Oct. 12 - A prominent poet of Ghana, Kofi Awoonor, who believed in the development of Africa and in the arts, is remembered following his death in a Nairobi mall attack. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
A ceremony was held to honor the memory of poet Kofi Awoonor, who was killed in last month's Nairobi mall attack. Kofi Awoonor used traditional forms of oral poetry from his Ewe heritage to carve out a place in history as one of Africa's most renowned writers. During the ceremony, people from those same traditions recognized Awooner as they gathered to celebrate the life of the author at a ceremony in the capital Accra. The literary legend was killed last month in the attack on Nairobi's Westgate mall that left 67 people dead. His countrymen, family members and politicians honored the author who wrote volumes of poetry as well as novels such as, "This Earth, My Brother." Awoonor's son Afetsi Awoonor, who was also shot in the attack at the Nairobi mall, was in attendance. Professor Atukwei Okai, president of the Pan African Writers Association, said Awoonor's work was instrumental in advancing literature on the continent. "I think that he was keenly aware and proud of his contribution to the struggle for the development for Africa, but at his heart was the concern for the arts, he was one of the group of people, young people, who launched the birth of new African literature," Okai said. Besides his literary legacy, Awoonor also served as a diplomat and was at one time Ghana's ambassador to the United Nations.