Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression
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Faculty and Staff
"The staff was constantly giving support to the students. Individual needs were always taken into consideration. The academic director and main staff members created a warm and safe environment for us."
Olayemi "Yemi" Tinuoye, PhD, Academic Director
Dr. Olayemi "Yemi" Tinuoye is a Nigerian citizen who resided for many years in the United States. Yemi received his MA in special education and psychology and his PhD in psychology from New York University. Dr. Tinuoye's professional experience includes serving as director of educational programs at Shule ya Mapinduzi, a New York based secondary school devoted to African American intercultural education; associate director of undergraduate programs at Oceanic Schools in New York; and director of TeleVideo, a film production company in Lagos. He has written and published numerous articles, research reports, and books on behavioral psychology and Yoruba traditions. Two of his recent books in the Yoruba language (with English translation) present the work of a precolonial African icon, “Orisa Ogun,” and its relevance to governance in contemporary African states. Yemi began his work with SIT Study Abroad in Nigeria from 1990 to 1992 and subsequently served as academic director of the SIT Nigeria program from spring 1993 to spring 1994. He has directed the SIT Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression program since fall 1994.
Philip Yaw Adu Gyamfi, Senior Student Support Staff
Philip Yaw Adu Gyamfi, a Ghanaian citizen, obtained his BA in religions and political science at the University of Ghana in 2004 and his MA in international education at SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont in 2010. His work experience with SIT Study Abroad began during his high school days in 1996, when he led US students in Ashanti Village Camp activities. Yaw has risen in rank over the years, holding positions including homestay coordinator and program assistant. From May 2009 through June 2012, he was director of the SIT/Princeton Bridge Year program. He has been senior student support staff for the Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression program since fall 2012. His responsibilities include program administration and logistics as well as student homestay and health support.
Akwesi Attah, Program Assistant
Born in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, Attah is a gifted and professionally trained teacher, holding a teacher's diploma certificate obtained in 1985. With almost 25 years of teaching experience, Attah also has worked closely with a number of organizations including Voluntary Workcamps Association, for which he is a leader. In 2005, Attah represented the Ghana Arts and Culture program for SIT's African Languages Project workshop, held in South Africa, and designed to develop teaching capacity in African languages. Often referred to as "Papa Attah" by students, Attah's role as program assistant with SIT includes coordinating and overseeing various aspects of the program, helping students with their Asante Twi language skills, and providing overall program support.
Fatimat Mutari, Program Coordinator in Tamale
Fatimat Mutari has been with SIT in Ghana for over 10 years, supporting the program in Tamale, in Ghana's Northern Region, as a coordinator and advisor on logistics, academic, and programming issues. Fati holds a BSc in administration and is currently both a steering committee member of the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) and a member of the oversight committee in UNICEF/GDCA microcredit scheme in Tamale.
Akua Abloso, Homestay Coordinator
“Auntie Akua” is a dance lecturer and head of the department of dance at the School of Performing Arts (SPA) at the University of Ghana. She has been the Accra homestay coordinator of the SIT Study Abroad Ghana program since 1997. She helps students arrange practical dance hours on and off the campus when the need arises for performing arts students either for their ISP or for special drills occasionally required for dance professionals. She also helps students to study dance with professionals in different regions of Ghana and has been an ISP advisor for many semesters.
Efo Kwakutse, Student Support Assistant
Efo Kwakutse has been a student support assistant with the SIT Study Abroad Ghana program since 2001. A master kente cloth weaver with years of experience in the fabric industry, he has a loom-weaving workshop in Ashaiman, near Accra. He has had several SIT students serve as apprentices in his workshop during the ISP period. He also leads SIT student groups during tours of the southern regions, which last two weeks every semester. He speaks Ewe fluently, which is one of the reasons he leads tour groups to Ewe-speaking communities in Greater Accra and Volta Regions and other southern regions, and he has helped several students as an interpreter field assistant during fieldwork periods in Accra, Ashaiman, Klikor, and Dagbamete, where many students study drumming, dance, herbal practice, and traditional African religion.
Kwame Owusu, Student Support Staff Member
Kwame Owusu is a student support staff member in Ashanti Region. He helps students with homestays and small group activities during their first two weeks in this region. He helps to introduce students to village surroundings during the village participation weeks where he supervises one of up to four villages where students are placed. He has been a support staff member since the spring of 2003. He speaks both English and Asante Twi fluently and has helped individual students settle into their ISP fieldwork locations in Twi-speaking communities.
Lecturers for this program include:
Salifu Mahama, PhD
Dr. Mahama has been with SIT in Ghana since 2003 as a lecturer, research advisor, and language coordinator. He holds a PhD in linguistics from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom and is currently a lecturer and research fellow at the University of Development Studies (UDS) in Navrongo. Prior to joining UDS, Dr. Mahama served as assistant director for the Tamale Institute of Cross-Cultural Studies (TICCS) and a researcher for Associates for Change (AFC), and he spent three years with the Ministry of Education in the Tolon Kumbungu District in the Northern Region of Ghana. Dr. Mahama speaks nine languages, including Russian and French, which he studied in Russia and France respectively. Recently he joined the University of Development Studies, where he continues assisting SIT Study Abroad students in developing ISP topics and conducting their fieldwork.
John Collins, PhD
Dr. Collins obtained a BA in sociology and archaeology from the University of Ghana in 1972 and his doctorate in ethnomusicology at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1994. Since 1995, Dr. Collins has been a senior lecturer in music in the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana. From 2003 to 2005, he served as head of the department of music. Dr. Collins has given lectures and led workshops in Canada, the US, the UK, Scandinavia, Holland, Germany, France, the Caribbean, Ghana, and the Cote-D'Ivoire. He has been a resident research fellow at Dartmouth College (Arts Department) and Northwestern University, Evanston (African Studies Department). During the 1990s, Dr. Collins was technical director of a three-year joint University of Ghana African Studies Department/Mainz African Music Re-documentation Project.
Dr. Collins first came to Ghana in 1952 and has been very engaged with West African music since 1969. He is a guitarist, harmonica player, and percussionist and has worked, recorded, and played with numerous Ghanaian and Nigerian bands. In the 1970s, his Bokoor highlife guitar band released 20 songs. Since 1982, Dr. Collins has been running Bokoor Recording Studio just north of Accra; the studio has released nine records and 60 commercial cassettes and is currently releasing three highlife compact discs.
Prof. Gilbert Amegatcher
Professor Amegatcher is a lecturer of visual art and museum studies at the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. He has been a lecturer in SIT seminar classes since 1996 and an ISP advisor to several students. Professor Amegatcher teaches field study techniques and has helped many students develop their ISP topics and find community craft workshops and art studios where they could serve their apprenticeships. During the week of the program’s stay in Ashanti Region, he introduces students to the museum and studio facilities of the College of Arts and Social Sciences and prepares students to visit traditional Ashanti craft workshops specializing in gold, wood, iron, lead, clay, and fabric.
Dr. Richmond Tete Ackam
Dr. Ackam is a professor of art and museum studies at the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. He serves as the general coordinator of SIT’s academic program in Ashanti Region, where the program spends four continuous weeks during the first half of the semester. He lectures in both the arts seminars and research methods and ethics course in Kumasi and also helps students to develop ISP topics and locate art studios for apprenticeship or practical experience. He has supervised several student ISPs and supported many in presenting oral exhibitions.
Prof. Nathan Damptey
Professor Damptey is a lecturer at the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana, Legon, where he teaches ethnomusicology and popular music. During the SIT orientation period, he meets SIT students to help outline the relatedness of excursions, class meetings, and research study in the field. He later teaches field study techniques and how to best prepare for the ISP field experience. A fluent Asante Twi speaker and well-travelled individual, Professor Damptey helps direct students to field study locations and has been an ISP advisor to several students since the fall of 2001.
Dr. Owusu Brempong
Dr. Brempong is a professor of anthropology with the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. He teaches about traditional religion, festivals, and funeral rites in seminars on social transformation and cultural expression. He is a friendly counselor who advises on field experience placements and the use of participation technique in the study of traditional religion — particularly herbal medicine and shrine rituals. He has been an advisor to several ISP students since 1996.
Professor John Nabila
Professor Nabila is a lecturer in the Faculty of Geography and Population Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. A “Best Teacher” award winner, he has the reputation of making orientation to Ghana as simple as it can ever be. Thus, he is one of the first lecturers SIT students meet at the beginning of the seminars on social transformation and cultural expression. A senior scholar and elder statesman, he is currently the chairman of Ghana’s Council of Traditional Chiefs, a parliamentary position that has kept him busy traveling, but has not stopped him from attending classes. He still lectures on population studies and the geography of Ghana. Although he is no longer a constant ISP advisor, he has continued helping students locate communities for ISP studies.
Nene Sakite is the Konor, King of the Manya Krobo of the Eastern Region. He was a college faculty member in Massachusetts (US) before he ascended to the throne of his forefathers. He still lives half of the year in the US and the other half in Ghana. During the fall, the Krobos celebrate the Nmangyem annual festival, or Thanksgiving, in which this king leads his group in a grand traditional ceremony. The SIT group is normally privileged to meet him and his palace chiefs during this festival week and to participate in the fall festivities in the town of Odumase-Krobo. The king or his spokesman-chief leads our student group in a discussion of Ghana and the Krobo traditions, and he responds to any questions students may have and also helps arrange contacts with those whom students can study any aspect of Krobo art and culture. He has also been an ISP project advisor to several students since 2006.
Rabbi Kohain Halevi
Rabbi Halevi is the executive secretary of PANAFEST, a pan-African festival featuring art and culture from all of Africa and the African diaspora. He lived much of his youth in New York and, in the mid-1990s, repatriated to Ghana, where he now resides. A motivational public orator and advocate for unity of the African people worldwide, he mobilizes people of African descent to engage African leaders to embrace unity across African states and communities for understanding and rapid development of the continent. He runs Cape Coast Ghana, a spiritual return organization where African Americans can reestablish touch with their roots, a reverse of the transatlantic process where Africans taken as slaves passed through a “gate of no return.” SIT students visit this scholar every semester after the tour of the slave dungeons in Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle in the towns of Elmina and Cape Coast. His discussions with SIT students center on the meaning of emancipation in the context of transatlantic slavery and current world politics as these affect Africa. He takes time to listen to students discuss what they have observed during their stay in Ghana and how they are processing the experience. He has been an ISP advisor to several students since 1995.
Antoinette Kudoto is the best known female drummer in Ghana. Based in the old capital of Ghana, Cape Coast, she is a prominent music maker among tourists as she concentrates on promoting the cause of disadvantaged youth (“street kids”) by teaching performance skills to young people who have dropped out of school so they can earn a living. During the program’s tour of the Central Region in the south, she performs for the group and discusses the position of the female musician in Ghana and her struggle to make changes. In 2011 and 2012, she traveled to the US for performance engagements more often than ever before. A number of SIT students have apprenticed with her either to study dance and drumming or to write an ISP on the rights of the disadvantaged, and she is very open to students who would like to work with her in order to gain dance skills or to explore employment prospects for youth.
Kofi Setordji is one of the best known contemporary artists in Ghana. He has been a friend to SIT for many years, and SIT students visit him in small groups every semester to hear him speak on art in Africa and to engage in a hands-on practicum at his studio. Because he specializes in using various mediums including wood, metal, waste wire, acrylic paint, paper, plaster of Paris, clay, and fabric, he is recognized as one of the most versatile artists in Ghana, and his work is well known all over West Africa and Europe, particularly Germany, where he often presents workshops. He helps SIT students to fashion specific ISP topics from general interests in visual arts. He supervises student projects every semester and maintains contact with a wide variety of past students whom he had taken on tours of Accra art studios or whose ISPs he had supervised. He runs several art establishments in Accra, including the popular ArtHaus, where he hosts artists from various parts of the world.
Togbui Addo VIII
Togbui Addo VIII is the traditional ruler of Klikor in Volta Region a few miles away from Aflao, a border town near Togo. During the program’s tour of this region, usually for four days, the group stays all or much of the time in Klikor where this traditional ruler plays the role of patron to the SIT group. He introduces the group to the community and to any of the shrines the group may particularly wish to interact with. Since this location is one of the few communities where traditional religion is prevalent, a visit here is a special privilege for students seeking to understand traditional African values as transmitted to the current generation. Togbui Addo also meets with students for an open discussion in which they have the opportunity to ask questions on traditional worship, divination, dance, and herbal practices, all of which are prevalent in this section of Ghana’s Volta Region. A retired math teacher, Togbui Addo is always ready to help SIT students study and complete their excursion and ISP in his territory.
Dr. Delali Badasu
Dr. Badasu is a lecturer at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. She specializes in migration, population, and gender studies. She lectures on the rights of the child, the rights of women, and gender issues in Ghana, and has been an ISP advisor to many students since 1998. Because she is a gender study specialist, many students in this discipline use her help not only to develop a specific ISP topic but also to locate community resources for their field study.
Dr. Twerefuor is a lecturer at the economics department at the University of Ghana, Legon. For his interest in simplifying instructions to students, Dr. Twerefuor serves as a speaker during the program’s orientation, and his speech usually centers on key factors in the economic growth of Ghana and how best to analyze Ghana’s socioeconomic challenges in the context of contemporary politics and interactions with the interests of Western partners. He has helped many students develop themes for their ISPs and has supervised many students’ projects since 1998.
Dr. Takyiwaa Manuh
Dr. Manuh was, until recently, the director of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. During her tenure she initiated several innovations that have made this institute a school highly regarded by both the government and donor agencies in Ghana. She is very vocal in the media, where she speaks for good governance and the rights of women. She normally speaks to SIT students on the rights of women and gender issues in Africa. Although retired, she is widely sought after by NGOs and students doing studies in migration and gender issues. She has been an ISP advisor to several SIT students since 2007.
Prof. Seth Abloso
Professor Abloso is a popular commentator on the political scene in Ghana. A former labor union leader and secretary to the CPP, the ruling party during the Kwame Nkrumah era, he is a well-respected observer and political analyst of the state of the nation in Ghana. He lives in Accra and speaks to the SIT student group in the seminars on social transformation and cultural expression. He has also been an ISP advisor to several students since 1999.
Kofi Gademe is one of the best known Accra-based performing artists. He speaks Twi, Ewe, Ga, and English fluently. Originally trained in Togo and the Volta Region of Ghana as a traditional (Ewe) composer, dancer, and drummer, he moved to Accra years ago and still practices his trade as an artist there. He has included dances from Senegal, Nigeria, and Benin in his repertoire of performances and has been a teacher of traditional dance at several schools and cultural centers in Accra. SIT students meet him in their first two weeks in Accra. He gives students a training performance session in which they learn agbadza, gawu, and war dance movements. He has supervised many student ISPs since 2000.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Accra
Language Study: Twi
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