Prof. Kofi Anyidoho, Distinguished Scholarship Honoree, University of Ghana-Legon
CODESRIA extends its congratulations to Prof. Kofi Anyidoho, former member of the Executive Committee (2008-2011) and long time director of the CODESRIA African Humanities Institute on his nomination to receive an honorary degree from the University of Ghana-Legon. The degree will be conferred at a Special Congregation to be held this Friday, April 28th, 2023.
Prof. Anyidoho is a widely published, highly decorated poet, formidable literary scholar, educator, and cultural activist who has made immense contributions to Africa’s intellectual landscape particularly in the humanities. He has received numerous national and international awards for his poetry and has been described in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as belonging “to that select group of verbal craftsmen and craftswomen who have successfully fashioned a distinctively African voice out of that ambivalent legacy of colonialism, the English language.”
Prof. Anyidoho trained as a teacher at Accra Training College and at the Advanced Teacher Training College-Winneba and taught primary, middle and secondary school before joining the faculty of the University of Ghana-Legon where he had a stellar career as an academic and teacher. Before his retirement, he was a Professor of Literature at the English Department and previously served as acting director of the School of Performing Arts and head of the English Department. In 2010, Prof. Anyidoho became the first occupant of the Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies at the University of Ghana-Legon. He has also been instrumental to CODESRIA’s work in the Humanities having served as Director of the CODESRIA African Humanities Institute Programme. Prof Anyidoho received his Bachelor of Arts Honours in English and Linguistics from the University of Ghana-Legon and earned his Master of Arts in Folklore at Indiana University-Bloomington and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin, USA where he worked with Gayatri Spivak
Prof. Anyidoho’s work is not just written. It is also lived and performed. His work remains a core part of what makes up Kofi. For instance, his Praise Song for the Land, which draws on Ewe verbal art as a critical source of the culture and philosophical expression of an African community to produce this collection of poetry and song was published in both print and CD-ROM format. The CD-ROM is remarkable in how it brings Kofi’s booming voice into the listening audience. And there is a reasosn why Prof. Anyidoho presents his words in printed and spoken form. He holds the firm belief that ‘the poetry of print is the domain of the eyewitness, the poetry of sound, the domain of the earwitness…the dominant poetic world of Africa….’ As he points out, the printed word, ‘can no longer carry the full burden of my voice’, at least, ‘to all the people I call my people’.
On behalf of CODESRIA and its community of scholarship, we write to congratulate Prof. Kofi Anyidoho on this well-deserved honour and thank the University of Ghana-Legon for extending the Distinguished Scholarship Award to a stellar intellectual.
Godwin R. MURUNGA
28th April 2023.