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

4.it 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


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