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The news of the transition of our emblematic music and history teacher pierced our hearts and revived profound memories of survival melodies we sang to offset loneliness and fight fear in a cherished land faraway beyond the seas. Mr Tordzro’s tunes inspired resolute feelings of strength, hope and resilience as we forged a future for ourselves and families. Such was his influence!
Today, as we pay tribute to the memory of our departed Teacher and Comrade, Mr Kwao Tordzro, whom we affectionately called Ironman, we are laden with heavy hearts but we are comforted that the Lord gave us the privilege to meet a teacher, friend, mentor and comrade. As we honour him, we take comfort in the words of Shakespeare: “ The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.”
Our solemn duty as a fraternity, in commemoration of the memories we shared, is not only to mourn the painful exit of Kwao Tordzro but to treasure the good moments we shared on the Isle of Youth, Cuba and beyond. For Ironman’s good deeds are not easy to forget. They helped forge the successful citizens, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters we have become. His music taught us to value family and culture in our upbringing and emphasised the virtue of hard work in order to become successful.
Ironman’s acquaintance with us began in 1985, when he was drafted by the Ministry of Education, to lead the History and Culture Department of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Institute on the Isle of Youth as part of the Ghana -Cuba Scholarship Programme. His selection was based on his ideologic, pedagogic and music skills.
He joined his colleagues teachers at the Achimota School where the teachers and students were undergoing orientation in preparation for their deployment to Cuba. The arrival of Ironman changed the atmosphere of the camp tremendously as he plunged into work with great enthusiasm, taking the students through history, politics, singing and cultural performances.
On the 3rd September, 1985 a second batch of 145 Ghanaian students, led by six teachers including Ironman landed on the Isle of Youth, Cuba. Ironman brought a lot of energy, enthusiasm and dynamism in the organization of cultural activities at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial School in particular and the Isle of Youth in general.
Borborbor, Takai, a dance from the North, were his favourites. Under his tutelage, some students displayed excellent drumming and dancing skills that left visitors to the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial School ( ESBEC # 22) pleasantly surprised.
He led the then Democratic Youth League of Ghana( DYLG) and exposed the members to socialism, communism and capitalism. The two years that Mr. Tordzro spent on the Isle of Youth
were so memorable that students who came long after his departure still loved and cherished him.
Ironman endeared himself not only to the students but also to Ghanaian teachers and the Cuban educational authorities because of his dedication to duty, hardwork and above all his deep knowledge of Pan-Africansim. To that effect, Ironman would lead the commemoration of every anniversary of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU). He was also very instrumental in the cultural exchanges between us and foreign students on the Island, particularly African students.
Undoubtedly, in the absence of our parents in that critical stage of our formation, Ironman together with other Ghanaian Teachers, were our guardians, protectors and comforters when there was grief. Ironman instilled the values of hard work, resilience, selflessness, a solution–oriented approach to problems and a patriotic spirit, which have become the hallmarks of Cuban Trained Ghanaian Graduates .
Those attributes are most relevant today as we strive to make meaningful contributions to the Ghanaian political and socio-economic fabric, as we serve mother Ghana in various capacities as medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, biomedical scientists, radiographers, engineers, veterinary doctors, agronomists, accountants, economists, statisticians, architects, business men and women, computer scientists, entrepreneurs, etc.. Thanks to the sense of patriotism, humility and selflessness that Mr. Tordzro and many other guardians inculcated in us, we stand with our heads high as join hands with our compatriots to build a better future for future Ghanaian generations.
Following his return from Cuba in 1987, Iron man began putting his skills as a politician, writer and social commentator to practice. He composed songs and contributed to political debate. However, his health started to deteriorate about seven years ago. He battled this ailment with courage until 1st November, 2022, when our dear Ironman decided that he had run his race on as many stages as the world could have offered him and decided to the take solace in the protection of God and his ancestors.
Iron man , your departure has left a great void in the lives of all ESBECANS. We will always cherish you for molding us and for what you stood for.
Ame si tua dukɔ mekuna o,
Ame si kpa ɖevi vaseɖe tsitsime,
Etɔe nye yayra kple ŋutifafa,
Ame si fiaa mɔ le zãme,
Etɔenye mavɔmavɔ me,
Eyata zã hã me kɔ nami egbe,
Eyata mia ƒe agbenɔnɔ xɔ yayra
Kafukafu kple akpedada,
Ʋu gãwo ɖegbe,
Tɔgbuiwo xɔ teƒe nyui da ɖe anyi nawò,
Blewuu! blewuu! blewuu!
Descanse en paz, compatriota !
Hasta la Gloria !!!