Teen actor Abraham Atta volunteered to become ambassador for government’s Free Senior High School programme at no cost to the state, Minister of Education Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh has said.
The Ministry of Education and Dr Prempeh came under harsh criticism from some Ghanaians on social media after announcing Atta, who is schooling in the United States, as the face of the major government policy.
Groups like the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) also expressed reservations and argued that Atta is known for his work in showbiz rather than in education and suggested that an ambassador could have been selected from the winners of this year’s National Science and Maths Quiz.
But explaining the rational for Atta’s selection for the first time at the Meet The Press series in Accra on Thursday, 27 July 2017, Dr Prempeh said the Beast of No Nation actor walked into his office to volunteer for the role.
“Abraham Atta is a young street kid in Ghana who has benefitted by fortune or good luck. He just went to America two years ago and his fortunes have blossomed to become a star. I haven’t seen any good will ambassador of any cause in this world who is not famous.
“People came to my office with their children who had seen Abraham Atta and were keen to go to school. He doesn’t live in my generation so I didn’t even know him, I hadn’t even met him. Abraham Atta wasn’t paid a [penny] to come and campaign for Free SHS. He thought that if God has put him where he is, he should come and support a noble cause. He walked into my office and declared to be a Free SHS ambassador for free. Besides that, he donated nearly a 1,000 pairs of sandals for fellow kids who are vulnerable just like when he was vulnerable in Ghana and we are saying I should throw him out?” Dr Prempeh asked.
Abraham Attah, 15, became a household name after he was featured in his debut film Beasts of No Nation (2015). He played the lead role of a child soldier. The film starred international movie star Idris Elba.
Atta went on to win the Marcello Mastroianni’s Best Young Actor Award at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival.