A Revealing History on The Origin of The Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and Why it is Called: “Gee”

In the 1940s, there was a segregated hospital located on the hill over-looking Bantama Township called: African and European Hospitals.

As their names implied, the African side treated Africans while the European side treated Europeans.

However, on some rare occasions, high-ranking African government officials were given treatment in the European section. (Executive Treatment)

By 1952, there was the need to construct a new hospital to cater for the fast increasing population in the Ashanti Region.

The European Hospital was therefore transferred to the Kwadaso Military Quarters to make way for the new project to begin.

In 1954/55 the new hospital complex was completed and named the Kumasi Central Hospital during the epoch of Prempeh II, the 14th Asantehene.

The name was later changed to the Komfo Anokye Hospital in honour and memory of the powerful and legendary fetish priest, Komfo Anokye.

The hospital became a Teaching hospital in 1975 for the training of Medical Student in collaboration with the School of Medical Sciences of the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.

At the time of its construction, the $10.2 MILLION HOSPITAL was seen as a “PRESTIGE PROJECT” under the business administration of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the British.

Yes! it was during the time Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was Leader of Government Business of the Gold Coast that the “Hospital for Europeans” was cast out to the “Kwadaso Military Quarters”.

when it was first completed and commissioned by Kwame Nkrumah in 1954, it was formally named the “Kumasi Central Hospital.”

Later it was re-named the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), it was never titled “Kwame Nkrumah Hospital for Kumasi” even though the hospital was built for Africans in the Gold Coast under the leadership of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

(Some people still think the Hospital should have been named after Ghana CS fist leader and the Pan-africanist, Dr. Nkrumah.)

The British firm that constructed KATH during 1952-1954 (Gee, Walker & Slater Ltd.), started humbly in Ripley, UK, as a family joinery, picture framing, and undertaker business in 1864.

Samuel Gee, whose name became synonymous with the hospital in Kumasi joined the firm in 1870.

He soon left, returned as a foreman for a local construction company, then married the daughter of the principal of Walker & Slater Ltd, in 1884.

In short order, Gee and his sons controlled the company (Gee, Walker & Slater Ltd).

Through World War I and later, they built munition buildings, warehouses, factories, luxury apartments, and publicly financed municipal flats.

Even so, it was not until 1923, about 60 years after the founding of the company, that Gee, Walker & Slater Ltd., “…celebrated a major landmark in its history when it won its first contract in London – a nurses’ home for the North Middlesex Hospital, in Edmonton…”

Twenty-five more years later, the company was given the contract to build KATH in Kumasi, in the then-Gold Coast.

And Gee, Walker & Slater Ltd. did not disappoint!

The Gee company constructed the 510-bed hospital to specification!

In fact, the company preserved the legendary Komfo Anokye Sword on the hallowed ground where it existed by constructing around it, like they did at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, or other major historical landmarks that have been preserved all over the world.

According to trusted observers in those days who witnessed the mysterious event, Gee attempted to pull out the [Komfo Anokye] sword, at times using heavy-duty machinery, but failed.

He abandoned the idea after several efforts, because at each effort the sword showed signs of disappearance and reappearance, which frightened him.

Indeed, this was part of a preservation program for an important Asante historical and cultural artifact.

Consequently, when, in 1964, Mr. Muhammad Ali, (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., in 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky), then the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, attempted to pull the Sword from that sacred ground in Kumasi, Mr. Ali certainly recognized the tremendous significance of the sword in Ghanaian history and culture.

Mr. Muhammad could not have had any intent to actually, physically, positively, “pull” the Komfo Anokye Sword from that hallowed ground at the entrance to the Kumasi Central Hospital.

After 66 years of existence, KATH deserves more than what we see.

🇬🇭God Bless our Homeland Ghana!

This story was put together by: Henry Kwadwo Amoako (🇬🇭Ghanaian Historian and Social Scientist)

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