Friday, July 12, 2024

Ghanaian author and feminist Ama Ata Aidoo dies

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Celebrated Ghanaian author and playwright, Ama Ata Aidoo, has died aged 81, her family said on Wednesday.

In a statement, her family said “our beloved relative and writer” passed away after a short illness, requesting privacy to allow them to grieve.

The renowned feminist was one of Africa’s famous authors whose works focused on African women.

Ama Ata Aidoo was also a vocal voice against what she called the “Western perception that the African female is a downtrodden wretch”.

She served as education minister in the early 1980s but resigned when she could not make education free.

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As a university professor, Ata Aidoo won many literary awards for her novels, plays and poems, including the 1992 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Changes, a love story about a statistician who divorces her first husband and enters into a polygamist marriage.

Her work, including plays like Anowa, have been read in schools across West Africa, along with works of other greats like Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.

At the age of 15 Aidoo decided that she wanted to be a writer and had achieved that ambition in four years after she was encouraged to enter a competition.

“I won a short story competition but learned about it only when I opened the newspaper that had organised it, and saw the story had been published on its centre pages and realised the name of the author of that story in print was mine,” Ata Aidoo once said as she looked back at her career.

“I believe these moments were crucial for me because … I had articulated a dream… it was a major affirmation for me as a writer, to see my name in print.”

She went on to study literature at the University of Ghana and became a lecturer, publishing her first play in 1964.

After her 18 month-foray into politics she went into self-imposed exile in Zimbabwe for a time and became a full-time writer.

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