Celebrated Ghanaian writer and poet, Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo has passed away after a short illness.
The prolific writer died on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. She was 81 years old at the time of her passing.
The news of her demise was confirmed by her family in a statement released earlier today.
“The Family of PROF. AMA ATA AIDOO 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 31st May 2023, after a short illness.
“Funeral arrangements would be announced in due course. The Family requests privacy at this difficult moment,” Family head Kwamena Essandoh Aidoo announced in a short statement.
Prof. Ata Aidoo, known for her exceptional contributions to African literature, leaves behind a remarkable legacy that has captivated readers worldwide.
Prof. Ata Aidoo has published award-winning novels [No Sweetness Here], plays, short stories, children’s books, and poetry, and influenced generations of African women writers.
Throughout her illustrious career, Aidoo’s work garnered critical acclaim and received numerous accolades. Her distinctive voice and ability to tackle complex social issues through her writing made her a leading figure in the contemporary African literature domain.
As a further testament to her influence, the “No Sweetness Here” author was the subject of the excellent 2014 documentary film, The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo, directed by Yaba Badoe.
Her accomplishments have been heralded in Essays in Honour of Ama Ata Aidoo at 70: A Reader in African Cultural Studies, edited by Anne V. Adams.
Profile of Ama Ata Aidoo
Christina Ama Ata Aidoo was born on 23 March 1942 in Abeadzi Kyiakor, near Saltpond, in the Central Region of Ghana.
Some sources (including Megan Behrent, Brown University, and Africa Who’s Who) have stated that she was born on 31 March 1940. She had a twin brother, Kwame Ata.
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 that was taking place 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 Aidoo to attend Wesley Girls’ High School, where she first decided she wanted to be a writer.
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.
Some of her notable works include, The Dilemma of a Ghost (1965), No Sweetness Here (1970) and Anowa [a play based on a Ghanaian legend].