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Royalty meets politics and literature as Ghana's Ashanti King speaks in UK

Royalty meets politics and literature as Ghana's Ashanti King speaks in UK


The King of the Ashanti kingdom in Ghana, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is billed to deliver a lecture on Africa’s democratic advances and development at the Attlee Pontius Suit of the British Houses of Parliament in London.

The August 15 lecture is reserved for 200 audiences made up of members of both Houses of the British parliament, the London diplomatic community, leading policy institutions and head of faculty of some United Kingdom (UK) universities.

The respected monarch will be speaking on the topic ’‘Africa’s Democratic Path and the Search for Economic Transformation‘’.

A press release from the Office of the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Hon Diane Abbott in London and the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi further disclosed that, Lord Paul Boateng of the House of Lords will be the introductory speaker at the lecture.

Lord Paul Boateng, reputed as the UK’s first mixed race cabinet minister has Ghanaian and Scottish heritage. Born in Hackney, London in 1951, his parents moved to Ghana when he was four years but fled back to the UK in 1966 after his father was jailed by a military government at the time.

The Otumfuo is the 16th traditional ruler of the resource rich Ashanti kingdom. He ascended the throne on April 26 in 1999. Born Nana Barima Kwaku Duah, he was given the stool name of the founder of the kingdom, Otumfuor Osei Tutu I

Soyinka to speak and then launch of two books

The Nigerian Nobel Laureate, playwright and poet, Prof. Wole Soyinka is the special guest of honour, who will reflect on governance and the literary arts.

As part of the event, two major literary works on Africa will be launched: *May Their Shadows Never Shrink by Wole Soyinka and the Oxford Professorship of Poetry* edited by Ghana’s literary historian, author and development specialist, Ivor Agyeman-Duah and Lucy Newlyn, a professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford University.

The other book, a 500-page collection, All the Good Things Around Us – An Anthology of African Short Stories edited by Agyeman-Duah.

It pools together the comprehensive new writing by some of Africa’s most influential and award-winning authors, among others; Ben Okri, Ama Ata Aidoo, Chimanmanda Ngozi Adichie, Sefi Atta, Tope Folarin, Tsitsi Dangaremba , Taiye Selasi,  Chika Unigwe, Yvonne Owuor, Ogochukwu Promise, Monica Arac de Nyeko, Peggy Appiah, Martin Egblewogbe  and Ellen Banda-Aaku.

Both books would be launched by  Dr. Augustus Casely-Hayford, the British curator and lecturer in World Art at Sotheby’s one of the world’s largest brokers of fine and decorative art.

“Wordsmiths from across the continent standing in dynamic and memorable conjunction,” that is how South African-Dutch biographer of Nelson Mandela and Booker Prize jurist – professor of World Literature at Oxford, Elleke Boehmer, said about the anthology.

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