Africa’s iconic poet and writer, Prof Atukwei Okai, given a state-assisted burial yesterday, Friday, September 14 in Accra.
The funeral was attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The burial took place at the new Military Cemetery, Burma Camp, and was accompanied by the final funeral rites at the Forecourt of the State House.
The prescribed dress code was all white as a sign of celebration of the life of one of Africa’s Greatest Literature Giants.
The Secretary-General of the Pan African Writers Association of Ghana died at the Korle Bu Teaching hospital, Friday, July 13, after a short illness.
Prof Okai, 77, is noted for his excellent poetry recitation and is believed to be one of the first real poetry performers to have emerged from Africa.
His performances on radio and television include an acclaimed 1975 appearance at poetry international at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, where he shared the stage with US poets Stanley Kunitz and Robert Lowell, and Nicolas Guillen of Cuba.
More about Prof Atukwei Okai
Prof Atukwei Okai was born in 1941. In his young days, he published his work under the name John Okai. His work has been described as “politically radical and socially conscious, one of his greatest concerns being Pan-Africanism.“
He earned his M.A (Litt) from the Gorky Literary Institute in 1967. In 1971, he took up a post-graduate scholarship from the University of Ghana to earn his Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in 1971 from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London.
He started lecturing at the University of Ghana in 1971, and became Senior Research Fellow in African Literature at the Institute of African Studies.
He was elected as the first Secretary General of the Pan-African Writers’ Association (PAWA) and held that position till he died.
Prof Okai was survived by a wife and five daughters.