Writer, translator and minister of culture during the Nasserite era, Tharwat Okasha, who is referred to as the founder of Egypt’s cultural institutions, died on Monday 27 February in Cairo. He was 91.
Tharwat Okasha (1921 – 2012) was an army officer involved in the Free Officers Movement, along with former president Nasser and his comrades, which toppled King Farouk of Egypt from his crown in what is known as the July Revolution of 1952.
As a child of an aristocratic family, Okasha received a good education, read books in foreign languages, and learned music very early on in his home. This background made him the most cultured and enlightened officer among his group of army officers.
The intelligent young man, who was known for his rich, ample knowledge, was appointed minister of culture in the late 1950s by President Nasser.
Okasha held the position twice from 1958 to 1962 and, again, from 1966 to 1970. The two terms made him the most prominent minister of culture in Egypt’s modern history.
Okasha received his PhD in literature from Sorbonne in the 1960’s and worked as visiting scholar at the College De France.