Prof Kofi Anyidoho, professor of Literature at the Department of English, University of Ghana, Legon, says government, should, as a matter of urgency, declare Dr Ephraim Amu’s house and everything in it as national monument.
According to the renowned poet, though the timeless works of Dr Ephraim Amu live on, his house and everything in it need to be preserved by the state.
Prof Anyidoho, who was speaking at this year’s Ephraim Amu Memorial Lecture on Thursday in Accra, said the government should also work together with the family of Dr Amu to establish a concert hall as a fitting memorial.
The lecture traced the life of Dr Amu as a music composer, Christian educator, social educator, a craftsman and farmer. He is the composer of the national anthem in the various Ghanaian languages, and can be credited with over 25 songs in Twi.
“His house is in pretty good shape but I saw the condition in which the car that took him around this country for decades, it doesn’t speak well of us. I saw his grand piano. Elsewhere, it would have already been declared priceless and people would be offering millions for it. I think this country needs to do something about it. While we work towards building a concert hall as a fitting memorial for Dr Amu, I think his house should as soon as possible be declared a national monument and whatever is in it, be preserved,” he stated.
Prof Anyidoho added that Dr Amu’s works left behind an indelible mark with his rich understanding of tradition blended with rhythmic flow of Ghanaian languages.
He disclosed that the greatest tragedy the African culture has faced is the loss of languages, which, in effect, makes it difficult for people to trace their roots.
Prof Anyidoho continued that Dr Amu was a perfect example of an African who cherished and propagated his works through the local languages.
“That is why Amu’s example is important. Like Amu, he composed various songs in the various Ghanaian languages like Twi, Ewe and Ga. He was not a Ga or Akan but was able to do most of his songs in those languages. Do you know for instance that many of our people who go to the hospital cannot tell the doctor what is wrong with them unless the doctor happens to come from the part of the country where they come from. So people are literally dying because of this,” the renowned professor mentioned.
He disclosed that to reclaim ourselves from colonial domination, Africans need to identify their heritage through their names and languages.
“This is a major problem and as Dr Amu said in his ‘Asemyi Di Ka’ song, the solution starts from me and you. I am a creative writer, I write poetry and for a long time I was writing only in English until I got the depth of one of Amu’s songs –something needs to be done about this but who is to do it? Every one of us is waiting for somebody to do it. But, in Amu’s song he says it should start from me. In a very long while, I write my poems in our local languages,” he noted.
The event which was blended with musical interludes from the archives of Dr Ephraim Amu works was heavily attended by various dignitaries like Prof Atukwei Okai, General Anyidoho, Prof Kwabena Nketia, among others.
By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh