Days after Professor Ama Ata Aidoo passed away, Gustavo Brito, a Brazilian literature scholar and English lecturer, has penned a piece to pay tribute to the late Ghanaian author, poet, and playwright.

Gustavo was informed of Ama Ata Aidoo's passing by Ghanaian editor, Eric Nana Prekoh. It follows a conversation between Gustavo and Eric in which the latter learned that the former was teaching his students about Ama Ata Aidoo.

Here below is what Gustavo wrote in memory of the renowned poet:

The teacher positions himself in front of the computer. It is 8 o'clock in the morning on a cool winter day in the heart of Brazil, and he stares at a multitude of Google tabs open in front of him. The African Literatures course he is teaching is coming to an end, and he senses an imbalance between the number of male and female authors studied recently.

From the very beginning, with the poem "Love" by the Ugandan poetess Susan Kiguli, the
course aimed to establish equilibrium between male and female writers from the African
Continent. The teacher sees teaching English through African stories as a way to mend the
broken bonds between Africa and Brazil. Despite the majority of Brazilians having African ancestry, slavery and colonialism have obscured our origins and memories.

Brazilian struggles and African struggles are symmetrical but not identical. Africa's presence
is pervasive in Brazil, but Brazilians are far, very far away from the continent of their ancestors.

The erasure of their great-great-grandparents' histories due to slavery has profoundly and
enduringly impacted their psyche. Even today, African history and culture are not mandatory
subjects in Brazilian school’s curricula. As Ngugi wa Thiong'o aptly stated, "the night of
swords and bullets was followed by the morning of blackboard and chalk."

The teacher envisions that an English course, liberated from the institutional ties that regulate teaching in the country, may provide a freer platform for African Literatures and also facilitate reflection on how English became a linguistic phenomenon across different lands and peoples.

To aid his students in the challenging task of learning English, he has summoned many eminent names from the African Continent.
Yvonne Vera with her work "Why don't you carve other animals?," Ngugi wa Thiong'o with
his "Minutes of Glory," Chinua Achebe with the poignant "Civil Peace," Chimamanda Ngozi
with her "The arrangers of marriage," Luís Bernardo Honwana with his "We killed mangy
dog," Dambudzo Marechera with his “Protista".

As the teacher prepares the class on Charles Mungoshi, he realizes that there is an imbalance in the representation of male and female authors. It was the 27th of May.
That morning, the educator's gaze is magnetically drawn to the image of Ama Ata Aidoo. Alone in his office, he discovers the famous and critically acclaimed Ama. Instantly, a passion is ignited within him. He can now quote parts of her speeches and interviews from memory.

"Everything you are is us," Ama had said to a European reporter in the 80s, followed by her
powerful statement regarding the colonial heritage in Ghana, "anti-personal indoctrination
against ourselves." That's it. Ama Ata Aidoo would be included among the selected authors for the course. How could they have been apart all these years, he wonders, while reading her short story "Nowhere Cool."

During his research on references and studies about the short story, the teacher is once
again surprised to discover, in a news webpage, that a rapper from Ghana named M.anifest had
released an album influenced by her work, including a track that bears the name of the short story he was considering sharing with his students.

Shortly after, he would contact an editor from the same news webpage he had discovered earlier (finding a contact number on the website had inspired him to try his luck).

Through WhatsApp, after a brief introduction, he received a reply, "I am a publisher on one of Ghana's popular news websites," The African Literatures Coursehad exceeded his expectations, the teacher thought.

Throughout that week, he discussed Ama Ata Aidoo with several groups of English students,
who grew fond of her works. Literature seemed to bridge the missing link between Africa and
Brazil. The students were captivated by her poem "An Angry Letter in January" and expressed that it was the first time they had encountered a poem that they could truly understand.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., the teacher commenced the class on Ama's biography and literary contributions, and the students eagerly embraced the author, her powerful ideas, her accent, and her feminism. The teacher took a screenshot of the class and shared it with the editor at Ghana Guardian, Mr. Eric Nana Prekoh.

To his shock, at the end of the class, he received a reply from the editor stating, "Prof Ama Ata
Aidoo: Renowned Ghanaian author dies at 81."

Struck by the sad news, he shared the link with
his students. One student commented, "It's very unfortunate to discover a friend on the day she
passes away." Another said, "This is somehow a historic class." And the last student remarked,
"She has become enchanted." The teacher agreed, acknowledging that after Ama, this world is somewhere cool.

By: Gustavo Brito (An English teacher and a Literature scholar in Brazil) Email: [email protected] Phone: 5562 - 997013439