Ghana’s literary icon, Ama Ata Aidoo walked out of an event that was organised in her honour for their lack of respect for her name.
Ama Ata Aidoo was honoured to be a part of an event organized by the University of Ghana’s Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA). However, things turned sour when she realised her name was misspelled.
It was spelled wrong with an extra ‘t’ added to her middle name ‘Ata’, so it was spelled ‘Atta’. The mistake was not only evident on the banners but on the booklets.
“Both the banner (hanging in the hall at the African Regent Hotel) and the programme cover had her name as ‘Ama Atta Aidoo’ and not ‘Ama Ata Aidoo’, which is the correct spelling of her name,” her daughter, Kinna Likimani said in a statement.
The event took place at the Regent Hotel in Ghana. It was a part of CEGENSA’s 10th anniversary. The event had a segment in which a short story competition was organised in honour of her contribution to the development of female African literary writers.
Likimani also added that it was disappointing that CEGENSA did not pay attention to little details such as the spelling of her mother’s name, considering they work closely with the literary author.
“The whole thing is messy. We must really pay more attention to the details of things. It’s more disheartening because CEGENSA is an academic institute. They know her, her name and her work.”
Westerners commonly spell and pronounce African names wrongly, often without care. However, having her natives pronounce her name wrong must have been the deal breaker for Aidoo.
Aidoo, who is the first published African woman dramatist for her play Dilemma of a Ghost is a legend in Africa’s literary league. She was also Ghana’s minister of education under the Jerry Rawlings administration in 1982.