Poet laureate boycotts event in her honour

amaAn event organised to celebrate a renowned Ghanaian writer, Professor Ama Ata Aidoo, for her contribution to literature in Ghana, went sour on Saturday, when she walked out of the programme.

This was because both the banner, and the programme cover had her name wrongly spelt.

Organisers spelt the 72-year-old’s name as “Ama Atta Aidoo,” instead of “Ama Ata Aidoo.”

The award was organised by the Centre For Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA), University of Ghana (UG) which recently announced the ‘Short Story Competition’ as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations.

Prof. Aidoo was at the African Regent Hotel, the venue, with one of her daughters, Kinna Kintu, but upon seeing her name wrongly spelt, The Ghanaian Times saw her confront the organisers on the error then walk back to her car and was driven away. 

At the start of the programme, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo of the School of Communication Studies, UG, who moderated the event, announced that Prof. Aidoo would not be part of the gathering because she had another important assignment to attend to.

But in a facebook post, Kinna Kintu, confirmed that her mother actually walked out because her name was wrongly spelt.

“My mother walked out of a CEGENSA event today meant to celebrate her and the winners of a short story competition in her honour”, Kinna wrote.

Kinna continued: “Both the banner (hanging in the hall at the African Regent) and the programme cover had her name as ‘Ama Atta Aidoo’ and not ‘Ama Ata Aidoo’, which is the correct spelling of her name. All her books use the right spelling of her name. Wikipedia use the right spelling.

“This peculiar and contrived confusion over the spelling of her Ata is a uniquely Ghanaian problem. And this sloppiness is even a recent thing.

“She’s been battling this for a while now.”

According to Kinna, the multiple-award winner “couldn’t have stayed” because “she would have felt bad throughout the event”.

“The whole thing is messy. We must really pay more attention to the details of things. It’s more disheartening because CEGENSA is an academic institute. They know her, her name and her work,” she lamented.

The celebrated poet, while at the UG, shot into limelight in 1963 with her first book, ‘The Dilemma of a Ghost,’ and added ‘Anowa’, ‘Changes, ‘An Angry Letter in January,’ among others.

Meanwhile, Nana Yaa Asantewaa Darko pipped her competitors, Margaret Adomako, first runner up, and Sarah Torsiafa, to pick the first prize out of 75 entries.

By Julius Yao Petetsi 











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