Prolific Ghanaian writer, Ama Ata Aidoo, recalls how her mum usually told her stories early in the morning as opposed to the evening or moonlight storytelling. Additionally, she remarks that her alma mater, Wesley Girls’ Secondary School, shaped her worldview and expresses gratitude to Efua T. Sutherland, under whom she worked for some time, for encouraging her.
She reiterates that her first published piece, which appeared in The Daily Graphic, has remained memorable despite her modest accomplishments as a writer. Incidentally, the publication paid her for the piece and she used the money to purchase a pink pair of shoes she had earlier seen in a shop.
Yaba Badoe’s The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo is a seminal 2014 documentary on the renowned author; it is a film, which should pique film-makers’ interest in celebrating the achievements of society’s heroes. Films such as this are capable of whetting the appetites of the young and old alike to explore the ideas that Aidoo advances in her writings.
In the film, she reads from several of her works, including: Speaking of Hurricanes (1989); She, who would be King (1997); Nowhere Cool (1997); No Sweetness Here, The Dilemma of a Ghost and Our Sister Killjoy. People who know the author’s works – Akosua Perbi, Nana Wilson-Tagoe, Ajebia Clark and several others – give insights on the ideologies propounded in her writings.
Aidoo’s wit is infectious. For instance, she wrote The Dilemma of a Ghost because, according to her, she was fascinated that a ghost, which is supposed to be omnipresent and omniscient, could be caught in a dilemma. She questions, “What was the point of being a ghost if you were also going to have a dilemma?”
Aidoo hints about her dedication as an author, which made her daughter think that writing is the only job there is; leading the young girl to ask her mum’s friend, a lawyer, why he does not work. The writer also talks about her stint as Ghana’s Minister of Education, which hindered her writing temporarily.
Her closing remarks that a girl’s voice does not break as she gets old but gets firmer is the last word as far as motivation for the womenfolk is concerned. Indeed, the human voice should become more definite with time so people can stay true to their callings, refining same where necessary.