By Abbas Liman
In the United States of America, there lived a lady christened Marguerite at but her brother re-christened Maya.
Maya Angelou was a lady with a humble background who strove hard shifting from one profession so to speak to another until she got to what gave her the sense of achievement and contentment.
Maya was variously a cook, night club dancer and performer, prostitute (but became Co-ordinator of Dr Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conferences when she repented) and journalist. She was a writer who wrote on the values of the family system among others.
Maya was a teacher. She was in Ghana at the invitation of Dr Kwame Nkrumah when she taught music and drama at the University of Ghana contributing in her way in the process of decolonization in that country at that time.
She was a director and producer of drama and television programmes. She participated in Alex Haley’s television documentary tilted “Roots” for which she would not be forgotten. Some of the actors said she had motivated them to also participate in the documentary as it would be an opportunity for them to have some contact with fellows of their ancestral origin – Africa. She played the role of grandmother to Kunta Kinte the son of Umaru of the village of Jufere in The Gambia in the documentary.
In spite of all these, what really brought Maya to limelight was her poetry particularly the poem whose title is; “I Know Why the Caged Bird sings”. In it she highlighted the gender inequality, racial discrimination and rape that characterized the American society of that time.
In recognition of her achievements, she received various awards and over 30 honorary doctorate degrees. Our brothers from the southern part of this country would say of Maya’s demise on the 28th May, 2014; “An iroko tree indeed has fallen”. Adieu Sister Maya.