For many who witnessed the colonial era, events from this period may have left an indelible stamp on their memories. Many years after these incidents, some probably have not forgotten the dehumanising nature of colonialism.
Ghanaian author, Ama Ata Aidoo was among the lot who may have never lost touch with the reality of some ghastly events that came along with colonisation and neocolonialism.
In an interview, which has resurfaced after her demise, the prolific writer recounted a profound event which occurred during the colonial era that had significantly changed her life and formed the basis of her afrocentric legacy.
“When people like me talk about Colonisation and neocolonialism, it’s not because one is just being intellectually smart. We have personal touches with it, you know, and I cannot forget it,” she said.
As the colonial powers exerted greater control over the Gold Coast, Ama Ata Aidoo lost her grandfather as a result of the brutal treatment given to some nationals who opposed them.
“I think that for me and members of my family, Elmina Castle has got a very special significance because they tortured my father’s father – my real grandfather – to death. [He was tortured] by the colonial government.
She probably lived with this unforgettable memory until her demise on 31 May 2023.
The chilling incident, however, altered the course of Ama Ata Aidoo’s life and also laid the foundation for her afrocentric legacy since it formed the basis on which her father enrolled her in school.
Aggrieved by the murder of his beloved father by neocolonialists, Ama’s father realised the importance of educating the children and families of the village on the history and events of the era. As a result, he opened up the first school in their village and influenced Aidoo to attend Wesley Girls High School where she first decided she wanted to be a writer.
From an early age, Ama Ata Aidoo was exposed to the harsh realities of colonialism. She saw her fellow Ghanaians suffer under the weight of discrimination, economic exploitation, and cultural erasure. The colonial powers had painted a distorted image of Africa, portraying its rich history and vibrant cultures as primitive and inferior.
As Ama Ata Aidoo grew older, her determination to challenge these narratives grew stronger. She embarked on a journey of self-discovery, immersing herself in the works of African intellectuals and writers who sought to reclaim their heritage and celebrate their Afrocentric identities.
Inspired by the resilience of her people, Ama Ata Aidoo began to articulate her experiences through powerful storytelling. Her words carried the weight of history, as she fearlessly confronted the colonial horrors that had shaped her nation. Through her writings, she sought to reclaim the narrative of Africa, amplifying the voices of those who had been silenced for far too long.
As the years passed, Ama Ata Aidoo’s voice resonated far beyond the borders of Ghana. Her words ignited a fire in the hearts of Africans across the continent, encouraging them to reclaim their history and shape their own narratives.
Today, Ama Ata Aidoo’s legacy endures; her writings serve as a powerful reminder of the colonial horrors that once gripped Africa. Her afrocentric perspective continues to inspire generations, urging them to embrace their cultural identity, celebrate their heritage, and fight against the injustices that persist.