Nana Asaase, a renowned poet, literary coach and writer has paid tribute to the late Ama Ata Aidoo for her exceptional contributions to African literature and unique journey as a writer on TV3 New Day.
In a time when many well-known African writers were often shaped and introduced to the world by the West, Aidoo stood out as an artist who emerged from her homeland and shared her powerful narratives with a global audience.
According to Nana Asaase who had the opportunity to be mentored by the late author, her originality, fearlessness, and dedication to addressing societal issues make her an icon worth celebrating.
“She changed the game. I realised that many most of our very well-known writers in Africa are made by the West and dumped on us conveniently but the late Ama Ata Aidoo was made at home and served to the rest of the world, so she could tell you her piece of mind,” he revealed
Asaase who is also a member of the National Folklore Board highlighted Aidoo’s profound impact on African literature as she challenged the prevailing notion that success as a writer required recognition and validation from the West.
Unlike many of her contemporaries, Aidoo refused to be “made” by external forces and instead honed her craft on her home turf. This distinction gave her work a genuine and authentic perspective, unfiltered by Western influences.
“She could counter their thoughts, and she tells you her piece of mind and all she needs to invoke enough service to deal with the situation So it gave whoever was made out there the confidence to realise that I can still come back here and make it work,” he told panellists on Tv3 New Day on Friday.
One of Aidoo’s notable works, “The Dilemma of a Ghost,” delves into the complex themes of returning to one’s homeland and the relationships between diaspora communities and their native countries.
Asaase also known in private life as Philip Boakye Dua Oyinka with remarkable insight, shed light on Aidoo’s writing and how she addresses the challenges faced by those who seek acceptance and belonging upon their return.
“In The Dilemma of a Ghost she touches on this whole Beyond the Return and how people are coming back home, diasporan relations and how they’ll be accepted at home and all that. She comfortably addresses some of the issues, she has been a harbinger of these beautiful things, especially our reconnection with the diaspora,” he disclosed.
Her ability to tackle such subjects showcases her foresight and understanding of the evolving African diaspora narrative.
Asaase took the opportunity to eulogize the late former Minister of Education for her bravery and forthrightness.
According to him, she was fearless and practical as she mustered the courage in expressing her opinions and making tough decisions
As an Education Minister, she recognized the limitations of her position and stepped aside when she realized that universal access to education was not easily achievable.
“She wasn’t afraid to do something and say look I don’t think I can do this. In education as a minister, she realised she can’t make it easily accessible to everybody and said look let me step aside. That is a very practical person,” he recounted.
Ama Ata Aidoo’s influence on contemporary African literature is undeniable. While renowned writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and others may command admiration, Asaase further applauded Aidoo’s legacy stands as a foundation upon which subsequent generations of African writers can build.
“As you said earlier, no writer has her…[sic] Chimanmnda and all the others, they will have to differ to mother back home and it really makes me proud that she was made right here at home, the centre of the earth, where originality always live and that was Auntie Ama,” he added