Evening of Remembrance held in honour of Prof. Emeritus J.H. Kwabena Nketia

An Evening of Remembrance has been held in honour of Prof. Emeritus J.H. Kwabena Nketia, composer of the University of Ghana Anthem and a Deputy Founder of the Institute of African Studies.

Prof. Emeritus J.H. Kwabena Nketia who was described by many as a legendary scholar and a founding father of African Musicology passed away on 13th March, 2019.

The Chairman of Council, Prof. Yaw Twumasi in his welcome address recounted the numerous achievements Prof. Emeritus J.H. Kwabena Nketia had made towards the development of the University of Ghana and the nation Ghana as a whole. He described the late Musicologist as an exceptional academic yet very humble.

Delivering the University’s tribute, captioned, “J.H. Kwabena Nketia - The Passing of an intellectual Giant”, the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, Prof. Samuel Kwame Offei recounted that Prof. Nketia, who composed the University of Ghana anthem, was described by the first Ghanaian Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Alexander Adum Kwapong as a University of Ghana icon and National Treasure.

Prof. Offei indicated that in private life, J.H. Kwabena Nketia was a man of gentle personality, and despite his position as an internationally renowned and celebrated scholar, he always had an air of civility and humility around him adding that in spite of his gentle personality Prof. Nketia was always resolute and approached his responsibilities with determination and related with everybody.

In an inspiring exhortation, Rev. Prof. Bernhardt Y. Quarshie, Rector of the Akrofi Christaller Institute, disclosed that the life of Prof. J.H Kwabena Nketia demonstrated that one could be a good Christian and also cherish one’s socio-cultural values. According to Rev. Prof. Quarshie, Prof. Nketia through his works projected and promoted African values in a noble, gentle and disposition, a trait of a good Christian. He therefore urged African Christians to emulate the legacy of Prof. J.H. Nketia as he proved that a good Christian need not throw away their cultural heritage.

Prof. Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State in Charge of Tertiary Education in his tribute eulogised Prof. J.H Kwabena Nketia for his resilience and strength of character he exhibited as an intellectual and as a human being.  Prof. Yankah, a former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University, indicated that the legacies Prof. J. H. Kwabena Nketia has  left behind will live on  because he was selfless and mentored many young ones who used his works to light their own candles.

Prof. Esi Sutherland-Addy in a tribute on behalf of the Institute of African Studies and the School of Performing Arts highlighted the numerous contributions of Prof. J. H Kwabena Nketia to the Institute and the school respectively. She stated that his works set the standard for framing the scholarly output of the Institute of African Studies and the School of Performing Arts.

Prof. Kofi Agyekum, Ag. Dean of the School of Performing Arts did poetry recitals authored by Prof. J.H Kwabena Nketia while students from the School of Performing Arts performed a choreography in his memory. An appellation titled “The passing of a Legend” was also rendered by Mr. Osei Korankye, one of his mentees.  A moving dirge was performed by the Institute of African Studies.

The programme was interspersed with performances from the University of Ghana Jubilee Choir, Harmonious Chorale and Ghana Police Central band. Video extracts from an interview granted by Prof.  Emeritus J. H. Kwabena Nketia to Mrs. Stella A. Amoa, Director of Public Affairs, on the composition of the University anthem was shown at the ceremony.

Rev. Michael Anim-Tettey, Minister at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Madina led the Opening Prayers and intercessory prayers.  Rev. Dr. Antwi-Bosiako, Member of the Chaplaincy Board, was the liturgist for the ceremony.  Mrs. Stella A. Amoa, Director of Public Affairs, did the Scripture reading,

Moving the vote of thanks, Dr. Ewusie-Emmin, nephew of Prof. Nketia extended appreciation to the University of Ghana for the honour done Prof. Nketia and said he was sure Prof. Nketia would be smiling in appreciation too. 

The ceremony was attended by officials and members of the University community, family and friends of the late Prof. J.H Kwabena Nketia as well as the general public.

Prof. Nketia will be buried at the new Military Cemetery after a state burial service at the Forecourt of the State House on Saturday, May 4th, 2019.

As a sign of respect to the late nonagenarian, Prof. Emeritus J. H. Kwabena Nketia, and his contribution to the University, University of Ghana flags flew at half-staff on the Evening of Remembrance and will also fly half-staff on the day of his burial.

May his soul Rest in Peace.


Please click the links below to access:

Introductory Remarks by Prof. Yaw Twumasi, Chairman of Council

Video of the Evening of Remembrance

Picture gallery

Video on the composition of the University Anthem

Event Brochure


University of Ghana

Institute of African Studies/School of Performing Arts by Prof. Esi Sutherland-Addy

Poetry Recitals rendered by Prof. Kofi Agyekum

Prof. Kwesi Yankah

Exhortation by Rev. Prof. B. Y. Quarshie