The Autobiography of Mr Daniel Owusu -Koranteng titled, “Paying My Debt“ has won the first prize in the Creative Non-Fiction Category ( Kofi Awoonor) at the 5th Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) Literary Awards held on 16th December, 2021.
Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, who is a trade unionist, agriculturist, environmentalist, ADR practitioner, mining activist, professional paralegal, writer and poet has many publications to his credit.
In addition to his award-winning book “Paying My Debt”, he has published “The Wanderer’s Poems“ which is an anthology of Twenty- Five poems.
“Paying My Debt” gives an in-depth account of the life of Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng including his family history as a member of the Asona Royal Family of Akropong Akuapem and his roots in Obom which was a military settlement of the Akyem Warriors that settled in Obom to defeat the Akwamu warriors in the battles which led to the establishment of the Akuapem state.
The autobiography of Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng recounts the death of his father Rev. Jacob Asiedu Koranteng, a Reverend Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana when he was about nine years and the effect the death of his father had on him and his siblings which compelled his mother, the Late Mrs Dora Koranteng Asiedu to move the family to Nkawkaw to struggle to educate her children.
“Paying My Debt“ gives a detailed account of the life of his academic pursuits, family life, Public service experience, his work as a Trade Unionist, Mining activist and the life-threatening experiences including two gun attempts on his life. He recounts in the book, cogitation on the difficulties that confronted his family at the time when he was in Nkawkaw Secondary School( Kawsec) which resulted in his covenant that, if by the grace of God he was able to have the education to a high level, he would commit himself to the empowerment of vulnerable people.
This, according to him, had become his covenant and compass that directed his life endeavours.
He explains in “Paying My Debt“ that his conviction to protect national interest results from the fact that many individuals had been of great support to him in the difficult period of his life so he is indebted to his country and many individuals for the support to him and his family without which he could not have achieved his desire to be educated to a high level.
He explains that his passion to work to protect the rights of ordinary workers and people living in communities affected by the operations of multinational mining companies in his mining advocacy and trade union work which had exposed him to threats and slander among others, stem from his resolve to protect national interest because he is “Paying his Debt“ to society and many individuals.
He has played many roles in his Trade Union work, Mining Activist and public service life which had earned him national and international recognition.
He was the General Secretary of the Maritime and Dockworkers Union ( MDU) for eight ( 8) years and served as a Commissioner on the Board Directors of Public Utilities Regulatory Commission( PURC) for six years.
At the international level, he represented Africa and the Arab World on the Dockers Steering Committee of the International Transport Workers Federation ( ITF) and the Steering Committee of the Fair Practices Committee of ITF.
He had served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Dock Labour Company ( GDLC) at the Tema Port for many years; he is a member of the Board of Directors of Centre for Citizens’ Empowerment (CCE); a member of the Board of Directors of Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis( CEIA) and a member of the Board of Directors of GNAAP.
He was a member of the ECOWAS Committee of Experts that prepared the Draft ECOWAS Directive for the Harmonisation of Policies and Guidelines in the Mining Sector.
He is currently the President of the Ghana National Association of ADR Practitioners (GNAAP) and a member of the Board of Directors of Wacam. He is the Executive Director of Wacam.
He has received many local and international awards for his service to humanity.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) honoured him with the National May Day Best Worker on May Day, 2018.
He was honoured by the American Indian Movement in the homeland of American Indians in Denver, the USA in 2006 in recognition of his sacrifice for the promotion of the rights of indigenous people affected by the operations of multinational mining companies.
He was a co-recipient of the International Bridge Builders Award given by a Coalition of organisations in the USA including the University of Colorado’s Indigenous Support Network; Denver Justice and Peace Committee; Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center; Global Response; Colorado-based American-Indian Movement and Stop Newmont Coalition.
He received the Dr Baffour Senkyire award from KNUST for academic excellence for being the best student in the 1984/85 Final Examination in the Diploma in Farm Management and Agricultural Extension. He has more than fifty published works to his credit.
In 2011, CNN profiled his life in a documentary which was shown on CNN’s Flagship programme “African Voices” many times.
Commenting on CNN’s description of him as “A man of many Missions” Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng made reference to the statement in his book that, “I share the view of CNN that I am a man of many Missions because I have to perform many missions in order to pay my heavy debt owed to society, nature and many people.”
Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng expressed his gratitude to GAW for the award and stated that the award will be a source of encouragement for him to be committed to his aim of using his writing skills to promote Reading Habit among the youth in Ghana as a way of getting the youth to be interested in reading to expand their knowledge base and to avoid spending their time on the unproductive and destructive influence of social media. “ I started writing poems and articles at an early age and that is what has helped me to win a prestigious award of GAW today”, he said.
He called on the government to invest in Community and School Libraries in addition to Mobile Libraries for rural communities.
“We need to make Reading Habit among the youth a top priority in our national development agenda in order to get our youth to develop the Reading Habit early in their development so that our youth can contribute to national development based on knowledge acquired through reading.
“In my case, I developed my reading habits from my father who loved reading and I patronised the town Library at Nkawkaw which boosted my Reading Habit”, he said.
He called on parents to make a conscious effort to support and encourage their children to develop Reading Habits at the early stage of their development.
“I am committed to contributing to the development of Reading Habit among the youth and the GAW Award has given a boost to my literary skill,” he said.
Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng expressed deep gratitude to GAW for the award which had encouraged him to commit himself to literary work and to publish more books.
He expressed gratitude to his family especially his wife Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng and children Akua Owusu-Koranteng and Dr. Kojo Owusu-Koranteng. He expressed happiness that his grandchildren Nana Afia and Nana Adwoa have started showing interest in Reading books and hopes that his award would serve as a great motivation for them to develop a reading culture.