Professor Olakunbi Olasope, an associate professor of Classics at the University of Ibadan has stressed on the importance of the study of Classics and stressed that Classics offered a window through which the foundations of modern politics, social and economic life could be understood. According to her, classics shaped our ideas of freedom of speech, the rule of law, democracy, equality, ethics, and human rights.
Citing the example of the sex strike by Kenyan women which caused opposing leaders Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga to reconcile, Professor Olasope referred to the ancient antecedent in Lysistrata, a comedy written in 411BC by Aristophanes, in which Lysistrata convinced women of Greece to withhold sexual favours from men as a means of forcing them to sign a treaty to end the Peloponnesian War.
She said that Ghana and Africa should not imitate the West blindly, but study and adapt or modify the past to suit their unique problems, and added that Classics offered such opportunity to the nation.
Prof. Olasope made these comments at the maiden panel discussion on the topic; “The relevance of philosophy and classics to Ghana’s development” organised by the Association of Philosophy and Classics Students in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy and Classics at the University of Ghana on 10th October 2017. The event brought together over 400 students and lecturers from the Philosophy and Classics departments of the University of Ghana. It also had experts in human resource, accountancy and social enterprise present to share how industry accommodates students with Philosophy and Classics backgrounds.
The event was also attended by graduate and teaching assistants, and lecturers in the department, including the former head of Philosophy and Classics Professor Kofi Ackah, and the patron of the association Mr Michael Okyere Asante. Other lecturers in attendance were Dr Caesar Atuire, Ms Bernice Adamson and Ms Gifty Etornam Kemevor.