The Katanga
The Katanga

Considered one of Ghana’s finest senior secondary schools, Adisadel College’s rich history makes it the idea place for the training of the mind and body. The beautiful landscape and the tropical ecological preserves give it a unique and a siren learning environment.

One of the rich lessons of the school is deeply rooted in the self-reliant Adisadel spirit. Students are taught to be self-reliant. In the same spirit that Alan Knight, the creator of the college supervised students to build the school on the hill and construct the sports pavilion. This self-help ethic and the desire to assist one another permeated the student body. The approximately 1.5 square kilometers campus sits over a hill and valleys. The hill known as upper school (Leopoldville) is where the academic and administrative facilities are located and the lower school is known as (Katanga, named after a province in DR Congo).

Another rich lesson in Adisadel College is the Katanga. The Katanga is a fine stretched landscape of 83 stairways that rises over 150 ft that connects students in the lower school to the classrooms.

The Katanga represents the steps you take in life. If you needed to get to the classroom (the world we wanted to have) then you will need to take the Katanga. That was getting to the top the hard way. You were not allowed to get there by any short means though there were such paths in the school. One of such was the ‘Apian way’. This teaches the student that not all paths lead you to your destination. This was the lesson of the Katanga. To achieve the good life, students are trained by walking daily on the 83 stairway to care enough about life to put effort ahead of ego, pleasure and pride.

In life, all you need is to locate and choose the right path. Every step on the path (Katanga) brings you closer to your destination. On the Katanga, different students’ behaviours reveal life very situations. Some students run on it in order to get ahead of others. Others take their time to walk on it while others still need support of friends to reach to the top of Katanga. I never heard nor saw students returning to their dormitories because they could not take the 83 stairs to their classrooms. This is a spirit of not giving up when faced with life challenges.

That is how the right path in life looks like. We all do not get to the top of Katanga at the same time. But at the end of the day, no student is a loser. This is what Adisadel College teaches us.

Sometimes we felt so weak walking on it. Some after 45 stairs, felt like giving up. There were days you walked on it hungry and at another time full and satisfied. There were days we cursed the Katanga for adding to our worries and sorrows. Yet too, there were days we danced and made merry on the Katanga at our joyous moments.

Life does not present us with the same situation everyday. Our days in life are mixed for our own comfort and lesson. Life was not meant to be that kind of easy and students are made aware of that the first day they step foot on campus.

The idea of constructing the Katanga as part of the landscape of Adisadel in connection with training and preparing young students for future life portrays the very idea that life is a competition for all and finds its expression in the motto of the school. Every aspect of life is a game which one must engage at a personal level and that there must always be winners and losers. Every student in school and after school must strive to live by the motto of the school which says either the first or with the first. In Adisadel College, no one is a loser. A winning mentality is what students uphold in their academics and life pursuits.

At times we took short route (‘apian way’) in order to get there but we did not use that route all the time. We eventually had to return to take the Katanga. Life is training. The harder you go through, the better person you become.

The Katanga like the way of life is not a straight one. There is no straight path to where one is going in life. Paulo Coelho says straight roads do not make skillful drivers. The beautiful design landscape stairway picture of life amazes me. It projects you from a low-level in life to a high status. It shows you the progress you would need to make in getting to your destined life. This is hard work and discipline. It is difficult climbing than getting down. That is life. You spend so many years preparing and attaining greatness but it also takes just a moment to destroy all that you have taken years to build. You climbed with your back turned away from your dorm (home). Life is about focus. Our struggles to the top of life are like walking the Katanga. When you are at the down, you do not see the world but once you are up, the world comes under your feet.

The first thing any student who walks to the top of Katanga will do is to turn and look down at how far he has come. He looks up and sees the world (the Cape Coast township) beneath him. You are on top of the world.

This is how beautiful and well thought out Adisadel College buildings and land scape relate to the realities of life.


The writer is an old student of the College.