Biography of Paul Archibald Vianney Ansah
“I am hereby serving notice that today, I am going to town … What this means is that those who have a weak heart or a weak stomach are forewarned not to read beyond this point. Notice is hereby also served that those who think they need a standby dictionary should reach for it because I shall be going to my repertoire or arsenal …”
With that warning, the scholar and choleric advocate for democracy, freedom and justice strode into town and announced his presence in public space – a place he believed to be free for all and best-suited for public debate. It was customary for him to descend to the gutters and deal with the nonsense he had seen and heard, before ascending to his Ivory Tower of intellectual power. He earned many nicknames, among them “PAVA,” or “PAV,” “Monday Morning Terror,” “The man from Prabiw Street,” and these all referred to a native son with a passion for throwing caution to the wind, telling the truth and damning the consequences. In his own words, he was “a scholar, a Christian and a gentleman.”
Paul Archibald Vianney Kwesi Enu Ansah was born on 20th February, 1938 at A69 Prabiw Street, Saltpond, in the Nkusukum traditional area of the Central Region of Ghana. His father was Joseph John Ansah, Esq. and his mother was Mrs. Agnes Ansah, all of Saltpond. He was the fifth of six children.
Paul attended St. John the Baptist Catholic Elementary School at Saltpond. He was a child prodigy who completed his elementary school in seven years instead of the normal ten years. Growing up in a staunch Roman Catholic family, he was very religious throughout his life. He was a regular altar boy in his youth, and hardly ever missed mass on Sundays, well into his adult life. His religious zeal led him down the path of Catholic priesthood, and he entered St. Teresa’s Minor Seminary, Amisano (near Elmina) from 1951 to 1953, but realized later that his thirst for reading widely and his appetite for writing on various topics could best be utilized in another vocation.
Paul then attended St. John’s Secondary School at Sekondi from 1954 to 1955. He took his Cambridge School Certificate examination in 1955, passing with eight “A’s” and one “C”. He was one of the two students who topped the examination in the country and was awarded an Elder Dempster Scholarship with a pleasure trip to the United Kingdom in 1956. He attended St. Augustine’s Secondary School at Cape Coast from 1956 to 1957for his sixth form education. For his “A” level” Examinations he studied English, French and Greek and passed all these subjects with distinction. Before going to the University, he taught briefly at SI. John’s Secondary School, Sekondi.