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The importance of a well-equipped school library to quality education was recently underscored when a Lagos-based organisation donated new library to Ikeja Senior High School, Ikeja. Olaseni Durojaiye writes

The school library is not integral to learning; it is the heart of the school as it aides both teaching and learning which explains why it is pivotal to developing the 21st Century learners as it provides a model for inquiry learning and building knowledge and confidence in seeking and processing information. Interestingly, there is a growing body of proofs showing the impact of the school library on students’ academic development and achievement.

Besides benefits to students, a well-equipped library is a fundamental resource centre that also provides support for the teaching staff. Scholars hold the view that a school library reflects and encourages collaborative learning and sharing of ideas just as research shows that the reading scores for students in schools that focus on improving their library programmes are, on average of eight to 21 per cent, higher than similar schools with no such programmes.

As important as school libraries are to learning and teaching, the state of libraries in public school leaves much to be desired. While some schools lack well-equipped libraries, others simply do not have. Many schools boast of reading room in the name of library as many of the libraries are too small and often congested making them not conducive for learning.

This was the case with the school library at Ikeja Senior High School, Ikeja, Lagos before the intervention by X3M Ideas, a Lagos-based advertising agency which decided to donate a well-equipped library to the school as part of its yearly corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.

THISDAY gathered that, before the new library was renovated, equipped and handed over to the school management for the use of the school community, the school shared a single room library with Ikeja Junior High School. It was further gathered that the former library was too small to adequately serve the two schools and lacked enough text book resources to cater for the study needs of the students from the two schools that it was meant for.

That has however become history with the donation of the new library by X3M Ideas.
The new library comes with comfortable, four student apiece workstation-like study desks. Each unit has spacious leg room and wide enough table-top that affords convenient reading. Besides, the demarcation at the top of the table forecloses distraction, interferences from other users on the unit and, affords personal space and some measure of privacy.

A tour of the library revealed well stocked book shelves and well arranged seating arrangement. The books and text books on display cut across different subjects from arts, commercial and science subjects. The books bore subjects like agriculture, biology, chemistry, additional mathematics, commercial studies, home economics, integrated science, literature and physics among others.

The Librarian’s table is strategically positioned directly opposite the entrance to the library. A desktop computer monitor and keyboards seat on the table while the Central Processing Unit sits below the table top. From the vantage position, the librarian is able to monitor goings on inside the hall.

A staff of the Ad agency who craved anonymity told THISDAY that “We always put our CSR project in the budget every year, and then we begin to save towards it from the beginning of the year. It’s a tough choice especially at this moment of technical recession and when other agencies are cutting cost and downsizing; but our CEO believes that it’s a choice that must be made. Whenever he talks about the projects he’ll ask us which is the better choice; should people consider how hard it is to spend the money on such laudable project or how harder the future of those children will be without quality education.”

While performing the official tape cutting to declare the library open for use, Tutor-General and Permanent Secretary, District Six, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs. Amidat Anifowoshe, commended the donor company and praised its courage to commit to the project at a time the nation’s economy was experiencing a downturn and businesses are cutting costs as against incurring more cost.

But it was the narratives of the school’s Principal, Mrs. Ibidun Olawuyi that best captured the mood of the school community. Her narration recalled how the library came to be:

“Since I was posted to this school as the Principal, having a befitting library has been a burden in my heart. The school shares the existing so called library with junior school and this had made it difficult for an effective use of the library by both the students and staff of the school. Today, I thank God; that burden has been lifted and we now have a well furnished library for the school, all courtesy of X3M Ideas Company,” she stated.

Continuing, Mrs. Olawuyi recalled how the project came about thus: “It all started in June upon my resumption from a casual leave when the Vice Principal Academics came to brief me that a young man named Nnamdi Okeke came to the school and asked what the school lacked with a view to assisting. According to her, she told him of the needs for computers and a school library. I immediately took the offer of a school library.

“Nnamdi came back as promised and we got talking. Like a dream come true here we are today, inaugurating the library. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to God Almighty, who sees and grants hearts desires as He has by this granted one of my desires for the school. I also want to express my profound appreciation to the management and owners of X3M Ideas for promising and fulfilling the promises so promptly that it seem like a dream. The whole project took about two months to complete and I am aware it costs millions of naira,” the Principal recounted.

Speaking with THISDAY shortly after a tour of the newly inaugurated library, Chief Executive Officer of X3M Ideas, Steve Baba-Eko, explained that the project was borne out of the conviction that providing the students with quality education is the best way of guiding them to become good citizens and leaders in future.

“We are doing this because providing quality education for the children is the best way to groom quality future leaders. Education saved people like me. Why I am able to be where I am today or do what we’re doing today is because I am educated.

“Today, anybody can get educated. However; it’s not just about education but the quality of the education. That was why we decided that in our own little way we will meet the government of Lagos State or any other state halfway in the provision of quality education for our youth, especially those in secondary schools because if we fail to do so the quality of leaders that we will have in future may not be what we will be proud of,” he explained.

Speaking further, he stressed “Last year we went to the boys’ reformatory home, we looked at their sanitary system, you cannot reform anybody in those conditions, so we provided them with a brand new toilets system, new bathrooms complete with lighting systems. We are not just talking to children from well off home or school, we are also talking to children from indigent homes and who are in conflict with the society. So we shall continue to find new ways of engaging with them from different backgrounds,“ he concluded.

Some of the students who braved the ongoing end of session holiday to grace the inauguration could not hide their elation. The joy they exuded can be likened to that of a traveler in the desert – travel weary, tired and thirsty – then came upon an oasis.

One of the students, Elizabeth Ayodele, captured the mood of her colleagues in her vote of thanks. “On behalf of the students of Ikeja Senior High School, I say a big thank you our donor, X3M Ideas for the new school library. The well-equipped library will be of immense benefits to the student population. It will enhance our reading culture and have great impact on the academic performance of the students. I promise that we are going to make effective use of the library. Once again, thank you X3M Ideas, and may God Almighty in His infinite mercies continue to bless the company,” she said.

The teachers were not left out in the gale of excitement in the schools. One of them told THISDAY that “Students and their teachers need library resources and the expertise of a librarian to succeed. School libraries help teachers teach the children better because we are able to go in there to research; sometimes too we ask the students to go in there and read up some topic then return to the class room to engage in interactive session.

A school library functions like a resource centre that supports school programmes as well as the teaching and learning process. School libraries serve students by providing materials to meet their various needs and encouraging independent reading and the use of libraries,” she stressed, adding that “That’s why we are so delighted. We’re indeed grateful to XTM Ideas for this donation; it will certainly impact our work and the performances of the students going forward,” she stated.

Source: Ikeja Senior High School Gets New Library | THISDAYLIVE





The National Examination Council, NECO, has released the 2016 June/July Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) results. This year’s results show a new exam record of 88.51 per cent pass level…..

Source: NECO releases 2016 SSCE results as students set exams record – Daily Post Nigeria



Amma Darko’s Faceless tackles a society’s neglect of its future leaders, the irresponsibility of fathers, the importance of the media in solving problems and the importance of determination in our lives. It blatantly portrays how a larger ‘section’ of the society is living and dealing with life as if there is no one looking after them. So difficult is life to such individuals that what to eat is as problematic as where to ease; what to wear and where to sleep and even waking up to the morning sun are seen as miracles. It clearly shows the effect of streetism on the society and how decayed and corrupt society has become. The axiom that ‘each one for himself God for us all’ can clearly summarise the content of this novel, and to some extent, without taking anything from the author, can act as its second title.

Fofo was forced out from home by her mother, Maa Tsuru, to fend for herself and to allow her mother raise her younger sister Baby T. However, later Baby T was also given away to to fend for herself in one of the most difficult slums in Ghana, Agbogbloshie. Baby T gets brutally murdered and all fingers point to Poison. Besides, her elder sister, Fofo, was almost raped and later beaten by Poison to prevent her from divulging any information to MUTE, a group of four women dedicated to the idea of providing what they refer to as ‘alternate’ library which would act as a respository of local knowledge not found in everyday books. Poison, the boss of the streets, cowed all the kayayos (head-porters) from disclosing the identity of the Baby T, yet the real person responsible for Baby T’s death is one of society’s innocent.

Amma Darko’s display of tradition becomes clear in this novel also. According Maa Tsuru she has been cursed and it is this curse that has rendered her useless, poor, crippled and husbandless. She has become an outcast in the family house and always lives indoors crying. Faceless is one woman’s account of life on the streets of Accra: the struggle, the peril, the survival, the near-death experiences, the deaths and the births. However, behind all these problems, all these complex issues, Amma Darko finds ways to inject humour into her prose, such as Kabria thinking that her son wanted to say Lord the King, when he asked for Lord Kenya’s album.

The writing is simple and brilliant; the diction, good. One need not carry a dictionary or a thesaurus. The simplicity of her writing is similar to that of J.K. Rowling. To me, Amma Darko has arrived and one needs to pay her more attention. This book serve as the basis for her latest novel Not Without Flowers. If you want to read Amma Darko, start from Faceless and you would never regret it. For those who are passionate about child delinquency, societal decadence, survival mechanisms, this book, and in fact all of Amma Darko’s books, is for you.

By Nana Fredua-Agyeman



1.what a touching novel, paving light on the many abused females, whose vulnerability, poverty & lack of support never allow them to even defend themselves.. the worst crime to a person is treating her body as a mere object.. but still, our society or laws are not grown to end this forever.. the plight of a female left in the street, regardless of her age or state of affairs, is worse than that of a street dog. thanks for the fine review, dear, as it will reach many who could not get to read i…aquaturtleme

2.Celestine that was an excellent book review, definitely a book I’m interested in reading. For the author, Amma to point out the horrors that current exist on our planet and your country in particular is admirable and inspirational. Indeed it is people like her that make others around the world more aware, and we need lots and lots more awareness going on to tackle societal sickness, for so it must be. Thank you for bringing Amma Darko to my attention…Penny

3.Thanks Celestine, I am buying it, please know that for all the lightness and sensual direction that my blog is taking at the moment I really do have a hidden motive which is for people to be more comfortable with opening up about things which, I hope will in turn allow them to not be socially blinded by the injustice that is flourishing in your country and in other places. My approach I admit is unorthodox but when I was in the marketing world of business I learned that first you have to capture the audience before they will engage with you. I really enjoy your poetry as well as your reviews, thank you my friend…Penny surprises me that, even in America, there is still so much prejudice against women-in pay, in the jobs they are still rather limited to,in their general worth. We suffers to carry men for 9 months, agonizes to give birth to them, loves them as if they were made of gold, spoils them, cleans them, teaches them. Of course this goes for female children too. Then I lok at my son making 50.00 for a mechanical job while teachers are paid insulting salaries…We have a long way to go. Sounds like a heart warming story. beebee

5.Street life in the slums of Accra is realistically portrayed in this socially-commited, subtle novel about four educated women who are inspired by the plight of a 14-year old girl, Fofo. As the main characters convert their library center into a practical street initiative, the novel invokes the squalor, health risks, and vicious cycles of poverty and violence that drive children to the streets and women to prostitution; and, from which, ultimately, no one in the society is free.

6.Amma Darko’s ‘Faceless’, realistically pictures a faceless and bleak African society. Such settings as Agbogbloshie market, Sodom and Gomorrah etc in Ghana are symbolic of typical African ghettos doomed for imprisonment, criminality, torture, hunger and utter neglect by the Superstructure. The tale is that of a futureless society that, out of sheer foolishness, abandones its very essence, core values, beauty, pride, hopes, represented by the divine gifts-children-in pursuit of shadows and materialism. The novelette, therefore, presents a tragic vision for the continent, hoping that parents and governments will look inward and backward to discover where rain began to beat them and where water is leaking from their roofs!…Umoekah, Ekemini

7.This novel is the critical analysis of tribulations, agony, pain and disregarding women go through in their life. anybody that read that novel must deeply have compassion for women. but the questions here is that should our traditional leaders, government and other top ranking class of people proof their leadership power in finding solution to such problem? seriously it is government obligations to find out the reason and cousing of such problem. if that should be done our dear nation will really turn to a new Jerusalem!!!! please, but that prose writing it’s satire, tragedy or both?? answer please!…Amos Augustine

8.Right from onset (i.e. from the creation of Adam & Eve) woman is being regarded as help-mate to man, Not a servant neither a slave. The State of Nature has deprived most women if not all the rights and freedom to participate on issues that matters to them and their environs. The word FACELESS can mean ‘deprivation, poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, oppression, and lack of expression etc. In my own view, all women should be treated as QUEENS, catered and care for, and most of all be LOVED. GOD help us all to love one another…N.J. OluwaSeun

9.Good work but I think you need to check Baby T and Fofo. From what i read i deduced that B aby T is the oldest daughter of Maa Tsuru. Her name is actually Baby Tsuru because her father was unknown. Fofo is the youngest.Anonymous6 to Nana Fredua-Agyeman



Faceless (2003), Amma Darko’s gendered text about the tragic experiences of children on the mean streets of Accra, opens with a wrenching rape scene at the Agbogbloshie market. In shocking and lurid details, Darko’s narrative captures the horrid reality females, especially young teenage girls, endure and cannot escape. The almost surrealistic scenery of the rape act translates as vicious and relentless violations of the female body and desperate efforts of very young girls to defend their feminine space. The opening scene marks an attempt to crush the female body. This startling opening narrative signifies Darko’s artistic predilections. Darko will not rein in her voice as the issues confronting her subjects are urgent and alarming. There is no taboo subject in Darko’s artistic disposition. Her unbridled language measures the seriousness of her subject.

Darko’s emergent voice gives a new feminist perspective on the issues of gender and class in contemporary African writing. She explores a recurrent theme of sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable members of society. Throughout her fictional works (Beyond the Horizon, 1995; Housemaid, 1998; Faceless, 2003; and Not Without Flowers, 2007, sexuality becomes an overarching metaphor to examine the values of Ghanaian society. Faceless surpasses the other works in artistic intensity and complexity. In this novel, Darko defines feminine sexuality in terms of a complex trope of transformation from voicelessness to voice and movement beyond facelessness to attain face or personhood.

Darko’s writing about the experience of African women constitutes a clear departure from its expression in early African literature as a symbol for pristine beauty In contrast to Leopold Senghor (Chants d’ombre, 1945- Shadow Songs. Edition du Seuil, 1945; Nocturnes (1961), translated by John 0. Reed and Clive Wake, 1969; Leopold Sédar Senghor- Selected Poems, translated by Reed and Wake, 1964), and Camara Laye’s L’Enfant Noir, 1954-The Dark Child, translated by James Kirkup, Ernest Jones, and Elaine Gottlieb, 1954, Darko dispenses with tendencies to beatify the African woman, as such essentialist constructs of the African woman are paternalistic. Her female characters do not play peripheral roles in narratives about their own experience. Rather, the women in Darko’s fiction are assertive in seizing narrative threads and in weaving stories about their own lives.

In Darko’s novels, women burst through the veil of tradition to establish their voice and identity. Quite similar to her female compatriots, Efua Sutherland (The Marriage ofAnansewa and Edufa, 1967); and Ama Ata Aidoo (Anowa, a play based on a Ghanaian legend, 1970; Our Sister Killjoy, 1977, Darko gives a realistic account of the daily struggle of the Ghanaian woman. However, unlike Aidoo and Sutherland, who maintain propriety and guarded stance, Darko writes graphically and explicitly about sexual matters. Darko sets aside the conventions of traditional African society, which often calls for decorum, to speak about issues that unsettle her audience. She wades into such controversial subjects as AIDS, child rape, prostitution, and polygamy.

Consistent with the general trend in contemporary Ghanaian writing, Darko focuses on the social malaise in Ghana since independence. However, while her predecessors, Ayi Kwei Armah {The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, 1968) and Kofi Awoonor {This Earth My Brother, 1971), represent in broad terms the frustrations, emptiness, and ennui in Ghana, Darko depicts these same issues at deeply felt individual levels. In another marked distinction, Darko seeks a way out of this prolonged nightmare by rendering women visible and by creating feminine voice and space. She urges women to revive their voice to sustain their lives. The women in Faceless are stigmatized, yet they engage in courageous acts to throw off the yoke of oppression in a male-dominated society.

In Faceless, Darko writes with urgency about the predicament of a cadre of very young children who eke out a living on the streets of Accra. ……By Awuyah, Chris Kwame


It’s taken me so long to post this book review because I struggled to find the right words to summarise what I deem a message about the neglected and rejected in society. I cannot give a brief summary to this insightful novel, so here is my review of Amma Darko’s Faceless…

When Maa Tsuru tells Fofo that Baby T’s mutilated body has been found at Agbogbloshie, Fofo sets out to find justice for her sister’s murder. In a twist of fate, she runs into Kabria who works with a non-governmental organization called MUTE which functions as an interventionist and alternative library for every social, gender and child issues.

Kabria takes an interest in Fofo’s case and determines to find out what led to Baby T’s death. With the help of Sylv Po, the reporter from Harvest FM, they work their way into a syndicate led by Poison, the street lord, that trades in child prostitutes, drugs and is linked to all manner of street crime.

In one of the most hostile parts of Accra, Fofo’s story draws Kabria and her colleagues’ attention to the socioeconomic menace that comprises a community of drifters and hustlers in a slam called Sodom and Gomorrah, so named after the Biblical city that God destroyed because of its numerous sins.

Amma Darko’s quest to find out how Accra’s squalid Sodom and Gomorrah sprung up out of her old neighbourhood at Old Fadama led to a series of revelations that inspired Faceless, her third novel.

Although the author uses ficticious names, she narrates what can possibly be described as real-life events at venues that really exist. Agbogbloshie, Makola Market, Korle-Gonno, Kaneshie, Abossey-Okai, Abeka and the all-notorious Sodom and Gomorrah can really be found in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.


In making up the various characters and narrating their stories, Darko enlightens her reader about the information she amassed after nearly two years of research into street children, life in Sodom and Gomorrah, Agbogbloshie and its environs.

Fofo would have spent the Sunday night into Monday dawn with her friends across the road at the squatters enclave in Sodom and Gomorrah watching adult films her fourteen years required her to stay away from, and drinking directly from bottles of akpeteshie, or at best, some slightly milder locally produced gin. Ultimately, she would have found herself waking up Monday morning beside one of her age group friends, both of them naked, hazy and disconcerted; and oblivious to what time during the night they had stripped off their clothes and what exactly they had done with their nakedness. Sucked into a life on the streets and reaching out to each new day with an ever-increasing hopelessness, such were the ways they employed to escape their pain.

Darko draws her audience’s attention to the AIDS prevention campaign versus the situation prevailing in such communities:

Sylv Po’s female studio guest was on and complaining about the AIDS prevention programme not driving home the message of abstinence and faithfulness with the same intensity as the use of condoms. Then she touched on the AIDS issue versus the street-children phenomenon…

“During a recent survey we conducted for a programme, all the girls we talked to out there were already sexually active. And we also established that, for many of them, rape was their first sexual experience. And I am talking about girls as young as seven. Many were child prostitutes. They had no idea at all about the extent of self-damage to themselves. Sex to them was just a convenient means of survival. Many were roaming about, oblivious to whether or not they were HIV positive, so…”

In the course of her narration, Darko compares and contrasts Kabria’s family life with that of Fofo and her street companions. She outlines the benefits of family planning, especially in communities where womanhood is proven by having many children and barrenness is abhorred, and mentions some old wives’ tales about the correlation between how a baby is born and its behavioral pattern.

Kabria is the backbone of her family. She multitasks as a mother, wife and social worker. Adade, Kabria’s architect husband, contents himself with his work, joining co-workers to drinking spots to release tension, and returning home for dinner. Their constant argument about Creamy, Kabria’s stubborn hand-me-down VW Beetle, does not get in the way of a stable marriage because Kabria handles the situation tactfully. Their children – Obea, Essie and Ottu – are all in school. Each child’s character is a force to reckon with, but their parents take care of their needs. In a chaotic, but stable environment, the family is able to get along.

What of Fofo and the other street-children? How did they end up on the streets in the first place?

Darko uses the story of Maa Tsuru’s curse to unravel the process of birth to street life.

When a teenage girl is betrayed by the young man who impregnated her, she rains curses on him and all his descendants as life drains out of her in giving birth to the baby who will later be known as Maa Tsuru. Maa Tsuru grows up labelled as a cursed person. People distance themselves from her in her family house, where she also resides. After having two sons and two daughters with Kwei, he abandons them. Fofo and Baby T’s older brothers leave as soon as they are able to fend for themselves.

Then a new man worms his way into Maa Tsuru’s bed and connives with Maami Broni, who promises to find work for Baby T through Mama Abidjan’s questionable recruitment agency, in exchange for periodic payments to feed Maa Tsuru’s new family. Fofo too is forced to leave home because there are two new mouths to feed. Baby T is later found dead behind a hairdressing salon.

Fofo’s best friend, Odarley, share’s a similar story. Odarley’s mother also has a new husband and children she’d had by him. She resents Odarley because her father abandoned them and constantly accuses her daughter of stealing from her. So she drives Odarley out to live on the streets.

Then there is the story of the innocent boy who ran away from home to escape the constant abuse of a drunken stepfather. He ended up as a messenger in a brothel, worked his way up by bullying, raping and murdering and is now known as Poison the street lord.

A boy and a girl of about Fofo’s age and making their home on the streets of Accra like her were once asked by a reporter from one of the private FM stations during a survey about their most passionate dreams…

“My dream,” began the boy, “is to be able to go home one day to visit my mother and see a look of joy on her face at the sight of me. I want to be able to sleep beside her. I wish her to tell me she was happy I came to visit her. Whenever I visit her, she doesn’t let me stay long before she asks me politely to leave. She never has a smile for me. She is always in a hurry to see my back. Sometimes I cannot help thinking that maybe she never has a smile for me because the man she made me with that is my father probably also never had a smile for her too. One day she said to me, ‘Go. You do not belong here.’ If I don’t belong to where she is, where do I belong? But I know that it is not just that she doesn’t want to see me. She worries about the food that she has. It is never enough. So she worries that it may not suffice for her two new children if I joined. The ones she has with the man who is their father and who is her new husband. He hates to see my face. I often wonder what it is I remind him of so much.”

The girl said, “One day a kind woman I met at a centre made me very happy. Before I went there, I knew that by all means she would give me food. But this woman gave me more. She hugged me. I was dirty. I smelled bad. But she hugged me. That night I slept well. I had a good dream. Sometimes I wish to be hugged even if I am smelling of the streets.”

In an introductory essay by Kofi Anyidoho, Amma Darko is described as a major female Ghanaian writer whose works are akin to the likes of Efua T. Sutherland and Ama Ata Aidoo. Both her first and second novels, Beyond the Horizon and The Housemaid, focus on the plight of women and young girls in a merciless world dominated by greedy, irresponsible and often cruel men in their life. Faceless adds up to the other two novels to form what Anyidoho calls an important trilogy. Her stories revolve around feminism and abused women and children in society.

In using what I call simple ‘Ghanaian English’ to narrate the epic tale in Faceless, she gives her reader a feel of Ghanaian urban culture and idiosyncratic transliterations Ghanaians use as we blend our native dialects with English. Her narrative style may be a bit unusual, but she puts her message across well.

Faceless is about the children who have been long forgotten in the rush for modernisation and development in most countries. These young people can be an immense asset to the economy, but are lost to the machinations of poverty and illiteracy, losing their identities in the process.

In writing this book, Amma Darko reminds us…

“The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.”

– John F. Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22,1963



Faceless, Amma Darko’s third novel after Beyond the Horizon and The Housemaid, is the tragic story of street children in Accra, Ghana told through a chaotic urban fabric where pressing social issues like the gap between rich and poor, HIV/AIDS, broken families and the role of women in society are all-pervasive.

The story is an investigation of the death of Baby T, a child prostitute whose body is found dumped behind a marketplace, naked, beaten and mutilated. Darko skilfully reveals details about Baby T during the progression of the novel through her younger sister Fofo, herself a street child who comes into contact with group of women who run a documentation NGO called MUTE.

Baby T’s story is heartbreaking and entirely believable, not only in relation to Accra, but also in a global context. She is the third child of Ma Tsumu, born after a brutal beating intended to fulfil the ambitions of an abortion because the father believes that Ma Tsumu is “too fertile”. Kwei, the father, disappears after fathering Fofo, leaving Ma Tsumu to fend for herself with four children. The family manage alone with the two sons bringing home money from fish-related activities. But Faceless is a novel where things only go very wrong when men are involved and when Ma Tsumu takes a lover into her bed in the form of Kpakpo, who earns his keep by “dubious” means, the stage is set for tragedy.

The first consequence of the new lover is that the brothers, unable to stand the new nightly sounds of the shared bedroom, pack their bags and disappear. This leaves Baby T at the mercy of Kpakpo, who sexually abuses her. Hurt and confused, she confides in a family friend, Onko, who brutally rapes her. Ma Tsumu, a tragic figure destroyed by the men in her life, is unable to do anything but take money from Onko, who then continues to live in the same compound as Baby T. Clearly the situation is untenable and Kpakpo has the answer. Baby T can be sent away to a distant relative of his who is actually a Madame – in reality Baby T is sold into prostitution.

Discrimination against women is a constant theme of the novel and symbolically Baby T is representative of the sins visited upon all women in a society where from birth women are discriminated against and made responsible not only for their sins, but for those of men in society. As mentioned earlier, nothing goes right when men are involved and many of the male characters in the novel are murderers, child abuses, rapists – or simply good for nothings.

Even those not presented in this light are trapped in their perceptions of women as caregivers and housewives, such as NGO worker Kabria’s husband, who expects her to be waiting at the door to take his briefcase when he returns from work. Despite the fact that Kabria works a long day, she is still expected to manage the household, cook and take care of the children. Darko is keen to highlight this hypocrisy.

The response of women to their experience at the hands of men varies from Ma Tsumu’s “Because they are animals, They know no mercy…” to the positive engagement of the NGO MUTE, which is made up entirely of women as if to suggest that it is women who must be in control of their response to a warped male world.

But if the fate of women in society is a major theme of the novel, it plays itself out through a street children narrative which allows Darko the scope for powerful social commentary that demonstrates the personal tragedy of each and every child that ends up on the streets. As one of the characters says in quoting assassinated US president John F. Kennedy: “The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.” What is the hope, Darko seems to be asking, if societies can allow the conditions that result in the fate of Baby T?

Darko’s landscape is not entirely bleak: she does offer hope in the form of Fofo, who by the end of the novel looks set on the right road, and in the form of MUTE, whose members are the positive role models of the novel.

It might be said that the solutions offered by the novel are too simple, but Darko does leave enough in the air to suggest that nothing is certain. Indeed, the story is told with just enough skill to keep the reader guessing. While it is true that some of the characters sometimes feel a bit stereotyped, Darko is also capable of demonstrating some character complexity and contradictions, as in the case of the pimp Poison, who is also shown to be a victim through is own abuse as a child, but who now “no longer suffered the pain, he inflicted it.”

These criticisms aside, Darko succeeds in hammering home a powerful message that it is children and the way they are treated that are the true measure of how societies are judged. It is through their eyes that the answers to the myriad moral predicaments that society finds itself in, are to be found.

* Reviewed by Patrick Burnett…


Faceless is the third novel written by Amma Darko, with an introductory essay by Prof. Kofi Anyhidoho. It tells of the death of Baby T, a child prostitute whose naked, beaten and mutilated body is found dumped behind a marketplace in Agbogbloshie, a slum area in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Details of the murder and Baby T’s life, are skilfully revealed by the author through two sources: one, Baby T’s younger sister Fofo, herself a street child; and through the rehabilitative intervention of an NGO, known as MUTE whose efforts through one of its Programme Officers, Kabria, unearth’s the proverbial can of worms that is the whole story of Faceless

Baby T’s story is heartbreaking. The third child of Ma Tsuru, Baby T is sexually abused by her mother’s live-in lover, Kpakpo. Confused and betrayed, she confides in a family friend and co-tenant, Onko, who takes advantage of her trust and rapes her. Baby T’s mother, Ma Tsuru, a tragic figure destroyed by the men in her life, is helpless to do anything. Weighed down by poverty, illiteracy and shame, she takes money from Onko, and matters take a drastic turn when Kpakpo, always on the loose for fast money manipulates Maa Tsuru and Baby T is sold into prostitution, to also appease his ‘guilt’. It seemed a nasty situation has been tidied up. But has it? Subsequent events, leading to the tragic death of Baby T proves otherwise.

Discrimination against women is a pervasive theme in the novel. Symbolically Baby T carries the sins of her parents, as well as those visited upon women in a society where culturally men are the masters and women bear the brunt of injustice; Maa Tsuru, Baby T’s mother whose husband abandons her penniless, as a result of a ‘curse’ is also a victim of discrimination whose hapless predicament is made more poignant by superstition, poverty and illiteracy. Thus though we have most of the male characters in the novel being murderers, rapists and irresponsible fathers, yet it is the female characters that suffer in a community of drifters and hustlers where characters like Poison, the local thug and Kingpin reign supreme.

Faceless is also the tragic, unfortunate story of a social canker in Ghana and indeed, the bane of developing countries, streetism in a metropolitan and urban environment; and a powerful social commentary and insight into the multifaceted issues underlying streetism, that is broken homes, rape, poverty, illiteracy AIDS, etc. She leaves no stone unturned in exposing and analysing the characters for their various behaviours and at the end, people like Maa Tsuru would receive thee sympathy of the reader and well some disgust, while Fofo would earn admiration for her brevity and courage in wanting to seek the truth and nothing but the truth behind her sister’s murder despite threats on her life from shady characters like Poison, who bring up only abhorrence. I do believe also that Kabria’and her children from the ‘urban posh’ environment are a foil to Fofo and her gang, the contrast created presenting a cruel view of the two worlds.

The fate of Baby T only strengthens her sister Fofo who, through the interventions of MUTE is given a new lease of life, so to speak. And the author seems to buttress this point further by quoting: “The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.” John F. Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963)

Faceless is a well-researched novel, with the narration drawing on real-life events and places/slums like Agbogbloshie, Market, Makola Market, Korle-Gonno, and the all-notorious Sodom and Gomorrah (named after the Biblical city that God destroyed because of its numerous sins) of all which are in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. The characters are real and believable enough and though some, like Poison are stereotyped I do believe the portrayal of such characters highlight the predominant truth and nastiness of the whole streetism and gang phenomena

The writing is brilliant, with simple easy to understand Ghanaian English, interspersed with the vernacular, giving the reader a feel of the Ghanaian culture and what makes her tick. I particularly like the narrative style, which though straight forward draws the reader in, building tension as the author takes us through dizzying moments of intrigue and suspense to reveal the hidden truth behind Baby T’s murder.

I believe Amma Darko is a force to reckon with and I recommend this book wholeheartedly.




1. Discrimination Against Women

The women in this novel bore the hardship inflicted on them by the male characters who were mostly absent fathers, murderers and rapists. For instance, Kwei, Maa Tsuru’s lover and the father of her first four children abandoned her simply because of the superstitious belief that she was cursed. Poison the street lord brutally assaulted Baby T and even attempted to rape Fofo. Kpakpo and Onko took advantage of Baby T and defiled her. In fact, Kpapkpo masterminded Baby T’s venture into prostitution.

2. Streetism

Another important theme that runs through the novel is streetism chiefly represented by the life in Sodom and Gomorrah, a slum in Accra. Faceless portrays the rising menace of street life and its many underlying issues namely, rape, violence, broken home, theft, dirt, poverty, AIDS and illiteracy.

3. Parental Neglect

The theme of parental neglect runs through the novel. All the child characters on the street in Faceless were neglected by their parents. Fofo, Baby T, Odarley, Poison were all victims of parental neglect.

4. Superstition

The novel shows how strongly held superstitious beliefs affect society’s perception. It was believed that Maa Tsuru’s predicament was as a result of the curse placed on her at birth. Maa Tsuru herself believed this. Faceless illustrates the fact that superstitious beliefs often becloud people’s sense of judgment.

5. Failed Governance

The author portrays the weakness of government institutions and lack of confidence in the system. MUTE had to open investigations into Baby T’s case because the police authorities were not interested in the matter. The police authorities lacked basic work tools due to years of neglect by the government.


The author’s narration is straightforward. She tells Baby T’s story mainly through Fofo and investigations by MUTE. Her style of writing is simple and easy to understand. In unravelling the mystery behind Baby T’s death, the author builds tension in her story line thus creating suspense and intrigue.


The author uses simple, everyday English language with some Ghanaian vernacular to portray the culture of her people. Examples are words like Kayayoo (porter), akpeteshie etc.

By Dayo Okubule…




Fofo is the fourth child of Maa Tsuru. She is fourteen years old and lives on the street. She is a dreamer and would often drift away in her own world of fantasy. She is quite brave and intelligent. She tactfully resists Poison’s rape attempt and disguises as boy to protect herself from further assault by Poison and his gang. Through her character, the reader gets more insight into the circumstances surrounding Baby T’s death.

Baby T

Faceless revolves mostly around Baby T and the circumstances leading to her death. She was Maa Tsuru’s third child and Fofo’s elder sister. She got defiled early by Kpakpo and thereafter by Onko whom she trusted. She was sold into prostitution through Kpakpo’s gimmicks. A victim of parental neglect like her sister Fofo, Baby T’s badly beaten and mutilated body was found behind a kiosk in Agbogbloshie market.

Maa Tsuru

Maa Tsuru is the mother of Fofo and Baby T. She was born under very grave circumstances and like everyone around her, she believed that she suffered from a curse stemming from the circumstances of her birth. Her two lovers (Kwei and Kpakpo) were absent fathers. They walked out on her leaving her to take care of the children, a responsibility she performed very poorly. Ravaged by poverty and being a victim of neglect herself, she craved for love but got entangled with irresponsible men.


Poison is a street lord and leader of a prostitution ring to which Baby T was sold. Feared by all, Poison assaulted Baby T before her death and almost raped Fofo. He also tried to interfere with MUTE’s investigations as he did not want Baby T’s true identity to be revealed. A victim of abuse and neglect, Poison enjoyed inflicting pain on others. The author uses his character to show that with male children, streetism takes a different twist as it makes them almost irredeemable.


The wife of Adade and mother of three energetic children, Kabria worked with MUTE, a non-governmental agency and lived in a decent neighbourhood in Accra which contrasted sharply to the situation in Sodom and Gomorrah. With a problematic car called Creamy, she tried to combine career with her responsibilities as wife and mother. She was instrumental to Fofo’s rehabilitation and contributed in no small measure to unraveling the mystery surrounding Baby T’s death.


Odarley was Fofo’s friend and confidant. Like Fofo, she lived on the street having been neglected and sent out of the house by her mother.


Onko lived in the same compound as Maa Tsuru. In a compound that reeked of poverty, Onko was portrayed as a man of means who gave generously. He took advantage of Baby T and defiled her. He bribed Maa Tsuru who kept quiet over the issue. His business suffered a downturn thereafter. He committed suicide after Baby T’s death. The author uses his character to buttress the fact that children are mostly defiled by adults who are close to them.


Kpakpo was Maa Tsuru’s dubious, jobless and unscrupulous lover. He deceived Maa Tsuru and masterminded Baby T’s sale into prostitution. He also aided Onko’s visit to Baby T leading to the latter’s death.

By Dayo Okubule…


Characters 2

This is the list of characters (dramatis personae) in Faceless which could be divided into major and minor characters.

* Fofo
* Kabria
* Maa Tsuru
* Baby T
* Dina
* Kwei
* Kpakpo
* Adade
* Macho
* Poison
* Maami Broni
* Mama Abidjan
* Sylv Po
* Aggie
* Vickie
* Odarley
* Obea
* Essie
* Ottu
* Ms. Kamame

Characterization 1

1. Fofo

She is the 14 year old daughter of Maa Tsuru and sister to the deceased Baby T. she stopped schooling at a very tender age due to lack of finance. She could be termed as the heroine of the novel. Fofo is very outspoken, kind, caring and hardworking. Despite the fact that she is compelled to go onto the streets by the mere presence of Kpakpo, she perseveres by finding a menial job to do. Her life at a point in time is paralyzed by the fear of the thick-set leader Macho and Poison the street lord. It is through the courage of Fofo that the mystery behind baby t’s death is unleashed. After she experiences the harsh ups and downs of a street child, she undergoes rehabilitation.

2. Kabria

Kabria is a married woman who has to shoulder her responsibility of caring for her home together with being competent at her workplace. She faces the difficulties of managing her career with her first responsibility of being a mother and Adade. She has three children namely : Obea ,Essie And Ottu. Kabria is very loving, patient and sympathetic. Saves Fofo from being lynched at Agbogbloshie market when she tries picking her. She works at MUTE organization and in collaboration with Harvest Fm, they go on an adventure to unravel the mystery surrounding sssBaby T’s death. She treats everyone as part of her family even ‘creamy’ her battered old VW beetle car.

3. Maa Tsuru
of Fofo and siblings. It is believed that she is cursed by her mother when she was being given birth to. She herself is a product of the streets and cares less if her offsprings become a nuisance to society. Maa Tsuru is a “free for all”, easily deceived, and makes her children go onto the devouring jaws of the streets. She sells Baby T indirectly into prostitution. Very quick-tempered. However, Maa Tsuru is remorseful and caring.

4. Baby T

Daughter of Maa Tsuru,16 years of age. She is very kind and lovely. A great teacher she is as Fofo learns to pick-pocket from her. She is an innocent girl who is raped by her uncle Onko and her step-father Kpakpo. She is killed as a result of the connivance between Onko, Poison and Maami Broni.




Attempted Rape

The novel opens with fourteen year old Fofo sleeping on an old cardboard at the Agbogbloshie market. Except for her new job of washing carrots at the vegetable market in Agbogbloshie, her life in Sodom and Gomorrah, a slum close to the market consisted mainly of watching adult movies and taking alcohol. In her sleep, she dreamt of living in a home with a roof and a toilet, a dream shared by other street children like her.

She was woken up suddenly by Poison, a street lord who attempted to rape her. Fofo resisted him and ran to Odarley, her best friend who lived in a rented wooden shack. She told Odarley about Poison’s attempted rape and her intention to see her mother whom she believed had some connections with Poison. Fofo’s mother, Maa Tsuru informed Fofo, that her elder sister, Baby T was dead and Poison had threatened her into silence over Baby T’s death. She therefore urged Fofo to leave for her safety.

Kabria’s Encounter with Fofo

In sharp contrast to the life in Sodom and Gomorrah is Kabria’s life with her family. A mother of three lively children- Obea, Essie and Ottu, she lived in a decent neighbourhood in Accra, worked with MUTE a non-governmental agency and drove a problematic old car nick-named Creamy. She ran into Fofo at the Agbloghoshie market while shopping for vegetables. Kabria was standing with other spectators at the spot where Baby T’s body was found when Fofo, disguising as a boy tried to steal her purse. Kabria rescued her from the angry mob. Fofo revealed her female identity and told Kabria that Baby T was her sister. Meanwhile, a lot of people had been made to believe that the dead girl (Baby T) was a kayayoo(a market porter from the north) to conceal her true identity and discourage further enquiry into her death. MUTE (the non-governmental organisation where Kabria worked) got interested in Baby T’s matter and granted Fofo protection by taking her into custody temporarily while conducting investigations into the circumstances surrounding Baby T’s death.

The circumstances surrounding Baby T’s death was revealed through two main sources: Fofo and investigations by MUTE.

How Baby T became a prostitute

Baby T was the third child of Maa Tsuru while Fofo was fourth. Their jobless father, Kwei had abandoned them mainly as a result of the superstitious belief that Maa Tsuru had been cursed from birth. Baby T was sexually abused by her mother’s second lover, Kpakpo and was further defiled by Onko, a generous uncle who lived in the same compound with them and in whom she tried to confide.

Through Kpapkpo’s gimmicks, Baby T was sold to a prostitution ring consisting of Madam Abidjan, Maami Brooni and Poison, the street lord and ring leader. She was made to work as a child prostitute in Maami Brooni’s brothel with her earnings sent to Maa Tsuru who simply turned a blind eye.

Meanwhile, Onko’s welding business had suffered great setback after defiling Baby T. A witchdoctor made him believe that his misfortune was caused by the defilement of Baby T whom he said was a cursed child. As a form of remedy, the witch doctor asked Onko to bring some sacrificial items which would include Baby T’s pubic hair.

How Baby T died

Kpakpo helped Onko to connect with Baby T once again. Poison eventually led Kpakpo to Maami Brooni’s brothel where Baby T worked as a prostitute. Baby T remembered what Onko did to her in the past and totally declined to sleep with him. Enraged at her refusal, Poison slapped and tried to beat her into submission. Baby T was found dead on the concrete floor with her head split open. She was alone with Onko in the room at the time of her death. Onko committed suicide thereafter.


The novel is set in Accra with locations in Agbogbloshie market and the notorious slum, Sodom and Gomorrah. However, the events in the novel happen everywhere in Africa including Nigeria.

By Dayo Okubule…


Sometimes it is better to tell the story of a street child than to look for his murderer. We learn this definitively from Henning Mankell’s book. Amma Darko tells the opposite story: searching for the murderer makes for a better life for those who survive in the streets.

14-year-old Fofo is a street child living in a part of Accra named “Sodom and Gomorrha,” a place that is not good for anybody, least of all to children. Fofo has made it her task to find out what happened to her sister, Baby T, who was found dumped behind a marketplace, beaten and mutilated. Baby T. was the third child of Ma Tsumu, and was born after a brutal beating intended to abort the baby. Her father disappeared, leaving Ma Tsumu to fend for herself with four children. Soon Ma Tsumu found a new lover to share her bed, Kpakpo, who is good-for-nothing and earns his keep by “dubious” means.

Not willing to accept the presence of the new lover, the two brothers leave home. Soon after, Baby T. is sexually abused by Kpakpo. Hurt and confused, the twelve year old girl doesn’t confide in her mother, but instead in a family friend, Onko, who in turn rapes her. Ma Tsumu who then learns about the tragedy finds herself unable to do anything but take money from Onko, who continues to live in the same compound as Baby T. The situation is untenable. Kpakpo suggests that Baby T be sold into prostitution. The theme of discrimination against women is always present in this story. Baby T is representative of the sins visited upon all women in a society where they are discriminated against from birth. There is a note of home in the landscape of the story, when Baby T’s sister Fofo meets with a group of women who run an institution that documents issues called MUTE. The four women are inspired by the plight of Fofo and convert their library center into a practical street initiative.

Author Amma Darko has lived in Accra, near the marketplace where the crime happened. She evokes the vicious cycles of poverty and violence that drive children to the streets and women to prostitution. Her powerful message says that the way children are treated is the true measure of how societies are judged. When life is viewed through children’s eyes, it becomes clear that societies must find the answers to the moral predicaments that they finds themselves in.

“ FACELESS must be compulsory reading for all those who claim to be interested in the plight of street children…[who] cease to be mere statistics or a point of reference for media hysteria, academic discourse, or political rhetoric.” Kofi Anydoho




Amma Darko is a Ghanian writer and researcher. She studied Industrial Design and worked for a year in a center for technological counselling at the University of Kumasi. Afterwards, she travelled to Germany where she stayed from 1981 until 1987 and wrote her first novel, Beyond the Horizon which was published in German. Faceless is her third novel. Amma Darko enjoys research and spends a lot of time with interviews and in archives. For the novel Faceless, she put on dingy clothes and mingled with the inhabitants of the suburb “Sodom and Gomorrha” in Accra. In 2008, she received the most important literary prize in her country, the Ghana Book Award. Faceless has been selected for the official literature list of the West African Examination Council for Senior Secondary Schools and belongs now to the West African school canon.

By Dayo Okubule…


ModernGhana Online Radio Center…Personality Profiles | 25 January 2008

Ghanaian Novelist – Amma Darko…By awuraba

I am first and foremost a storyteller who feels inspired to create stories out of pertinent issues. As an African woman also, I feel inclined toward working around female issues. I don’t know where that places me in the writing world’s classifications, but I definitely do have some reservations about carrying the tag of ‘feminist writer’. The context in which the Western world perceives the term does not prevail here. Feminism is sort of placed in a tight and narrow square box. One perceived or labeled as a feminist whatever, is judged to be this aggressive man-hater who at best is a lesbian and who can be as worse as a butcher of masculinity. I tell stories and comment on situations. I would be completely satisfied to be perceived simply as a voice.

About Amma

The name “Amma” means Saturday born. It is common in Ghana to name a child after the day it was born. Amma Darko was born in Tamale in 1956. From Northern Ghana, she moved years later to the Ashanti Region. She studied at the university of Kumasi, where she received her diploma in 1980. Afterwards she worked for the Technology Consultancy Centre.
Then, in 1981, she travelled to Germany. Now she is living in Accra, the Ghanaian capital. She is working as tax inspector. This work gives her a of inspiration because she deals with interesting cases and people. She is married and has three children, so all together there is not as much time for writing as she would like to have.

On Her Writing

Darko had always loved books, but books were hard to find when she was growing up. She especially missed books about the experience of ordinary people living in contemporary Ghana. She chose a radical solution to her problem – to write those books.

Her first novel was published in Germany under the title Der Verkaufte Traum (Schmetterling Verlag, 1991) and consequently in English as Beyond the Horizon (Heinemann, 1995). It is the story of a Ghanaian woman who finds herself in a German brothel through a marriage fraud. The book was ranked among the Top Twelve of the 1995 Feminist Book Festival in Britain. Her second novel, The Housemaid (Heinemann, 1998), explores the complex relationships in contemporary rural Ghana where modernity, delivered through the media, increasingly penetrates tradition, but finds little nurturing soil for lack of education.
Her third novel, Faceless (Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2003) tells the story of street children in contemporary Accra. With a sense for naturalistic detail and humour, Darko explores the vicious circle created by the worst injustice while placing the story into a larger socio-political context.



1. Beyond the Horizon (Der verkaufte Traum), 1991
2. Spinnweben, 1996 (“Cobwebs”; no English version)
3. Verirrtes Herz, 2000 (“Stray heart”; no English version)
4. Faceless (Die Gesichtslosen), 2003
5. Film based on ‘Faceless’ gets award
6. Roaming Around, Germany 2007, 53 min – A German team produced a film based on the novel “Faceless”. Eva Maschke (camera) and Dominique Geisler (cut) were awarded the German Camera Prize 2007.
7. Not without Flowers (Das Lächeln der Nemesis), 2006

“Not without Flowers” is now available in English. If you are interested, please contact Sub-Saharan publishers:

Sub-Saharan Publishers, P.O.Box LG 358, Legon-Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Tel: 233-21-233371, Fax: 233-21-234251


The Housemaid (Das Hausmädchen), 1998

Reading Session
Watch Amma Darko in a Reading Session



Amma Darko

Amma Darko (born 1956) is a Ghanaain novelist.

Life and writing

She was born in Tamale, Ghana, and grew up in Accra. She studied in Kumasi, where she received her diploma in 1980. Then she worked for the Science and Technology Center in Kumasi. During the 1980s, she lived and worked for some time in Germany. She has since returned to Accra.

Her novels illustrate everyday life in Ghana. Her first novel, Beyond the Horizon, was originally published in German. Her most recent novels, Faceless and Not without flowers, were published in Ghana.

Her work has been discussed in Vincent O. Odamtten’s book Broadening the Horizon: Critical Introductions to Amma Darko,[1] in the 2001 doctoral thesis by Louise Allen Zak “Writing her way: a study of Ghanaian novelist Amma Darko”,[2] and in several academic journals.[3]


1991] 1995: Beyond the Horizon (Der verkaufte Traum). Heinemann/Schmetterling-Verl. ISBN 978-0-435-90990-1.

Darko’s first novel is influenced by her impressions of Germany, observing the interaction between Germans and Ghanaian immigrants. The book is about a young woman, Mara, who follows her husband to Germany, not knowing that he has married a German in the meantime. Though the book deals with serious topics such as illegal immigration, illegitimate marriage and prostitution, there is never any bitter morality in it.

1996: Spinnweben (“Cobwebs”; no English edition). Schmetterling-Verl. ISBN 978-3-926369-17-8.

Her second novel is a reflection about roots. There are dialogues between a Ghanaian living in German and the German friends around her.

2000: Verirrtes Herz (“Stray heart”; no English edition). Schmetterling-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-89657-119-9.

This is the first book that is completely set in Ghana. The young protagonist, Kesewa, is illiterate. She has to work hard for her parents and brothers and is unable to attend school regularly. In her adult life, she becomes distrustful and envious and causes a lot of trouble.

2003: Faceless (Die Gesichtslosen). Sub-Saharan Publishers/Schmetterling-Verl. ISBN 978-9988-550-50-9.

A novel about a middle-class woman coming into contact with street children who are living in a part of Accra known as “Sodom and Gomorrhah”.

2007: Not Without Flowers. Sub-Saharan Publishers. ISBN 978-9988-647-13-1.

In this book, the reader encounters some figures and institutions from the preceding novel. One of the central characters, Aggie, works for the NGO MUTE, which aims to create an archive and an alternative library. Aggie’s mother has a mental disorder and is kept in a prayer camp. Idan, Aggie’s husband, starts an affair with the very young Randa.

2015: Between Two Worlds. Sub-Saharan Publishers. ISBN 978-9988647933.

In this novel, two worlds converge: A Ghanaian man and a German woman fall in love in Germany, in the 1960s. Many years later, their grown-up twin daughters are confronted with information about the collapse of their parents’ marriage. The reader sees the situation from both angles. He gets to know how the man grows up in the British colony Gold Coast and the woman in post-war Germany. The novel also has a spiritual dimension. The topic of twins is very important as well as the natural religion of the Akan people in Ghana with their fetish and clan priests, libations and drumming. As in her previous novels, Darko’s humour shines through the serious topic.

2015: The Necklace of Tales. ASIN B00YVNNH9I.

This young readers’ book brings the charm of the traditional Kweku Ananse stories into the context of our modern world. For centuries, the stories of this African folktale character were handed down orally through storytelling. The stories originated from the Ashantis, who form part of the Akan tribe of Ghana. Kweku is the day name of a Wednesday-born male and Ananse is Akan for spiders. In this story, which is the first of a series, the Kweku Ananse tales are recounted through the experiences of an orphan girl named Obiba and by virtue of a mysterious set of beads. “The Necklace of Tales”, as the bead necklace is known, is as old as the universe. Inside it are captured the Kweku Ananse stories. It comes into the possession of the orphan Obiba, who is living a difficult life with her unkind aunt in Ghana’s capital Accra. The Kweku Ananse character is a spider with human characteristics. His eight limbs are often depicted as four arms and four legs. His special relationship with the Creator goes back to the time of creation. He is wise and cunning and a trickster. Every Kweku Ananse tale bears some subtle advice and words of wisdom. Told and retold by the captives from the Ashanti tribe during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Kweku Ananse stories spread to other parts of the world. They have evolved in places such as the southern parts of the USA, the West Indies and the Caribbean.[4]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Ghanaian author Amma Darko tours Germany, her second home

Living astride two cultures, exploitation and the quest for happiness. These are some of the themes in the novels of the internationally acclaimed Ghanaian novelist.

The hall in the German city of Cologne is filled with people who have come to see and listen to one woman. The 57 -year-old author from Ghana Amma Darko.

Her braided hair and colorful blouse gives a young and cheerful impression as she keenly listens to an actor reading from her fifth novel which bears the title “Faceless.” It is about the street life of Fofo, a 14 -year-old girl in the slums of Ghana’s capital Accra. The main theme of the story is the vicious cycle of poverty and violence that drives children to streets and women to prostitution.

The novel was published in 2003.

Four years later, “Faceless” was the inspiration behind the award-winning documentary “Roaming Around.”

Amma Darko told the Cologne audience she discovered her talent for writing in the mid-1970s. “In my time writing was not acknowledged as something someone does, so if you were a writer and had a passion for it, you did it in private for fear of being laughed at,” the novelist said.

The reluctance to talk about her passion for writing changed when Amma Darko began studying at the University of Kumasi. She met a professor who encouraged her to keep on writing. However, she graduated in sociology. You could not study creative writing in Ghana in those days, she explained.

Life in Germany

After acquiring her sociology degree, Darko worked as a technical consultant. She then took a weighty decision. She was going to emigrate – to Germany! “I had the drive for adventure and wanted to simply break out,” Darko said, adding that “I was restless. I think the whole country was restless. Everybody was going away.”

The political upheaval in Ghana was at least partly to blame. In 13 years, the country went through five military coups.On 4 June, 1979, Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings seized power as chairman of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). He had three previous leaders of military coups executed – Lieutenant General Fred Akuffo, General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and Lieutenant General Akwasi Afrifa.

Many people left Ghana because they did not feel safe. With the help of a pen pal Amma Darko obtained a visa for Germany and moved to the city of Hildesheim in 1981.

“If I had not come to Germany, I would not have developed my writing,” Darko told DW in an interview. “I was able to focus, it takes a lot of passion and determination especially if you have never published before.”

The breakthrough

Despite her prolific output, Amma Darko found it hard to get her works published. She couldn’t find a publisher.But with the help of temporary jobs, she managed to stay afloat until her return to Ghana in 1987.

From then on, it was success. In 1991, Darko’s first novel, “Beyond the horizon,” was first published in German under the title “Der verkaufte Traum”. It is about a Ghanaian woman who follows her husband to Germany, believing she will earn money and win happiness. Instead, she is exploited by her husband and forced into prostitution. It became Germany’s best-selling novel by a black African writer.

“The book came out at a time when migration, prostitution and exploitation was a hot topic,” Darko said.

The book helped Darko to establish herself internationally. Since then, she has published five more novels.
In 2008 she won “Ghana’s Book Award”, the country’s highest literary accolade. “Faceless” is on the curriculum of many schools in West Africa.

Darko is just about to complete her latest book “Between two worlds.” It is also set in Ghana and Germany. “Whenever I bring out a new book, I go on tour,” she explains with a smile. “Germany is my second home.”