By Kwamina Tandoh/Winifred Zuur, GNAAccra March 16, GNA - The African University College of Communications (AUCC), has named its new Centre for Creative Writing after prominent Ghanaian poet, novelist and playwright, Ama Ata Aidoo.
The Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing, the first in West Africa, is a reinforcement of the Afrocentric mission and values that dictated the establishment of the AUCC and would be dedicated to training creative writers in Africa.
Mr Kojo Yankah, the Founder of AUCC, in his opening remarks at the ceremony in Accra, said AUCC aimed to principally communicate Africa, its pride and all its values, thereby offering African Studies throughout the four-year course.
He said the choice of Personality for the Centre was not just that she was an African writer, but that she represented all African intellectuals who ‘stood for reshaping our minds and thoughts to propel the decolonisation of our minds from foreign domination.’
Ama Ata Aidoo, a Ghanaian from Saltpond in the Central Region, is one of Ghana’s notable writers- whose poetry, plays and books are widely read in Ghana and across the world. She has been writing for sixty years.
She is the recipient of many awards including: The Gurrey Prize for Poetry; the Nelson Mandela Award for Poetry; and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. She is the founder of Mbaasem Foundation, an organisation to promote the work of Ghanaian and African writers.
Ama Ata Aidoo is also a known feminist who centers women’s experiences in her books.
Mr Yankah said the Centre for Creative Writing was a not-for-profit unit of the AUCC, and all the funds raised or endowed to it would be used exclusively for the promotion of its activities.
Ms Lola Shoneyin, a Novelist, Poet and the Director of the Book Buzz Foundation, who was the Guest Speaker, said a significant percentage of the annual budget of developed countries was devoted to the Arts, adding that: “In 2013, Germany’s cultural budget was equivalent to 2.6 million pounds”.
She, therefore, called on Africa leaders to invest heavily in the Arts to promote the continent.
She also called on Africans to support the African Arts and patronise books authored by Africans, saying: “African literature on the continent will only grow when African leaders become confident to set their own standards and be vocal about what they love; and this process can only happen when African readers buy book from African authors and promote African writers and African writing.”
Nii Akyikwei Parkes, the Director of the Centre, said African beliefs, practices, customs and values must be promoted for Africa to claim its right as the origin of world civilisation.
In a response, Ama Ata Aidoo expressed gratitude to the AUCC for the honour and also expressed appreciation to the individuals who had contributed to her success, thereby dedicating the occasion to her parents.
Ama Ata Aidoo was once the Minister of Education in Ghana under the erstwhile Provisional National Defence Council regime.
AUCC is a private tertiary institution established in 2002 by Mr Yankah, a former Member of Parliament, Minister of State and Editor of the Daily Graphic.