Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (GAAS), and former Director of the Institute of African Studies (IAS) recently delivered her inaugural lecture on the topic: "Who are we and whose are we? Identity and Transforming the Nation?"
The lecture, which took place at the GAAS Auditorium, was chaired by Emerita Professor Elizabeth Ardayfio-Schandorf, former Vice President of the Academy (Arts Section).
In her address, Professor Adomako Ampofo argued that coherent and positive individual and national identities are critical for positive social and economic outcomes. She maintained that Ghanaians had mortgaged their personal and national identities, including “outsourcing” their intellectual engagement. “Others own us and this state of confusion about who we are, has led to a condition of near-collective identity crisis, even schizophrenia, and we have lost our sense of self-worth,” Professor Adomako Ampofo observed.
She touched on aspects of expressive and creative Ghanaian cultures including food, dress, music and the arts, architecture, social customs, and importantly language, all of which have been influenced by other cultures in ways not always beneficial to us. She was especially saddened by the loss of use of Ghanaian languages.
With specific reference to Article 39 (3) of the 1992 Constitution which indicates that “The State shall foster the development of Ghanaian languages and pride in Ghanaian culture”, Professor Adomako Ampofo called for a repositioning and strategic deployment of the unique Ghanaian culture for national wellbeing and progress. “I believe this must begin with accepting that the neo-liberal model that measures progress in almost wholly monetary terms has not, and can never work for us. We can never attain wealth and productivity by trying to be a copy of some other people,” Professor Adomako Ampofo emphasized.
A Cross Section of the Audience at the Lecture
Among other things, Professor Adomako Ampofo noted that there were several examples of innovative forms of resistance to this collective loss of identity that are reclaiming positive and productive identities upon which a strong national character can be built. Some examples she offered came from the Arts such as the ‘Chale Wote’ Street Festival, Accra Night Market, ‘Azonto’ Dance and ‘W;6;gbɛjɛjkɛ’ dance drama.
At the end of the lecture, representatives of the IAS, Volta Hall and the University of Cape Coast, Centre for Gender Research and Development (CEGRAP) made presentations to Professor Adomako Ampofo.
Prof. Adomako on some presentations