My long and close association with the late Prof. S. O. Gyandoh, whom I affectionately called Cousin S. O. began at Mfantsipim School in the 1950s. As is well known, Mfantsipim was the first secondary school to be established in this country at Cape Coast in 1876 by the Methodist Missionaries, with the active support and encouragement of the British Colonial Government. The school celebrated its 147th Anniversary this year, 2021.
Among the products of the school, which is often profoundly referred to as “THE SCHOOL” by old boys of the school to distinguish it from the other second cycle institutions established in Cape Coast in the colonial era by the other Missionaries (the Anglicans in the case of Adisadel College and the Catholics in the case of St. Augustine’s College) was Cousin S. O.. I met him at the school in 1954 when I entered Form 2. He and his mates were then in Upper 6th Form.
Mfantsipim was a citadel of discipline in those days, with a culture of respect for seniority. Any “Junior Boy” was expected to show due respect for a “Senior Boy”, on pain of punishment by the Senior Boy. Senior Gyandoh took a special interest in me as a Junior Boy, mentored and guided me in the paths of discipline and good behaviour. He often aided me in my studies and freely placed at my disposal the benefits of his experience as a Senior Boy.
It thus came as no surprise when later we both discovered that we were in fact related to each other as cousins. That was when he was a lecturer at the Law Faculty, Legon and I was preparing to enter the University. With a great deal of passion, he coaxed me to the virtues and values of the Law as an academic discipline and assisted in establishing me in Sarbah Hall where he was the Master. There, Cousin S. O. favoured me with every facility that was in his power to dispense to a student. In particular, he and his dear wife Louisa invited me almost everyday to wine and dine with them at their residence. Louisa was an extremely kind and hospitable hostess and I am most grateful to her for her services at the time.
Prof. S. O. Gyandoh, a distinguished scholar, a proficient lecturer in Constitutional Law, was author of a source book on Ghana Constitutional Law which is still in use as a Reference Book by students of Constitutional Law. Cousin S. O., if I disappointed you in not specialising in Constitutional Law as you urged me to, please forgive me. But be assured that I owe you an enormous debt of gratitude for whatever I have achieved in my career as a legal practitioner.
Cousin S. O. was a fine gentleman, very open, amiable and kind hearted. It was always a pleasure to be in his company as he was full of jokes and hearty laughter. Throughout the long years that he lived in the United States as a Law Professor, we kept contact with each other and on his relocation to Ghana, we saw each other regularly. In January this year, he called to remind me of my 82nd birthday which falls on 26th April this year and enquired about arrangements towards the occasion. And just two weeks before the announcement of his passing, I sent him a special invitation for a treat in my new abode.
Prof. S. O. Gyandoh, Cousin S. O., I shall forever cherish our long term association and harbour fond memories of the love and affection you showered on me.
Fare thee well. Damirfa Due, Cousin S. O.