First Memorial Lecture Held in Honour of A.J Ocansey

Prof Kwame Karikari delivering keynote address at the public lecture

The School of Information and Communication Studies, in the College of Education, University of Ghana, in collaboration with the Ocansey and allied families and the Centre for Communication Education, Research and Professional Development at the University of Education, Winneba has organised the first A.J. Ocansey Memorial Lectures in honour of the contributions of Mr. Alfred John Kabu Ocansey towards Ghana’s development and independence struggles. 

The maiden edition of the lecture series, under the theme “A.J. Ocansey: Nationalist, Outstanding Businessman & Media Mogul” has been held at the Auditorium of the Centre for African Wetlands.


In her welcome address, Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, described A.J Ocansey as the most important developer of private media during the colonial era, due to his immense contributions to the media industry at the time, including the establishment of several media ventures such as the African Morning Post.

The African Morning Post became a mouthpiece of the Gold Coast during the nationalism and independence struggles by virtue of employing two West African journalism stalwarts – I.T.A. Wallace Johnson from Sierra Leon and Nnamdi Azikwe from Nigeria. 

Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo

Chairman for the function, Mr. Kwaku Sakyi Addo of the National Media Commission, bemoaned the fact that very few Ghanaians and Nigerians are aware of the role A.J. Ocansey played in the independence struggles in Ghana and Nigeria and in the decolonization process.

Mr. Kwaku Sakyi Addo

Professor Kwame Karikari, the guest speaker at the lecture, paid glowing tribute to A.J Ocansey, saying that, he was an extraordinary businessman whose efforts and manifold interests and activities promoted anti-imperialist political consciousness, cultural enlightenment and media development.

Prof. Kwame Karikari

Prof. Karikari noted that a patriot like A.J. Ocansey is worthy of a place among the nation’s founding fathers who fought for freedom, justice and dignity for the Ghanaian populace.

Born on December 14, 1879, at Ada to Mr. and Mrs. John Emmanuel Ocansey, A.J. Ocansey was an inventor and a pioneer in introducing the gramophone, cinema and radio to the Gold Coast.

As a nationalist, businessman and media mogul, he financed and sponsored many national and international events in the quest for freedom for the Gold Coast.

A cross section of the audience at the lecture

Prof. Karikari noted that Ocansey was an investor in four key areas of media namely; newspapers, the cinema, radio and musical as well as sound equipment and facilities and stated that “our appreciation of Ocansey’s contribution to cultural development has to do with our understanding of media as instruments of cultural and artistic expressions, growth and consumption”.

Highlighting some achievements of A.J. Ocansey, Prof. Karikari noted that he was the first to import and sell gramophones and radio receiver sets in the Gold Coast, which were still a novelty in Europe and America.

A cross section of the audience at the lecture

Prof. Karikari was of the view that one of the outcomes of the recent narrowly defined narratives and partisan political debates over who were the leading heroes of Ghana’s independence has pushed farther into oblivion, the critical contributions of many patriots and nationalists, such as A.J. Ocansey, to the quest for Ghana’s freedom.