Ghana’s Nana Ofosuaa Oforiatta Ayim Wins The World’s Biggest History Prize

Ghanaian art historian and filmmaker Nana Ofosuaa Oforiatta Ayim has hit another milestone on the global stage after winning the world’s biggest history prize.

The award scheme was founded by Romanian philanthropist Dan David, with an annual purse of US$3 million for outstanding early and mid-career scholars and practitioners in the historical disciplines.

Since its inception, the award has been won by outstanding thinkers, such as environmental advocate Al Gore; leader of the Smithsonians Lonnie Bunch; filmmakers The Coen Brothers; novelist Jamaica Kincaid; founder of Wikipedia Jimmie Wales; theatre director Peter Brook; playwright Tom Stoppard; musician Yo-Yo Ma.

Nana Ofosuaa Oforiatta Ayim becomes the first Ghanaian to win this award.

Appearing on Al Jazeera, she discussed the consequences of centuries of colonialism with Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 2021.

Originally from Tanzania, his fiction reflects the ethnic diversity of East Africa, exploring issues such as migration and cultural uprooting.

For her works, Oforiatta Ayim developed a new language to talk about African art that does not replicate Western concepts, pioneering a pan-African cultural encyclopedia and a mobile museums project in Ghana.

While coming from different perspectives, Gurnah and Ayim both create work that questions simple narratives and structures built on imperial models.

They explore how to remember a past deliberately eclipsed and erased by colonialism.


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