Saturday, June 26, 2010

At the Night with Efua Sutherland

The Literary Night organised to celebrate the works and achievement of Efua T. Sutherland, author of the famous play Marriage of Anansewaa took place at the foyer of National Theatre. And to celebrate someone who worked hard to establish the Arts and through whose effort and works the National Theatre was established, at the foyer, and not the Main Hall, of the National Theatre shows the level of significance we, as a country, attach to the Arts in General. Most often certain individuals who think they are helping the literary front have taken the arts as another form of entertainment and therefore offer peanuts. They use it to unwind and destress rather than seeing it as a creative force with the capacity of changing the psyche of a whole nation and acting as a vehicle of change and progress. Besides, since no one would want to spend half of his entire earnings on entertainment the government has also made it a point not to spend an appreciable amount on the development of the Arts; after all it is only another form of entertainment. Yet, the Germans talk of Goethe, Irish mentions Beckett and Elliot and all these figures saw to the physical, intellectual, spiritual and economic development of their countries through the Arts. Tourism have developed around these key literary personalities and it is the nation that stands to reap these gains.

Back to the Literary night. The foyer itself was less a quarter filled and children made up a chunk of this quarter and when the time came for them to leave the place seemed almost empty. The evening began at the exact time of 6:30 pm with cultural performances that was greeted with some sort of applauds. As usual there were prayers to begin the whole show and the programme itself was interspersed with performances from children from the Action Chapel. My problem with the latter is that to assume that every person present falls within the domain of the Christian faith is to believe that every individual present there had the same name. It is absurd. Events like these should be devoid of excessive display of religious jargons such as Amens and Hallelujahs. The MC was a pastor too.

After the prayer, children from the Mmofra Foundation performed a play accompanied by song. It was very interesting and had it not been the absence of a microphone to magnify their soft voices, which made it difficult to hear them even from the third row, it would have been one of the best performances of the night. The Chairman of the night was Prof. Stephen Adei of GIMPA. His speech challenged us to take to the globalisation table something that is unique to us and not just be consumers.

Prof. Adams of the W.E.B. Dubois Centre gave a speech that ended with Prof. Anyidoho's reading of a poem written to celebrate Efua T. Sutherland.
The evening ended with the review of the Marriage of Anansewaa by Dr Efua Sutherland--daughter of Efua T. Sutherland--and Prof. Abena Busia. It was moderated by Demay, the organiser of the literary night. The programme ended at about quartre to 10:00 pm.
I thought a more critical review of her works would have been proper accompanied by a question and answer section. Or a paly excerpts from the reviewed book would also have sufficed. The background had no picture of the personality who was being celebrated. A Nigerian friend poet of mine, Henry Ajumeze, came to the grounds to purchase the book on review for his research project and there was none. The latter was really important and was commented upon by Dr. Efua Sutherland.
Presents were: Dr Efua Sutherland, Prof. Stephen Adei, Prof. Abena Busia, Prof. Atukwei Okai and his wife, Prof. Adams and Prof. Anyidohu.


  1. omg! i can't believe i missed this. i marked it down to attend.

    the literary space in Ghana really need to open up for criques. it's one major way to ensure quality.

    i think i know that poem by Anyidoho. it must be the one in his collection: 'PraisSond for the Land', i think.

  2. @I don't know but he read it nicely. I have not read that collection yet.

    How? I also missed the literary workshop at the Legon Reading Hall.


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