The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has paid tribute to “one of the legends of the ages” at an event held in celebration of the academic life and achievements of Emeritus Professor Joseph Hanson Kwabena Nketia.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “one runs out of adjectives trying to describe this noble Ghanaian. A few come readily to mind, though – composer, ethnomusicologist, writer, scholar, instrumentalist, and, above all, Ghanaian patriot.”
He noted that Emeritus Prof. J.H. Nketiah’s work in the field of music has been globally acknowledged.
“Indeed, such has been his impact that, today, his concept and interpretation of time and rhythmic patterns in Ghanaian, and other African, folk music have become the standard for music scholars around the world, complementing that of another Ghanaian musical legend, Ephraim Amu, who, coincidentally, was his mentor. Such is the quality of the man we are celebrating today,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Wednesday, 27th September, 2017, when he participated in a festival celebrating the academic life and achievements of Emeritus Prof. J.H. Nketia, at the Banquet Hall of the State House.
Touting the achievements of Prof. H.H. Nketia, the President noted that they are worth celebrating “because they give us formidable cultural capital to fortify our unique African identity, forge a great Ghanaian nation, and pursue our historic pan-African vocation. His life’s work is a great message for the youth, that the sky is the limit for anyone who wants to work hard.”
The President continued, “This celebration also affords us the opportunity to apply Emeritus Professor Nketia’s ideas to nation building. He has given us the gilded marbles, retrieved from the past, and it is our duty to incorporate them in the architecture of our culture and national identity, going forward.”
Prof. J.H. Nketia’s life’s experiences, he added, point to the crucial significance of education.
“Education, as we all know, is the equaliser of opportunity. At this juncture in our nation’s history, broad access to education is vital if we are to transform our economy from one dependent on the production and export of raw materials to a value-added, industrialised one.
That is the rationale of the free Senior High School policy. It is meant to ensure that the doors of education, at least up to the end of senior high school, are open to all, irrespective of the circumstances of birth. An educated workforce is our surest bet of ensuring the progress and prosperity of our nation,” he said.
Touching on inclusive education, which has been stressed through the years by Professor J.H Nketia, the President noted that “this is the reasoning behind the learning of Ghanaian and African history, our cultures, oral traditions, festivals, languages, folklore, dance and music, amongst others.”
Education that seeks to apply local knowledge to foreign ones, as advocated by Emeritus Professor Nketia, according to the President, is what Ghana needs at this point of globalisation, where holistic cultures and identities play key roles in how to navigate the challenges posed by globalisation.
“Education, which combines performing arts, such as music, and the humanities, is what will define our identity and cohesiveness as Ghanaians,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo was confident that if the nation applies the works of Professor Emeritus Nketia in helping to reclaim the past, in order to nourish the present and to seize the future, “we shall be further emboldened to construct a modern, democratic nation based on equity, respect, and inclusion. We will then build a new Ghanaian civilization, a Ghana Beyond Aid, a new flowering of Ghanaian art and culture.”