TRIBUTE TO PROFESSOR NANA ARABA APT (1942 - 2017)

TRIBUTE TO PROFESSOR NANA ARABA APT (1942 - 2017)

 

BY

CENTRE FOR SOCIAL POLICY STUDIES

 UNIVERSITY OF GHANA, LEGON

 

Ghana’s economic reforms begun in 1983 did not include a social development framework that would address the distributional consequences of the policies that were implemented. Prof. Apt, in collaboration with Dr. Ken Williams, the Country Director for UNICEF at the time agreed on a proposal for the establishment of a Centre that would conduct research on social issues to provide evidence to inform policy choice and design. The proposal successfully went through the approval processes of the University of Ghana, gaining final approval on 26th October 1996. The Centre for Social Policy was set up with Prof. Nana Apt as its founder and first Director. The successful establishment of the Centre was not without its challenges. Prof. Apt had to make a convincing case explaining why the Centre was required given the existence of other research institutions at the University of Ghana. The establishment of the Centre is an example of Prof. Apt’s dedication to addressing social issues both as an academic and on a personal level.

Prof. Apt spent six years as Director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies. During this period she researched on issues of child rights, ageing and vulnerable groups. She was a pioneering researcher on kayeyei and street children. She championed qualitative research and the appropriateness of qualitative research methods for the conduct of social research. She successfully used these methods to produce insightful publications on street children and older people. In addition to undertaking research, Prof. Apt conducted training programmes on social issues for parliamentarians.

She was a highly respected intellectual in Ghana and internationally and gained international renown for presenting a Ghanaian and African perspective on issues of social welfare.

Prof. Apt always maintained a soft spot for the Centre and kept in touch with faculty and staff after she retired from the University of Ghana. She would almost invariably stop by the Centre after her programme on Radio Universe on Thursdays. The immediate past Director of the Centre, Prof. Ama de-Graft Aikins has this to say ‘Prof. Nana Araba Apt gave me considerable support when I was made Director of CSPS. We had long-ranging conversations when she visited the Centre. I found her to be a forthright mentor. She educated me on the history of CSPS, her own fascinating history as a female academic at the University of Ghana when women were a true minority and the importance of professional perseverance and commitment to scholarship. She was a pioneering  researcher on ageing in Ghana and Africa and I am glad we worked together as guest editors on a special issue on Ageing in Ghana for Ghana Studies Journal, which was published last year’. Her last official engagement with the Centre was when she gracefully chaired the opening session of the conference celebrating the Centre’s 20th anniversary in May 2016.

It was with great sadness that we learnt of her passing. We remember Prof. Apt as a charming person with a warm smile.  She was a social science researcher who exhibited a deep concern for the issues around her and did not just write about them for academic acclaim but also actively engaged in activities that contributed to making a difference to social development in Ghana.

Prof. Nana Araba Apt, Rest in Peace.