He took off her cloth himself and gazed at her figure in astonishment… ‘cover yourself, beautiful one’… While Pokuwaa was doing so, she heard him sobbing… She rushed to sit beside him on the bed where he was crying like a baby…44.Asare Konadu’s preoccupation in this fine novel is an iconoclastic dethronement of the superstition of that era, presenting a woman whose worth is measured, not by her child-bearing prowess but by her qualities as a human being.45.The entire 107 pages of this novel fascinated me because in Pokuwaa, i saw the new generation of the African woman who has emerged out of darkness, above the shackles of societal expectations to true freedom, without on such things as child- bearing to confirm her womanhood.
46.Interestingly, like our Pokuwaa, most of these women have also been blessed with children because they want the joy of motherhood for it’s own sake.
I hope my students grasp this knowledge irrespective of their culture or sex and that it will tickle the creative nerves in them and take them on a journey of the African experience.
Konadu describes Pokuwaa as one the industrious female farmers in Brenhoma. This really portrays African culture where women endure deadly farming work. No sooner had she discovered dead body near her farm and failed to show the news to the people of the town, except her trusted mother than she felt discomfort and nostalgia till the burial of the deceased Yaw Boakye. Even though the husband was amazed and suspected her of having a compassionate relationship with the deceased, she was competent enough to reply him without impressive upon the deceased. We hardly witness this meticulous behavior among women of Arica. On this note, her character displayed is highly recommended in this novel.Konadu depictes the character of Pokuwaa as one of the women with high esteemed in Brenhoma community. She is optimistic that God is the only initiator of a child and not the great god Tano. She rejected all the encouragement received from the mother and the husband with connection to spiritual sacrifices. We sense from this performance that Pokuwaa is not naturally inspired by traditional practices. She may demonstrate an utmost interest in praising the supreme Almighty God than these lesser gods in Brenhoma.We were informed in the novel that Pokuwaa terror dead bodies awfully. She prefer sitting beside her mother when that benevolent chief who reigned for fifty years died. The chief has been nice to Koramoa, her best friend in many standpoints. She describes him as the only chief who shares food as well as so many other things with their families. We understand that the chiefs in Ghana are of great celebrity that they often receive gifts from their disciples. I ever saw one dressing in splendid Kentey cloth in Koforidua.No one dare blame the supreme God. Pokuwaa shows sign of pregnancy within a few months after she boycotts the sacrifices of the great god Tago. She has even forgotten about her barrenness. Her husband Kwadwo doesn’t bother much about the sudden change of her mind and they live happier than before. He is a great hunter so as he brings bush meat home to impress his wife. Her mother, the old woman becomes happy with the sign that her daughter has finally become pregnant. Her best friend Koramoa was full of joy while the husband, Kwadwo keeps his ears to the ground with shock. Good wishers contribute their mature compliments and advice. We were inspired by Maame Fosua’s information; we are informed that when a woman is pregnant she needs to eat more of palm nut soup and chew sugarcane which in turn gives breast milk in abundance. No sooner did you read “A woman in her prime” than you understood the real culture of the people of Ghana.
b.THIS BOOK IS ABOUT THE PLIGHTS OF BEING BARREN AND HOW THE SOCIETY OF BRENHOMA ADDRESSES THE ISSUE
c.I SEE OPPORTUNITIES FOR A GHANAIAN MOVIE FROM THE FOLLOWING EXTRACT FROM THE NOVEL.
“POKUWAA BOILED THE HERBS OVERNIGHT IN A POT OF FRESH WATER FROM THE RIVER. AT THE FIRST PEEP OF DAWN, FOR SEVEN DAYS, SHE GOT UP, POURED SOME OF THE HERBAL WATER INTO A SMALL POT AND WALKED TO THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE VILLAGE. THERE, STANDING OVER THE SAME LOG OF THE ONWOMA TREE, SHE SCOOPED THE WATER OVER HER BODY SEVEN TIMES, REPEATING WORDS OF INCANTATION. SHE CONCENTRATED HARDEST ON WALKING STRAIGHT HOME WITHOUT LOOKING BACK. ARRIVING HOME SHE DABBED HERSELF WITH PEPRE AND WHITE CLAY, FILLING THE ROOM WITH A MIXED SCENT OF TREE BARKS AND CLOVER. IF KWADWO WAS ASLEEP SHE NUDGED HIM. HE WOKE UP AND SNIFFED THE SCENT OF THE PEPRE. “THAT IS NICE,” HE SAID. “YOU’D BETTER GET NEARER.” HE HELD HER CLOSE AND RUBBED HIS NOSE INTO HER NECK WHERE THE SCENT WAS STRONGEST.
THEY TOOK DELIGHT IN EACH OTHER, AND POKUWAA WAS CONSCIOUS THAT DURING THIS TIME SHE WAS HANGING ON KWADWO’S PRAISES AND ADMIRATION. SHE DRESSED IN NEW CLOTHES AND PARADED FOR HIM TO SEE HER AND SAY SHE WAS NICE. IT WASN’T KWADWO’S NORMAL WAY TO SPEAK HIS PRAISES. ONCE WHEN HE SAID HE DIDN’T LIKE THE CLOTHES SHE WORE, POKUWAA BROKE OUT CRYING. HE LEARNED HIS LESSON. ALSO, HE DID ENJOY THE WAY HIS ADMIRATION SENT HER WALKING WITH HER CHEST OUT AND SWINGING HER ARMS LUXURIANTLY.”
d.THE SUMMARY/THEME OF THE BOOK
”IN THE SMALL GHANIAN VILLAGE OF BRENHOMA, POKUWAA,THOUGH A WOMAN,HAS BECOME A SUCCESSFUL FARMER.BUT TRUE HAPPINESS ELUDES HER: TO HAVE REACHED MIDDLE AGE WITHOUT CHILDREN IS CONSIDERED A GRAVE MISFORTUNE.SHE HAS EVEN FELT COMPELLED TO DIVORCED HER FIRST TWO HUSBAND.EVENTUALLY,THE MAN IN HER LIFE IS KWADWO WHO GREATLY LOVES HER FOR HER CHARM,SYMPATHY AND SWEET CONVERSATION.
ONE OF THE POSSIBLE THEME IS THE THEME OF PREDESTINATION.DESPITE THE BELIEF OF THE PEOPLE IN THE POWERS OF THEIR GODS ESPECIALLY TANO FOR WHICH POKUWAA WAS MADE TO UNDERGO ALL SORTS OF RITUALS IN ORDER FOR HER TO BEGET A CHILD,THE MOST SOUGHT -AFTER CHILD NEVER SURFACED.IT WAS ONLY AFTER SHE DECIDES TO GIVE UP ON HAVING A BABY THROUGH THESE SACRIFICES THAT SHE MIRACULOUSLY CONCEIVED A CHILD.THIS SHOWS THAT SOMETIMES WHAT WE STRUGGLE FOR ALL OUR LIVES ONLY COMES ABOUT WHEN WE ABOUT GIVE UP ON IT.”
- Revision Notes of “a Woman in Her Prime” by Asare Konadu for Waec/neco Literature Exams (33) (lagosbooksclub.wordpress.com)
- Additional Critiques of “a Woman in Her Prime” for Waec/neco Exams (34) (lagosbooksclub.wordpress.com)
- Waec/neco Literature Texts for 2011-2015 As Requested (lagosbooksclub.wordpress.com)