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    Prof. Ama Atta Aidoo passes on aged 81

    Former Education Minister and renowned author of ‘The Dilemma of a Ghost’ has passed on.

    According to her family, the poet, playwright and academic born on March 23, 1942, died peacefully at home.

    In a press statement, the family announced, “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, May 31, 2023, after a short illness.”

    “Funeral arrangements would be announced in due course,” it added.

    The family requests of the general public privacy in its difficult moments of grief.

    Who is Prof Ama Atta Aidoo?

    With a career spanning more than five decades, she has received international recognition as one of the most prominent African writers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

    Ama Atta 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 the degree of Bachelor of Arts 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. Ama Atta Aidoo passes on aged 81
    After graduating, Aidoo held a fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University in California, before returning to Ghana in 1969 to teach English at the University of Ghana.

    She served as a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies and as a lecturer in English at the University of Cape Coast, where she eventually rose to the position of professor.

    Aidoo was appointed Minister of Education under the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) in 1982.

    She resigned after 18 months, realising that she would be unable to achieve her aim of making education in Ghana freely accessible to all.

    She has portrayed the role of African women in contemporary society.

    She has opined that the idea of nationalism has been deployed by recent leaders as a means of keeping people oppressed.

    She has criticized those literate Africans who profess to love their country but are seduced away by the benefits of the developed world.

    She believes in a distinctly African identity, which she views from a female perspective.

    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.

    Aidoo 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.

    She was for seven years, until 2011, a visiting professor in the Africana Studies Department at Brown University.

    Aidoo was a patron of the Etisalat Prize for Literature (alongside Dele Olojede, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Margaret Busby, Sarah Ladipo Manyika and Zakes Mda), created in 2013 as a platform for African writers of debut books of fiction.

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