According to a statement issued by her family, Ama Ata Aidoo, a well-known author and supporter of women’s rights in Ghana, has passed away.
At 81, she passed away after a brief illness.
Before she passed away, Ata Aidoo was a renowned dramatist and author in Africa, well known for her works The Dilemma of a Ghost, Our Sister Killjoy, and Changes.
She battled what she referred to as a “Western perception of the African female as a downtrodden wretch.”
In the early 1980s, she served as the education minister for her nation but quit after she failed to make education free.
The statement released by her family reads: “our beloved relative and writer” passed away after a short illness, requesting privacy to allow them to grieve, BBC reports.
Ata Aidoo, a university professor, earned numerous literary accolades for her novels, plays, and poetry, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1992 for Changes, a love story about a statistician who divorces her first husband and joins into a polygamist marriage.
Her plays, such as Anowa, have been read in classrooms across West Africa, alongside works by other greats such as Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.
She influenced a new generation of writers, including Nigeria’s award-winning Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
In a statement, her family said “our beloved relative and writer” passed away after a short illness, requesting privacy to allow them to grieve, BBC reports.
A university professor, Ata Aidoo won many literary awards for her novels, plays and poems, including the 1992 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Changes, a love story about a statistician who divorces her first husband and enters into a polygamist marriage.
Her work, including plays like Anowa, have been read in schools across West Africa, along with works of other greats like Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.
She was a major influence on the younger generation of writers, including Nigeria’s awarding-winning Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
In a piece about the Ghanaian in The Africa Report publication in 2011, Adichie wrote: “When I first discovered Ama Ata Aidoo’s work – a slim book on a dusty shelf in our neighbour’s study in Nsukka [in south-eastern Nigeria] – I was stunned by the believability of her characters, the sureness of her touch and what I like to call, in a rather clunky phrase, the validating presence of complex femaleness.
“Because I had not often seen this complex femaleness in other African books I had read and loved, mine was a wondrous discovery: of Anowa, tragic and humane and many dimensional, in Aidoo’s play set in the 1800s in Fantiland; of Sissie, the self-assured, perceptive main character of the ambitious novel Our Sister Killjoy, who wryly recounts her experiences in Germany and England in the 1960s; or of the varied female characters in No Sweetness Here, my favourite of Aidoo’s books.”