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Fri, 11.02.1923

Saka Acquaye, Playwright and Musician born

Saka Acquaye

*Saka Acquaye was born on this date in 1923. He was a Black Ghanaian musician, playwright, sculptor, and textile designer.

Saka Acquaye was born in Accra, Ghana, the sixth child of his parents, Regina and John Akweifio. He attended the Methodist School, Accra Royal School, and then Government Boys Schools. He obtained a Cadbury Scholarship to enter Cadbury House, Achimota School. He washed dishes in the school's dining hall so he could have extra food. While at college, he became a track & field hurdler and became the captain of a squad of the National Athletic Team, to represent the Gold Coast in 1950.

After completing his course at Achimota, he taught at St. Augustine's College in Cape Coast in the early 1950s. Wanting to pursue further studies in the United States, Acquaye started creating textile designs. At the time, he had founded the Black Beats Band, loved, and played the saxophone, flute, and mouth organ. Acquaye's break finally came in 1953, and he left the Gold Coast to pursue further studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He co-founded the African Ensemble and assembled a group known as the African Tones.

On his return from his studies in the United States to settle in Ghana, he created Obadzeng, an opera. This drama piece captivated Kwame Nkrumah, who ordered a command performance and toured the Soviet Union with the play. Acquaye had many plays to his credit, including a book, Problem of Creativity in Contemporary Africa, which he hoped to launch. Saka Acquaye and Mavis Amua-Sekyi married on August 4, 1962. He pursued further studies at UCLA and returned to Ghana. For nine years, he directed Wulomei, a cultural group, touring Europe and the United States a couple of times and performing several times at the Arts Centre, among other venues.

Acquaye exhibited his work in Nigeria, London, the US, and Japan. His works of art can be found in the Banking Hall of the Bank of Ghana; the reception of the US Embassy; Ghana Commercial Bank, Tema Gordon Guggisberg's Monument at Korle-Bu Hospital; Busts of Guggisberg, Fraser and Achimota School; Dr. J. B. Danquah Circle, Osu; Inlaid paneling at Ghana Airways Offices in Cocoa House and in Lagos, Johnson Wax Conference Centre in Racine, Wisconsin, USA; the African American Heritage Association Lecture hall at Wayne University, Detroit, USA, and Cambridge University, among others. Saka Acquaye died on February 27, 2007.

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