Dadzie.

    That Rudwick would stage a student-written play at his home was perhaps not all that surprising.
    He took a genuine interest in students and sought ways to empower them. As one Old Achimotan
    recalls, he taught the current affairs section of her Lower Sixth Form general paper course in 1974,
    and even invited Effah Dartey, then in Upper Sixth, to teach the class on the Vietnam Nam War—
    quite possibly a first at Achimota. He encouraged other students to try their hand at teaching, and
    one such went on to become a parliamentarian and Deputy Minister of Local Government. He and
    his wife Ann often invited Sixth Formers to their home for lunch; and when the British Council in
    Accra showed Jacob Bronowski’s groundbreaking documentary series The Ascent of Man (1973), he
    was so excited about it that he made a bus available for Sixth Formers to leave school on
    Saturdays to attend the entire 13-part BBC series.

    It was during Rudwick’s tenure that the PTA was formed, and the Western Compound again
    became an operational part of Achimota, enabling the school to continue to set the standard as
    Ghana’s top coeducational boarding school despite rapid expansion. But when Achimota celebrated
    its Golden Jubilee in 1977, with the Prince of Wales and President Sir Dauda Jawara of The Gambia,
    an alumnus, in attendance, Alan knew it was the right time for him to hand on the baton. He was
    very proud to be awarded the Grand Medal of Ghana for Services to Education.

    He and his wife, Dr Ann Rudwick, a paediatrician, and once the Achimota School doctor before
    moving to the University of Ghana Medical School, retired to Spain. Alan had always said he wanted
    to live in Spain. In 1983 they moved back to England, where she worked for the National Health
    Service and he became the Royal Commonwealth Society’s Membership Secretary. Both positions
    were ideal ways for them to keep in touch with Akoras passing through London and share
    memories.

    Although they have lived in the Isle of Wight since 1994, Dr. Rudwick still regularly attends OAA-UK
    meetings in London as a Trustee of the Achimota Trust Fund. Alan’s health has prevented him from
    attending. She says she particularly enjoys the splendid Ghanaian dishes her hosts always provide
    and makes sure to package some to bring back to Nana who, as one Deputy Senior Prefect
    remembers it, never failed as Headmaster to invite himself to the Western Compound Prefects High
    Table on Wednesdays, for one reason in particular: rice and groundnut soup or palm nut soup, with
    seconds. Nana claims he does not recall this, but admits to holding one unchallenged record: No
    headmaster in the history of Achimota school has consumed more dotch (fried ripe plantain) than
    he has.
Nana Alan Rudwick