Professor Emeritus J.H. Kwabena Nketia at 92nd Birthday Celebration, June 2013
On August 10, 2013 AfriClassical posted an article which was provided by Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Ethnomusicology, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music:
The legendary Emeritus Professor J.H. Kwabena Nketia has celebrated his 92nd birthday which fell on June 21, 2013 at a Special Thanksgiving Service held at the Trinity United Church at the Trinity Theological Seminary.
The ceremony which was organised in his honour by his two daughters Professor Akosua Adoma Perbi and Rev. Dr. Priscilla Naana Nketia and other members of his family was well attended by family and friends as well as past and present officials of the University.
The opening prayer was said by Rev. Enoch Pobee of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Madina with lively song ministration from the Executive Brothers and Scriptural sentences read by his son-in-law, Mr. Reindorf Perbi. The exhortation was delivered by Rev. Dr. Naana Opare Kwakye, after which special prayers were said for the distinguished Professor for more years by all the Ministers present, led by Rev. Dr. Kwakye of the Osu Ebenezer Presbyterian Church.
His daughter, Rev. Dr. Priscilla Naana Nketia, Prof. Asare Opoku and Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa delivered words of honour at the Service.
Seperewa guru, Osei Korankye was at his best to perform a befitting Seperewa in honour of Prof. Nketia who he said had been his mentor and who had been a strong pillar in the development of his career.
A luncheon was later held in his honour, chaired by Dr. Leticia Obeng. An afternoon of good cheer, food and music, the toast was proposed by Prof. E. Laing, who said he was elated to be celebrating this special day with Prof. Nketia. In his response, Prof. Nketia said he was grateful to God for the opportunity to celebrate what he described as the ‘Makers gift for a present mind’. He lauded the efforts of colleagues in the academia, members of the University community, friends, in-laws and family for their support in making life comfortable for him over the years. He singled out for particular mention, his two daughters, Akosua and Naana, and his personal assistant, Mr. Andrews Agyemfra-Tettey.
Recounting his childhood, Prof. Nketia was grateful for divine providence which had seen him through school, even though he had non-literate parents. He acknowledged all those who through donations and sponsorships had contributed to what he was today. He was grateful to God especially for the opportunity to pursue music as leisure, which has enabled him to climb this far.
Professor Joseph Hanson Kwabena Nketia is an Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Ghana, where he began teaching in 1952. He is a renowned Africanist, teacher, ethno-musicologist, composer, poet, linguist and sociologist, and a former Director of the Institute of African Studies of the University. He has composed for both Western and African instruments. Prof. Nketia is the composer of the University anthem. In a special interview he later granted to Mrs. Stella A. Amoa, Director of Public Affairs at the University of Ghana, he revealed that the anthem which was a gift from him, was composed to commemorate the University’s Jubilee Year in 1998.
The University of Ghana hosted a special ceremony in his honour, two years ago in the Great Hall to commemorate his 90th birthday.