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Prof Kofi Awoonor

Prof Kofi Awoonor




Kofi Awoonor, born George Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor-Williams on March 13, 1935, in Wheta, in the Volta Region of Ghana, was a distinguished Ghanaian poet, author, diplomat, and academician. He emerged as one of Africa's most celebrated literary voices, renowned for his profound exploration of African identity, colonialism, and nationalism through poetry and prose.

Awoonor's early education began in Ghana, where he attended local schools before pursuing higher education abroad. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University College of the Gold Coast (now the University of Ghana) in 1960. Continuing his academic pursuits, he obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies in 1970.

Throughout his career, Awoonor held various esteemed positions in academia and diplomacy. He served as a lecturer in English at the University of Ghana, where he also directed the Ghana Film Corporation. His academic tenure extended to institutions abroad, including his role as a visiting professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Awoonor's literary journey began with the publication of his debut poetry collection, "Rediscovery and Other Poems" in 1964. His poetic style, deeply rooted in the oral tradition of his Ewe heritage, blended indigenous African rhythms with modernist influences. He continued to produce notable works, including "Night of My Blood" (1971) and "The House By the Sea" (1978), which further solidified his reputation as a literary luminary on the continent and beyond.

Beyond his literary pursuits, Awoonor was deeply engaged in politics and diplomacy. In the 1980s, he served as Ghana's ambassador to Brazil and Cuba, contributing to diplomatic relations between Ghana and Latin American countries.

Tragically, Awoonor's life was prematurely cut short on September 21, 2013, when he became a victim of the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. This terrorist attack claimed the lives of many innocent individuals, including Awoonor, casting a shadow of grief over the global literary and diplomatic communities. His untimely demise was mourned as a profound loss, but his enduring legacy continues to inspire generations of writers, scholars, and activists committed to the pursuit of social justice and cultural revitalization in Africa and beyond.


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Place of Birth: Wheta



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Date of Birth: March 13, 1935

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