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Oforiatta Ayim: Let’s divorce culture from politics

Nana Ofosuaa Oforiatta is the winner of the world’s biggest history prize - the Dan David Prize which has an annual purse of US$3 million

Nana Ofosuaa Oforiatta Ayim, a Ghanaian art historian and film-maker has urged Ghanaians to make a conscious effort at separating issues of culture and politics in the country.

She said marrying the two could be detrimental to the development of the arts and culture sector of the country.

Speaking with Kent Mensah on Sunday Night on Asaase Radio, Oforiatta Ayim said “I do really believe that culture should be divorced from politics. Honestly, like we see with our national museum, every single time there’s a change of government the board gets changed … the leadership gets changed. There’s not stability because you’re seen as being politically affiliated whereas culture should not be a political [game].”

She added, “I don’t stop being a historian no matter what political affiliation I may have. Like I said, I’m not a political person despite whatever background I come from but whatever party is in power, I’m there to serve the cultural sector of this country. 

“It’s not the political bias that causes me to serve the cultural sphere and that should be the case across the board. It shouldn’t be that people who are leading our cultural institutions are there by political gift or privy. It should be that they are there because they are the best persons to do that job.”

A rather good marriage

The winner of the Dan David Prize – the world’s biggest history prize, believes the private sector must complement the public sector in the development of the arts and culture sector.

Oforiatta Ayim said, “if you have a private organization you can raise money and do something whiles if it’s a national monument, it has to go through all sorts of channels. It has to pass through Parliament which slows a lot of things down.” 

She thinks there should be a proper marriage between the public and private sectors in developing the country’s national museum. 

“I’m not sure of fully privatising but I think there should definitely be more public-private partnerships because you have in the private sector the dynamism that you might not have in the public sector … things could be quite static in the public sector in terms of things taking so long to move whiles in the private sector we’re so used to ‘if we don’t move, we don’t survive’.” 

“So I think bringing those two together; the kind of reach that the public sector has because if you’re working with the public sector, you’re doing things on a huge scale, on a national scale and if you are working with the private sector you’re moving quicker than you would [move] with the public sector.”

“So I think it’s actually a good marriage,” she said.

Watch the full interview below:

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