Patriotism and Nation Building: Perspectives from the Life and Utterances of Ephraim Amu

The deepest and most significant aspect of the heritage of any nation lies in her people. A people’s dignity, worth and value can be measured by their human resources. More important than mineral wealth, more significant than financial capital and of more value than land and property, are the leaders of thought and character, that a communal or social group can lay claim to. Towering above the tallest buildings, reaching deeper than the roots of ancient trees, are society’s icons, doyens of a people’s life and culture. Often unrecognized in their lifetime, sometimes vilified or else silenced by political forces, these persons represent a people’s legacy and gift to humankind. Such was Dr. Ephraim Amu, native of Peki Avetile, son of West Africa’s “Gold Coast”, scholar, teacher, musician, ethicist, and preacher.

In this book, Prof. Laryea has by careful and detailed research, rendered an invaluable service to posterity in unearthing and making available the life, works and public speeches of Dr Ephraim Amu. Thoughtfully selecting over sixty of Amu’s sermons spanning a period of 50 years (1937 – 1986), Laryea enables us to more deeply enter the inner thoughts and expressions of one of Ghana’s most illustrious sons, thus allowing us into the veritable engine room of the composer of Ghana’s national song, “Yân ara asase ni”, crafted by Amu in 1929. In doing so he has also opened up and thrown light upon very significant periods in the nation’s history.

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The Poetry of Ephraim Amu (Ephraim Amu Memorial Lecture, #6)

Lecture delivered by Professor L.A. Boadi in May, 2004.

Dr Amu has been known for his musical compositions and experimentations in musical styles, and a lot has been written about this aspect of his work. But, apart from cursory references made by Professor Nketia and Professor Agawu about him as a poet, there hasn’t been much discussion on his Akan lyrics from the point of view of literature. Professor Boadi examines three of Amu’s poems (in Twi) in detail in this paper.

The analysis of the form and depth of meaning in each of the lines and the words used make for very interesting reading.

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