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Historical Facts on Ghanian Literature


Source: lacrosselibrary.org

  1.  Ghanaian journalist, educator, lawyer, editor, politician and author, Joseph Ephraim Casely Hayford (also known as Ekra-Agiman, 29 September 1866 –11 August 1930) published (what is probably) the first African novel written in English, Ethiopia Unbound: Studies in Race Emancipation (1911).
  2.  Voices of Ghana: Literary Contributions to the Ghana Broadcasting System 1955 -57 was the first Ghanaian literary anthology of poems, stories, plays and essays. It contained works that had been broadcast on Radio Ghana between 1955 and 1957; and writers anthologised included Frank Parkes, Kwesi Brew, Cameron Duodu and Efua T. Sutherland.  It was published by the Ghana Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 1958.
  3.  In the mid-18th century, Reverend Thomas Thompson from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, upon his arrival to the Gold Coast sent three young Africans – including Philip Quaque to London for training. Quaque later became the first African to be ordained as a minister in the Church of England, and a prolific writer whose letters provided a unique perspective on the effects of slave trade and its abolition in Africa.
  4.  The first Ewe (Niger–Congo language spoken in south-eastern Ghana) grammars and primers (an elementary textbook that serves as an introduction to a subject of study or is used for teaching children to read) were produced in the 1850s at the Bremen Mission, which operated in the East of the country since 1847.
  5.  The first printing press was established at Akropong (a town in southern Ghana) in the 1870s.
  6.  During the 13th century, Ghanaians developed their unique art of adinkra printing (visual symbols), which were hand-printed and hand-embroidered and used exclusively by the then Ghanaian royalty for devotional ceremonies. Each design has a name and meaning derived from a proverb, a historical event, human attitude etc.
  7.  The Ghanaian national literature is one of the oldest in the entire African continent, as the first work of Ghanaian literature dates from 163 A.D.
  8.  Efua Sutherland, a colonial-era female playwright, dramatist, poet and director, helped to establish the literary magazine, Okyeame (in 1961), which saw the rapid rise of a new generation of thinkers, writers and poets.
  9.  Ghanaian author, poet, playwright and academic, Ama Ata Aidoo became the first published African woman dramatist after Longman published her first play in 1965.
  10. Prominent Ghanaian writer, playwright and dramatist, Joseph Coleman de Graft, (aka Joe de Graft, 2 April 1924 – 1 November 1978), who was appointed the first director of the Ghana Drama Studio in 1962 was responsible for the Ghanaian premieres of plays by two Nigerian dramatists: James Ene Henshaw and Wole Soyinka.
  11.   Quobna Ottobah Cugoanos was the first African writer to publish a book attacking slave trade – Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species (1787).

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