Ghanaian rapper, Kwame Ametepee Tsikata widely known in showbiz as M.anifest has eulogized his late grandfather,Emeritus Professor Joseph Hansen Kwabena Nketia.
Describing his legacy as overwhelming, M.anifest said Prof. Nketia lived life well.
He added that his humanity was his greatest composition.
The astute scholar and ethnomusicologist died at the Legon Hospital in Accra, Wednesday, March 13, after short illness.
Prof. Nketia remained intellectually active even at 95 years as he launched his last book publication, Reinstating Traditional Music in Contemporary Contexts, on June 22, 2016.
Born in 1921 in Mampong J. H. Kwabena Nketia was his parents’ only child.
He received his first musical education, and eventually trained as a teacher at the Presbyterian Training College, Akropong Akwapin – where he later taught and was appointed Acting Principal in 1952.
At 23, Kwabena through a Ghanaian government scholarship, went to the University of London to study for a certificate of phonetics at the School of Oriental and African studies.
He went on (1949) to Birkeck College, University of London, and Trinity College of Music, London, to obtain his Bachelor of Arts degree.
In 1958 he came to the United States, attending Columbia University, Juliard School of Music, and Northwestern University to do courses in musicology and composition. After a year in the United States, he returned to Ghana where he rapidly rose through the ranks at the University of Ghana, Legon – from Senior Research Fellow (1962), to Associate Professor, and finally a full professor in 1963. Two years later, he was appointed Director of the Institute of African Studies.
Prof. Nketia is world-renowned as musicologist and composer. He is to African music what Bartok is to Western music. Of all the interpreters of African music and aesthetics, Nketia sets the pace.