The idea of establishing an indigenous publishing house in Ghana was first given thought in the 1950’s by the eminent writer and cultural activist, Mrs. Efua T. Sutherland. Professor J. H. Kwabena Nketia recalls that Mrs. Efua T. Sutherland discussed the matter with Professor K. A. Busia, Dr. J. B. Dankwah and a number of eminent writers and scholars of the time. This idea was given a further boost almost two decades later when Mrs. Efua T. Sutherland and Mr. Willis E. Bell, an exceptionally talented photographer, met with Prof. J. H. Kwabena Nketia, the renowned musicologist and writer. They discussed how they could come together to publish their creative works and other local materials for Ghanaian readers. Mr. Bell’s artistic skills were complemented with sharp business acumen, while Mrs. Sutherland and Professor Nketia were dreamers of credible innovative ideas.
The company was incorporated in February, 1973 and commenced business at the private studio of Efua Sutherland situated on “Araba Mansa”, her compound at Dzorwulu at Accra, in March 1974. Mr. Kwesi Sam-Woode was our first Managing Director and Mr. Kofi Amos Duker, our first employee.
Afram Publications came by its name in an interesting manner. Prior to the flooding and the construction of the Akosombo Dam in 1964 and 1965, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah put together a research team made up of the founders of the Company and some young graduates from the University of Ghana who went to the Afram Plains to collect data on the people, places and cultural practices of the area. The idea was to ensure that the history of the area to be flooded would not be lost to society completely after the construction of the dam. In a tribute to the overwhelming findings and work of the team in the Afram Plains, and the inspiration from A. A. Opoku’s poem on the River Afram, the founders decided to name the publishing house AFRAM PUBLICATIONS.
Efua T. Sutherland
Prof. J. H. K. Nketia