It’s fair to say veteran journalist and Pan-African, Cameron Duodu, ranks high as one of Ghana’s best exports. Here is a man who like Nkrumah emerged from a modest home. So modest in fact that neither his parents nor extended relatives could fund his formal secondary and university education. Yet what Duodu lacked through no fault of his in monetary value, he more than made up for with his brilliance.
The young fella was so ferocious in his reading that he read every material in his path having picked the habit from his elder brother. That passion and channeling was to serve him well as he through constant private reading successfully passed the GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level examinations in 15 months while others used five years.
For one with no prior training in broadcasting, Duodu excelled as broadcaster at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and soon enough was ably writing for major international newspapers such as The Economist of London, The Observer, The Financial Times, The Sunday Times, United Press International and Reuters as a correspondent.
Buoyed up by the success of passing his exam, despite the constraint, he applied for a job as a reporter with the New Nation, a magazine published in Accra.
From there, he moved to Radio Ghana. Within a year of joining the state broadcaster as a reporter, he had risen to become a sub-editor and subsequently, a news editor. He was also the editor of the Ghana edition of the famous pan-African magazine, Drum.
At 30, he published a novel, The Gab Boys (Andre Deutsch, London; Fontana London; Horst Erdmann, Tubingen, Germany) in 1967 with underlays of retaining the African identity in the face of colonial agents holding sway.
Returning to the country after a stint in Europe, Mr. Duodu was appointed Editor of the state-owned Daily Graphic in February 1970, but had to leave the job only after eight months over disagreements with the Busia government.
In 1983, he returned to London and began writing for various overseas newspapers. As a freelance journalist, he’s worked for The Guardian, the Observer, the BBC, the Economist, and De Volkskrant, Amsterdam.
He writes a column for the New African magazine; “Under the Neem Tree” (London), City Press (Johannesburg) and the Ghanaian Times (Accra). He appears frequently on BBC World and BBC World Service radio news programmes discussing African politics, economy and culture.
Few Ghanaian journalists have had the expansive experience Duodu has. It is his flair for writing and his insights on many historical events which has stood him in good stead. Duodu has been involved with journalism from the ‘50s and at 81, still has enough gas in the tank to last him a few moons.
The father of six born on May 24, 1937 at Asiakwa in Ghana’s Eastern region serving as novelist, journalist, editor and broadcaster, is based in Britain.
Duodu has scaled to the mountain top from his early days as a pupil teacher. The elders say when one climbs a good tree, he deserves a push. It’s only prudent we celebrate this brilliant writer whose love for Africa has not diminished even if his abode is now in a temperate zone.