Ghana’s Independence Is an Unfinished Business—Nana Krobea Asante

by Dr. E. Obiri Addo, Accra-Ghana

“On March 6, 1957, Ghana’s first president, Osaagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah declared that `Ghana, our beloved country is free forever!’That “freedom”, however, was not necessarily attained with the declaration; it is an ongoing business; every generation must continue the quest for freedom.”
Nana Susubribi Krobea Asante, Paramount chief of Asante Asokore, also known as Dr. S. K. B. Asante, made this remark when he formally launched the Kwabena Nketia Center for Africana Studies at Africa University College of Communication, Adabraka-Accra, on June 22, 2015. “This generation is a beneficiary of the heroic exploits of our ancestors and elders. We are challenged today to continue the quest for total independence,” he stated. The Asokorehene recounted the struggles of the late Ephraim Amu with the then “authorities” of the Akropong Presbyterian Training College. “By simply honoring his heritage and preaced in traditional cloth and to conduct a choir in the Ewe rhythm, Amu was dismissed from his position as a music instructor.” Nana lamented that the Scottish missionaries were rather sympathetic to his cause. “The most fervent opponents to Amu were the new converts from Asante. They perceived any sign of African drumming and dancing as a return to heathenism,” he explained. Nana recounted the eventual departure of Amu from Akropong and the genuinely supportive nurture he received at Achimota School. “Kwabena Nketia is a worthy successor to Ephraim Amu. He has made African ethno-musicology, poetry and culture available to the wider world and challenges us to continue the fight for cultural freedom,” he added. Nana also argued that “progress” should not be synonymous with aping patterns of the so-called developed, Euro-American cultural institutions. “We need a rigorous introspection that celebrates the enduring values of African institutions including music and law. A nation cannot truly advance without its own deep cultural roots.” He hoped that the new Center which will now house all the collections Professor Nketia has gathered over his professional career will serve as a “center of enlightened heritage” for Ghana and the whole world. Nana Krobea Asante is a recipient of the Ghana National Book Award for Distinguished Writers and the National Award of the Order of the Volta.
In his response, Professor Nketia explained the concept of “Africana” as a “Bigger community of Africa.” According to him “Africana” Studies is an ongoing concept that attracts new ways of looking at Africa and its diaspora. “Whatever we didn’t know, whatever we didn’t hear, this wider community enables us to know and hear.” The Professor expressed what he termed “double-pleasure” at the timing of the launching. “You honor a living person about to cross over to the ancestors. This honor bestowed on my 94th birthday enables me to fulfill my hyebre (destiny) as I bring my nkuku-ne-nkeka (assorted collection) to be housed here at AUCC”. He disclosed that he decided not to keep these materials in his house but rather make them public. “I am now in the waiting room, but in no hurry to the departure lounge,” he said amidst laughter. He hoped that some of his accomplishment would be utilized and made to grow at the new Center. “Japan has managed to modernize and industrialize, and yet maintained it cultural equilibrium. That should be a model and a challenge to Ghana and Africa,” he concluded.
Emeritus Professor Kwabena Nketia, a native of Mampong, Asante, was the first African Director of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, where he was also Professor of Music. Among others, he has been Professor of Music at UCLA, Harvard University, China Conservatory of Music, Beijing, and Distinguished Hannah Professor of Integrative Studies, Michigan States University, East Lansing. He was educated at various international institutions including Trinity College of Music, London, Columbia University, New York, the Julliard School of Music, New York, and Northwestern University, Chicago. Currently, Professor Nketia is the Chancellor of the Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture at Akropong, Akuapem.
The founder of AUCC, Honorable Kojo Yankah a former Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Information, Minister of the Central Region, and Minister of the Ashanti Region welcomed the guests and narrated the history of the College. “I conceived, delivered and shepherded this institution based on two pillars of African wisdom. First is the Adinkra adage that “he who doesn’t know can know by learning,” The second is the symbol of the baobab tree with its immense properties that include vitality, confidence and strength.” He explained that knowledge is a garden; if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested. He stated that AUCC prides itself in its originality, adding, “you have very little power over what does not belong to you.” He said the College seeks to honor “living legends whose enduring wisdom has watered the seeds of knowledge.” In this regard, Emeritus Professor Nketia becomes a symbol of the baobab tree. “It has been suggested that life ends at 70, the rest is a mere bonus. Let not this be said about Kwabena Nketia who at 94 continues to compose music and poetry.” Hon. Yankah paid tribute to Prof. Nketia as a person who has created a path for generations to follow. “When you follow the steps of your father, you learn to walk like him.” AUCC, he added, seeks to maintain an “organic wholeness of Africa before the coming and impact of Islam and Christianity.” He
recalled Casley Hayford’s vision to create a University to preserve Africa’s heritage. He therefore encouraged his audience to see AUCC as a fulfillment of this vision and partner with the institution for development. “Walk fast, and you walk alone; walk far, and you walk with others.” He thanked Professor Kofi Asare Opoku for his wisdom and guidance as the founding chairman of the Africana Studies program. He announced his retirement of President of the College and introduced Dr. Koryoe Anim-Wright as his successor. Dr. Anim-Wright is a former Vice-President for Institutional Advancement at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) in Danbury, CT.
Founded in 2002 as a private educational initiative, AUCC became accredited as a four-year degree-awarding institution in 2007, affiliated with the University of Ghana system. In 2010 it established a Business school and was renamed Sam E. Jonah School of Business in 2013. In 2006 AUCC was recognized and rated by UNESCO as a potential center of excellence. Its mission is to be a higher educational institution “to prepare lifelong learners to become innovative problem-solvers and ethical leaders from a Pan-African framework.” It is the only institution in Ghana where Africana Studies is not an elective; it is central to the curriculm!

Posted by on Jul 13 2015. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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