Professor Ama Ata Aidoo, the renowned author of ‘The Dilemma of a Ghost’ and ‘No Sweetness Here,’ and former Education Minister has passed on.
The prolific writer died peacefully at her home on Wednesday. She was 81.
Her death was announced in a press statement signed by the family head, Kwamena Essandoh Aidoo and copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday.
“With deep sorrow but in the hope of the resurrection, informs the general public that our beloved relative and writer passed away in the early hours of this morning Wednesday, after a short illness,” the statement read.
Mr Essandoh further requested for privacy for the family from the general public in their moment of grief adding that “funeral arrangements would be announced in due course.”
Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo was born on March 23, 1942 in Abeadzi Kyiakor, near Saltpond, in the Central Region.
She was raised in a Fante royal household, the daughter of Nana Yaw Fama, chief of Abeadzi Kyiakor, and Maame Abasema. She grew up at a time of resurgent British neocolonialism in her homeland.
Her grandfather was murdered by neocolonialists, which brought her father’s attention to the importance of educating the children and families of the village on the history and events of the era.
This led him to open up the first school in their village and influenced Prof. Aidoo to attend Wesley Girls’ High School, where she first decided she wanted to be a writer.
Prof. Aidoo attended Wesley Girls’ Senior High School in Cape Coast, from 1961 to 1964. After high school, she enrolled at the University of Ghana, Legon, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and also wrote her first play, The Dilemma of a Ghost, in 1964.
The play was published by Longman the following year, making Aidoo the first published African woman dramatist.
Prof. Aidoo was appointed Minister of Education under the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) in 1982 and resigned after 18 months, realising that she would be unable to achieve her aim of making education in Ghana freely accessible to all.
In 1983, she moved to live in Zimbabwe, where she continued her work in education, including as a curriculum developer for the Zimbabwe Ministry of Education, as well as writing.
In London, England, in 1986, she delivered the Walter Rodney Visions of Africa lecture organised by the support group for Bogle-L’Ouverture publishing house
Prof. Aidoo later received a Fulbright Scholarship award in 1988, and she was writer-in-residence at the University of Richmond, Virginia, in 1989, and taught various English courses at Hamilton College in Clinton New York, in the early mid- 1990s.
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