One of Africa’s most celebrated authors and playwrights, Ghanaian Ama Ata Aidoo, died on Wednesday, aged 81.
A renowned feminist, she depicted and celebrated the condition of African women in works such as ‘The Dilemma of a Ghost’, ‘Our Sister Killjoy’ and ‘Changes’.
She opposed what she described as a “Western perception that the African female is a downtrodden wretch”.
She also served as Education Minister in the early 1980s but resigned when she could not make education free.
In a statement, her family said “Our beloved relative and writer” passed away after a short illness, requesting privacy to allow them to grieve.
A university professor, Ata Aidoo won many literary awards for her novels, plays and poems, including the 1992 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Changes.
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Change is a love story about a statistician who divorces her first husband and enters into a polygamist marriage.
Her works, including plays like Anowa, have been read in schools across West Africa, along with works of other greats like Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.
When asked by BBC HARDTalk’s Zeinab Bidawi in 2014 if she regarded herself as a writer with a mission, Aidoo replied: “In retrospect, I suppose I could describe myself as a writer with a mission.
“But I never was aware that I had a mission when I started to write.
“People sometimes question me, for instance, why are your women so strong? And I say, that is the only woman I know.”
She was a major influence on the younger generation of writers, including Nigeria’s awarding-winning Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
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