Renowned Ghanaian poet and author Ama Ata Aidoo has died after a short illness. This was confirmed by her family in a statement issued today.
The prolific writer died on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. She was 81.
“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 has published award-winning novels, plays, short stories, children’s books, and poetry, and influenced generations of African women writers.
As a further testament to her influence, the 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 1940 in Abeadzi Kyiakor, near Saltpond, in the Central Region of Ghana.
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.