The African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) has held its second Biennial Conference on the theme, “African Studies and Global Politics”. The Opening Ceremony for the three-day conference, was chaired by the Provost of the College of Humanities, Prof. Samuel Agyei-Mensah.
In his welcome address, Prof. Agyei-Mensah, expressed his appreciation to the organizing and planning committee for the diverse roles played in making the conference a reality. He expressed concern over how false information about Africa to the world through the internet for example, turns out to be considered the reality of events in Africa. This he added was the reason ASAA has become relevant as it allows faculty and students engage in issues pertaining to Africa and the diaspora. He advised all to reflect on their roles and factor the future of Africa in their works, since what they teach and research on could have an effect on the people.
The Director of the Institute of African studies, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata congratulated the planning committee for coming up with the perfect theme which she said, touches on key issues affecting Africa in a time of globalisation. According to her, African studies is concerned about changing Africa from a dependent raw material producing continent to one that is capable of taking care of its own. She said that, the problems and issues that arise does not only make others question the integrity of Africans but offers opportunity for State action in Africa.
Officially opening the two-day conference, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Omanhen of Essikado Traditional Area, in his address said that until history offers lessons for survival and human development, it is only an entertainment and thereby entreated all Africans to learn from their history. He also expressed displeasure about Africa’s dependency syndrome and its inability to have African-African studies instead of the Euro-African studies. He therefore challenged participants to consciously deliberate to bring liberation and change to the continent.
Elizabeth Ohene, a Ghanaian Writer, Reporter and Politician, who was the keynote speaker, in her address outlined some engaging areas such as music, traditional attire and media for further discussion reflection. She admonished Africans not to be concerned about how foreign media portray them instead be more concerned about what they say about themselves.
Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Founding Vice-President of ASAA expressed her disappointment about the gradual replacement of rich commodities with dumped commodities on the shelves of Africa. She added that, although Euro-centred knowledge is relevant in their industries, it was equally important for the knowledge of Blacks to be acknowledged and not silenced and overshadowed with that of the global expertise as has been the case.
Prof. Adomako Ampofo further stressed the need to restore the education system for self-identification and revisit history so as to shape the political structures of the present time.
The Ambassador of Brazil, Her Excellency Maria Elisa De Luna and the Executive Secretary of Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Dr. Godwin Murunga delivered their solidarity messages.
ASAA was established in 2013, during the climax of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, to promote Africa’s own specific contributions to the advancement of knowledge about the peoples and cultures of Africa and the Diaspora. In 2015, ASAA held its first biennial conference at the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ibadan.
ASAA is currently the only multidisciplinary and trans-disciplinary professional association on the continent dedicated to the study of Africa from the Africanist perspective.