Ama Ata Aidoo has died aged 81, reports the BBC, and tributes are coming from across the globe.
Aidoo was a feminist who served as Ghanaian education minister in the 1980s and was the first published female African dramatist. She wrote plays including The Dilemma of a Ghost and Anowa, and novels including her 1977 classic Our Sister Killjoy, standing as a towering figure among writers and feminists on the African continent.
Aidoo spoke out against what she called the “Western perception that the African female is a downtrodden wretch,” and the dark, obtuse shadow of Victorian men. Tributes call out some of her most powerful moments.
😭😭 I am LITERALLY reading this right now.
May we center her theoretics, deeply study her contributions, and engage in citational praxis that carry freedom onward pic.twitter.com/c2v90Pqg4j
— Laurian R. Bowles (@drlaurian) May 31, 2023
Wrote writer and editor Rosebell Kagumire on Twitter, “You constantly shook us to remind us of what colonialism did to us & what it continued legacies today on Black people. You wrote, you spoke, you fought. May your lessons never be lost on us PROF. AMA ATA AIDOO. Rest in power.”
Author Mona Eltahawy wrote that she was “an inspiration to feminists everywhere, especially us African feminists.”
Rest in power. Your analysis on how Europe underdeveloped Africa, and structural anti-Blackness has been instrumental for my intellectual growth.
Rest easy Ama Ata Aidoo. pic.twitter.com/sw21W7LGhd
— Kemigisa (@JackyKemigisa) May 31, 2023
It’s all about love, she said
heartsick about Ama Ata Aidoo today but also a tidal wave of gratitude for this legend pic.twitter.com/obQd6hUXWN
— Radical Books Collective (@WARSCAPES) May 31, 2023
Aidoo won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best African Book in 1992 for her novel Changes: A Love Story, and the Nelson Mandela Prize for Poetry. Her speeches are legendary.
With her daughter Kinna Likimani, Aidoo founded the Mbaasem Foundation in Ghana to support African women writers. Aidoo is survived by her daughter Likimani, a critic and writer.