Professor Emeritus Joseph Hansen Kwabena Nketia, a renowned Ethnomusicology and Writer, has left Ghana a legacy of formidable cultural capital to fortify her unique African identify, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said on Saturday.
During the final funeral rites for Prof. J.H. Nketia at the forecourt of the State House, President Akufo-Addo said: “His life’s achievement is a salutary message for the youth, that the sky is the limit for anyone who wants to work hard. Indeed his life experiences point to the crucial significance of education.”
He advocated for a Ghana where holistic cultures and identities played key roles in how to navigate the challenges posed by globalisation, he said.
“For me, I am confident that if we apply the works of Professor Nketia …We shall be further emboldened to construct a modern democratic nation based on equity, respect, self-worth and inclusion.”
“We will then build a new Ghanaian civilisation, a Ghana beyond Aid, which will witness a new flowering of Ghanaian Art and Culture,” the President said.
The pre-burial service for Prof. Kwabena Nketiah, born on 22nd June, 1921, was characterised by rich cultural displays amidst the performance of some of his works, which included music and recitals.
The well attended funeral had high profile persons such as the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, ministers of states, members of Parliament, members of academia, and prominent people in society.
Reverend Dr. Priscilla Naana Nketia, the Daughter of the late Prof. Nketia, in a tribute to her father, said: “Our father was a statesman, a renowned scholar and ethnomusicologist, but to us, he was just a daddy. A father who cared for us and did everything in his power to see our education to the highest levels.”
“Daddy was a good listener and very supportive of our respective career paths. The name Nketia evoked some instructions from our seniors and our respective teachers. Akosua was forced by her music teacher, Mr Essah, to do O’Level Music instead of History, which she preferred.”
“Naana almost lost her self-confidence because she could not play any musical instrument like her siblings, how could the daughter of Prof. Nketia not play the piano? Naana’s music teacher, Mr Adjah, asked?”
Rev. Nketia said in his later years he had an aversion to barbers, what was left on his scalp would grow, fall of and grow again. God was his barber.
“Daddy lived a full and satisfying life. He lived to see his grandchildren and great grandchildren, he was our hero,” she added.
A tribute by the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), read by Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso, an International Relations Expert, said Prof. Kwabena Nketiah and his late wife, Lily, joined the Immanuel Congregation of the PCG, Madina, in 1992 when they returned from the United States.
“His demeanour was typically Presbyterian – calm, focused and disciplined…two years ago the congregation deemed it appropriate to celebrate the life of Prof. Nketia at church for his immense contribution to humanity in general and the Presbyterian Church of Ghana in particular.”
Rev Dr. Samuel Ayete-Nyampong, the Clerk of the General Assembly of the PCG, in a sermon titled: “Finishing Well and Finishing Empty,” admonished the public to ensure they poured out their ideas to better the lot of society.
“Do not go to your grave and carry inside of you the best that you have.”
He said Prof. Nketia discovered his purpose in life and pursued it by giving his best to humanity, he did not allow his age to limit him and he did not give up in the face of challenges and obstacles.
Rev. Dr. Ayete-Nyampong urged the Government to find avenues to utilise the potentials of the elderly, saying; “At age 60, the retiring age, there is still a lot they can contribute to our development.”
Prof. Nketia’s mortal remains were interred at the Military Cemetery.
He was survived by three daughters, seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. His wife and two sons pre-deceased him.
He has over 200 publications and more than 80 musical compositions to his credit.