Senior lecturer at the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, Mr Xornam Atta Owusu, has eulogized the splendid efforts of the late former President Jerry John Rawlings for his contribution to the creative arts sector.
Wofa Atta as affectionately known by his students, told host of Entertainment Zone, Barrister Daniels on ATL FM that former President Rawlings had made immense contribution to the creative arts sector.
Among some of the things he mentioned was the passing of the National Theatre Law in 1991, to set the tone for the explosion and expansion of the performing arts. The theatre is governed by the National Theatre Law 1991, PNDC Law 259.
According to Wofa Atta who had worked on a paper, The Role of Theatre in the post-independent Ghana; with particular reference to politics, education, society/culture, tv and home videos and the contribution of J J Rawlings during his era of political rule ( both as a military ruler and Democratic president), in addition to the formation of the National Theatre and other Centre for National Culture to promote the cultural heritage and performance of Ghana, it was during his era that Ghana saw the film industry blossom with a lot of TV drama and series like “Inspector Bediako, Obra, Thursday Theatre, Akan Drama, Drama in the various languages all being promoted by GTV.
He also added that other programs like Kiddafest, Kyekyekule, Cantata, and a host of other programs blossomed because of the enabling environment the former president created.
” It was during his time that theatre went dead, came back on the scene and then really expanded both as a military and a civilian leader. Asa military leader, he was always at our performances at the National Theatre. In addition to that, he was so involved in the theatre that one time as a military leader, he gave the order to the Internal Revenue Service to release some buses for us to use to aid our movement when we started our theatre tours” he added.
According to him, unlike other military leaders who imprisoned playwrights and other performing artistes for doing productions that ridiculed their military governance, former President Jerry Rawlings never did so. He rather created the environment for theatre to thrive and even attended some of the plays like Prison Graduates, written by Efo Kojo Mawugbe among other playwrights.
Adding to his eulogy, Wofa Atta sent this creative piece, to sum up his interview on the show.
“Our theatre 🎭, our culture and traditions have survived because they possess special in-born power, the power to bind us to behave the way we do. This gives us a peculiar picture that we need to take it upon ourselves to cultivate, develop, promote, and preserve our Arts and Culture for generations yet unborn. This is a priceless heritage that was won for us by our leaders ‘ blood and toil and service: that we need to learn the dance to our mother’s tunes and move to our Father’s steps”.
“Flt Lt J J Rawlings has left footprints in the sands of time for me and my fellow creative/ performing artistes to tread on.
He was a visionary leader and under him, the creative arts flourished more than any other leader in the socio-political history of Ghana”.
“An icon, a phenomenon whose name and deeds is ingrained in the history of the creative arts 🎭 in Ghana and beyond. My personal encounter and interaction with him has reignited the light in me to Blaise the trail that he has left behind in the world of The Performing Arts.
Rest well, fallen hero!”.
Xornam Atta Owusu, is one of the senior lecturers at the Department of Theatre and Film Studies under the Faculty of Arts being a staple of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies.
BY: ONESIPHORUS OBUOBI