Protect Highlife As Your Own – Professor Collins Tells Ghanaians

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A renowned music professor, Professor John Collins, has advised

Ghanaians to protect highlife as their own.

According to him, other countries like Nigeria are working tirelessly

to claim ownership of the genre–so Ghanaians need to wake up and

protect it.

Professor John Collins, who has done an extensive work on the history

of Ghanaian music, particularly highlife, was reacting to Jupitar’s

claim that “Highlife is not Ghanaian music…Highlife music is Ashanti


He stated emphatically that Jupitar’s comments are not accurate.

“Highlife is not Ashanti. It was originally Fanti and Ga and then, he

[Jupitar] also said it wasn’t Ghanaian, at the moment Nigerians are

trying to claim highlife so he should be careful about saying that,”

he told Doreen Andoh on Joy FM’s Cosmopolitan Mix.

“The word itself was invented in Ghana in the 1920s but what we call

highlife goes back maybe 20 or 30 years earlier…,” the music professor


Giving an extensive history on highlife, Prof John Collins noted that

in 1938, highlife was taken out of Ghana to Nigeria by the Cape Coast

Sugar Babies and then in the 1950s by E.T Mensah.

“When I first used to go to Nigeria in the 1970s, all the older

generation knew that highlife came from Ghana. It’s the younger

generation on both sides who seem to have forgotten where it comes

from,” he explained.

The music scholar who recently launched a book Highlife Time 3 which

chronicles the history of the genre urged Ghanaians to be proud of

highlife and make money from it.

The military and highlife

According to the music professor, highlife music suffered greatly

during the various coup d’etats in the country.

“A lot of the music I met in the 60s and 70s disappeared in the 80s

and early 90s during the military era. We had 250 guitar bands in the

country [and] 150 dance bands so everything had to be reborn,” he


Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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