Life History Of Nana Ofosu Asante

Mon, 3 Feb 2014 Source: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta

Nana Ofosu Asante was born on 20th October 1955 at Nsutamu in the Akyem Abuakwa area of the Eastern Region of Ghana, a prolific cocoa growing area, and home to veteran journalist, Cameron Duodu. After his primary and elementary education at Nsutamu, he gained admission to Ofori Panin Secondary School on Ghana Government Cocoa Marketing Board scholarship. After successfully completing his Form 5, he embarked on the rigorous 2 year sixth form education for his A Levels. On completion, he entered the University of Ghana where he majored in English. Somewhere between his sixth form and university, he enlisted in the Ghana Army for training, as he was a cadet at college. His late father pulled him out of the military training after a while, as he was his only son.

Nana was an ardent sportsman as he distinguished himself in athletics and football. He ran for his school in Ghana and was part of the college football team. He carried on playing football even as a player in the Madalas’ team in Ndola. Nana enjoyed his football, and his passion for it knew no bounds. He was often glued to the BBC for results of matches played involving the Black Stars, Chipolopolo Eleven and other teams. At one point in his youthful career in Ghana, Nana was approached by the elders of his town to install him as their chief in one of the small towns in the Akem Abuakwa paramountcy, but Nana declined due to circumstances beyond his control. His first name Nana, translates as ‘Chief’.

After a teaching stint in Ghana, Nana proceeded to Nigeria in the early 80s for greener pastures. He settled at Ijebu Ode, a prominent town in the Ogun State in Yorubaland in Western Nigeria. After more than a decade of plying his trade in Nigeria as a teacher of English Language, and Literature in English, he decided to look beyond Nigeria to widen his scope of experience. In 1989, he landed a job with the Zambian Ministry of Education and he proceeded to Zambia with his family. He was first posted to Lubuto Secondary School in Ndola, and after some years there, he was transferred to Chiwala Secondary Technical School for Boys where he remained till the time of his passing away.

Nana worked assiduously and diligently in both schools where he raised the profile of the teaching of English. Unsurprisingly, many of his pupils and tutees chalked distinctions in English Language and Literature in English. Nana was also an accomplished storyteller as he enjoyed recounting the folkloric tales and poetry as told by the likes of Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, Ferdinald Oyono, Okot p’Bithek, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Ayi Kwei Armah, Amu Djoleto, Ama Ata Aidoo, Efua Sutherland, Francis Selormey, Wole Soyinka, Ola Rotimi, Kofi Awoonor, among several others in their classic novels, dramas and poems.

Nana was actively involved in extending the frontiers of knowledge in Zambia, and for a long time, he was the Editor of the Zambian National Association of English Teachers. He attended many of their annual meetings in several provincial capitals such as Mansa, Livingstone, Kabwe and Solwezi.

As Nana enjoyed writing and sharing his knowledge, he took a column in the Times of Zambia Newspaper under the title, ‘ School Chalk Board’, writing on varied topics and running quizzes in his column. We can say that through his column, he became a national figure, and he positively affected and touched the lives of many readers in Zambia. He had a lot of fans around the country who incessantly kept calling him on his phone.

Nana was a very effective fundraiser as he used his great social and networking skills to fundraise handsome sums of money for the improvement of the schools where he taught in Ndola. He often knocked on the doors of companies such as Ndola Lime, SGS, Zambezi Portland Cement, FQM among others to solicit for funds for his school.

In August 2012, Nana underwent two major operations at Ndola Central Hospital for intestinal tumour. His beloved wife, Lucy Asante was traumatised and passed away at that difficult moment in time. From that time, Nana was referred to the Cancer Centre at UTH in Lusaka. For almost two years, Nana made countless trips to Lusaka to receive treatment. It was not an easy task, but in all that struggle, Nana showed extraordinary bravery, which gave an inkling of the valiant soldier that he was. On Wednesday 29th January 2014, around midnight, death laid its icy hands on Nana.

Nana is survived by his 98 year old mother in Ghana, six children, two of them outside wedlock. The four out of wedlock are young adults, two of whom are currently at universities in Zambia, namely, CBU and UNZA. The four adult children are Prince Nana Yaw Asante, Beauty Asante, Comfort Asante and Adjoa Asante.

On a lighter note, Nana enjoyed the traditional Ghanaian dish of fufu and peanut butter or groundnut soup. Nana was an abstemious eater though, as in his good old days, he enjoyed his Mosi and Castle lagers, occasionally taking gin. Nana enjoyed being smartly dressed and looking immaculate and chic in West African designer clothing.

May the soul of the departed Nana (Chief), rest in perfect peace with the Lord

Compiled by: Kwesi Atta Sakyi

Senior Lecturer, Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies

2nd February 2014

Columnist: Sakyi, Kwesi Atta