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Efua Theodora Sutherland

Efua Theodora Sutherland

Efua Theodora Sutherland was a Ghanaian playwright, director, dramatist, children's author, poet, educationalist, researcher, child advocate, and cultural activist. Her works include the plays Foriwa (1962), Edufa and The Marriage of Anansewa

1924

Born
27 June 1924

Born

Efua Theodora Sutherland was born on 27 June 1924

1940

Education and early career
05 July 1940

Education and early career

Efua Theodora Morgue, born in Cape Coast, Gold Coast (now Ghana), studied teaching at St Monica's Training College in Mampong before pursuing further education in England at Homerton College, Cambridge University, and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London; she returned to Ghana in 1951, taught at various schools, and began writing for children after being dissatisfied with the literature available to them, eventually marrying Bill Sutherland and contributing to the establishment of a school in the Transvolta area while raising their three children.

1960

Cultural activism and pan-Africanism
05 July 1960

Cultural activism and pan-Africanism

Efua Sutherland's influence extended to the global African community, as she formed a close friendship with Maya Angelou, provided support to Shirley Du Bois after the death of W.E.B. Du Bois, and played a pivotal role in establishing the W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture; furthermore, her proposal for a Historical Drama Festival in Cape Coast inspired the creation of PANAFEST, the first Pan-African Historical Theater Festival.

1960

Works briefly annotated
05 July 1960

Works briefly annotated

Efua Sutherland, a pioneering Ghanaian playwright and author, creatively blended indigenous Ghanaian storytelling with Western literature, incorporating traditional beliefs, rituals, and symbolism in her plays such as "Edufa," "Foriwa," and "The Marriage of Anansewa," while also making significant contributions to children's literature with works like "Playtime in Africa" and "A Voice in the Forest," which explored Ghana's play culture and depicted the complexities of colonialism and cultural values through folktale retellings.

1960

Literary production
05 July 1960

Literary production

Efua Sutherland, a prominent figure in Ghana's literary scene, established the Ghana Society of Writers, edited the literary magazine Okyeame, founded the Ghana Experimental Theatre and the Ghana Drama Studio, mentored various accomplished writers, and co-founded Afram Publications.

1980

Cultural activism and pan-Africanism
05 July 1980

Cultural activism and pan-Africanism

Efua Sutherland garnered international recognition and connections, including a close friendship with Maya Angelou, through her support of Shirley Du Bois, her participation in the Afro-Asian Writers Conference, her instrumental role in establishing the W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre, and her inspiring proposal for the PANAFEST, the first Pan-African Historical Theater Festival.

1990

Advocacy for children
05 July 1990

Advocacy for children

During her tenure as the chair of Ghana's National Commission on Children from 1983 to 1990, Efua Sutherland played a vital role in Ghana's ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, implemented innovative programs such as the Child Education Fund and Mobile Technical Workshop, secured land for child-centered park and library complexes, laid the foundation for the Mmofra Foundation, and initiated the Children's Drama Development Project at the Institute of African Studies, while also contributing to the establishment of a global network of scholars working on children's rights.

1992

Legacy
05 July 1992

Legacy

Efua Sutherland's impactful legacy includes the renaming of the replica Drama Studio at the University of Ghana after her, the establishment of the Efua Sutherland Children's Park in Accra, the dedication of streets in Amsterdam and a student hall of residence in Ghana in her name, the creation of the Mmofra Foundation and Mmofra Place, the publication of a volume in her honor, a chapter dedicated to her by Abena P. A. Busia, and a Google Doodle commemorating her 94th birthday.

2020

Honours
05 July 2020

Honours

During an event commemorating International Women's Day in 2020, Efua Sutherland was recognized and celebrated by the 3Music Awards for her notable contributions to the entertainment industry.


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