Summary and analysis of Amma Darko’s Faceless 

Summary and analysis of Amma Darko’s Faceless. Bio- Data of Amma Darko

She was born in Koforidua, 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. She also paints clear pictures of the exploitation of women through her works. Her first novel, Beyond the Horizon, was originally published in Germany. Her most recent novels, Faceless and Not without flowers, were published in Ghana. She also wrote The Housemaid.

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

Summary and analysis of Amma Darko’s Faceless 

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. German translation: Das Halsband der Geschichten. Young readers’ book. Elbaol verlag hamburg, Meldorf 2019 ISBN 978-3-939771-74-6 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.

Summary and analysis of Amma Darko’s Faceless 

Summary of Amma Darko’s Faceless 

The story begins with a street child, Fofo who earns her livelihood by washing vegetables and pick pocketing. She befriends another street child, Odarley and together they brace themselves for the harsh treatment of the streets. Fofo is nearly raped by Poison (the street lord) and is left with many unanswered questions. She is later hit with a blow of the death of her sister Baby T who is brutally murdered and dumped at the market square.

This tragic loss leads her into the pursuit of justice and vengeance for the death of Baby T. After the perseverance of MUTE and Sylv Po, an epidemic is uncovered and the details of the fate of thousands of street children are laid bare. The work, Faceless by Amma Darko hinges on the victimization of the female folk by the domineering influence of masculinity. The patriarch society which the work presents to us shows great imbalance in the way and manner the females fare in the story vis-a-vis their male counterparts.

With focus on the heroine of the work, Fofo, we realise how the spate of poverty in the society where the woman is left to provide for her children, forces mothers to push their young girls into the streets. In Sodom and Gomorrah, young girls and boys of Fofo’s age are seen trying to survive all by themselves. Some are seen to pay for the day hours while others pay for night hours. Some engage in hawking, stealing or prostitution as a means of survival.

Fofo is seen sleeping out late at night in front of a kiosk, so that; she will meet up an appointment for a job. Right there in the middle of the night, Poison suddenly came upon her forcefully and abused her sexually. After being freed from the stronghold of Poison, Fofo decides to pay her mother a visit, but not without the company of her friend, Odarley.

Fofo learns in her mother’s room that Baby T, her older sister, was found dead in an Agbogbloshie market location. She informs her mother about Poison’s immoral behavior toward her and of her decision to leave the area. MaaTsuru and Fofo have been engaged in a cold war, and she lacks the verbal skills necessary to influence Fofo. When Fofo informs Odarley that she will be traveling to only God knows where, Odarley feels as though Fofo has shot her out of her mind and affairs.

Summary and analysis of Amma Darko’s Faceless 

On the other hand, the Adade family sees Kabria going about her daily business of doing housework and dropping off her kids (Obie, Essie, and Ottu) at school. Her husband has a gut feeling that she is the only one who can do this mammoth endeavor. Kabria is able to complete all the cooking and drive her automobile named Creamy to work without worrying about the inquisitive character of her last two kids. Kabria works for MUTE, a non-profit with Dina as the director.

Her colleagues are Vickie and Aggie. On a particular day, Kabria got to work late and Dina got sad about it. To compensate for her late coming, Kabria decides to shop for Dina in Agbogbloshie. At the market, Kabria held about the death of a young girl and her body left in front of a kiosk; and that instance when she decides to find out the reason why people were gathered at a spot, a young boy swiftly steals her purse from her but caught up with by some members of the crowd surrounding her.

Kabria intervenes to save the boyfriend the wrath of the mob and quickly takes him out of their mist. At the car park, to Kabria’s amazement she realises that the young boy is a girl disguised as a boy. She tells Kabria that she knew the dead girl and that she was her sister. Recovering from the shock, Kabria tells her to show up at the same spot the next day. Kabria returns to her office and tells her colleagues what she had seen.

Dina decides to give kabria a chance to work on the case. The next day, Kabria repeats at the market just as she has told the young girl. After waiting for a long time, Kabria sees the girl and feels pity for her as she takes her to her office, MUTE. In the office, it is agreed that Dina takes her home as she is a divorcee and has nobody to cater for, and they discover that she bears the name Fofo.

After recuperating from the beating she had received for speaking with a stranger, Fofo demands to have Kabria around before she can speak about herself and her dead sister. Through flashback in her words, Fofo reveals that due to the helpless situation her mother finds herself by marrying Kpakpo, a jobless and evil schemer, whose only inheritance is the one room he got from his father. Kpakpo rents his room out with the condition that he lives with his tenant.

Summary and analysis of Amma Darko’s Faceless 

This has been working for him until he met with one whose brother is a soldier and he forcefully asks Kpakpo to vacant the room paid for by his brother. Kpakpo deceives Maa Tsuru and makes her to fall in love with him. Before MaaTsuru could unravel the fact, it was too late and she decided to accept her fate of taking Kpakpo as her second husband. Kpakpo’s presences in their home is the beginning of crisis as Fofo’s two elder brothers disappeared from the house as they could no longer tolerate Kpakpo making love with their mother in the same room they sleep.

On this particular day that Maa Tsuru was away and her children had to sleep in the room with just Kpakpo, Kpakpo saw it as an advantage to do his bidden. He abused Fofo’s elder sister, Baby T, sexually that night, while Fofo watched secretly. Fofo innocently tells Onko of what Kpakpo did to Baby T in great confidence as she and others have taken him to be their moral confidant. Onko takes the opportunity to also abuse Baby T sexually.

This gets MaaTusru infuriated that she goes to confront Onko. He pleads and offers some money to stop to case, and also makes MaaTsuru to understand that he knows of Kpakpo and Baby T. Due to the complication surrounding the matter, MaaTsuru falls into Kpakpo devilish advice to send Baby T to Mama Broni to get her a job. Unknown to MaaTsuru Baby T is introduced to prostitution in connection to Poison, who stands as the kingpin of the prostitution business.

After series of investigations by MUTE with the help of Sylv Po, a radio presenter, it is discovered that Baby T did not die at the market but that her killers brought her to the spot to distract any further trace. Kabria and her team pay several visits to MaaTsuru, Naayomo, Onko’s workshop, Poison, Mama Broni, a native doctor and the police station, among others, to unravel the secret behind Baby T’s death.

Summary and analysis of Amma Darko’s Faceless 

He confesses that Mama Broni is aware of better when confronted by Poison. He claims that Onko had come to ask for a specific female of his and that he would have paid everything to get her. He identified the girl as Baby T when questioned. According to Poison, Baby T first resisted taking Onko on as a client but eventually gave in. He claims that Baby T works as a special employee for Mama Broni and is well-treated.

He claims, however, that Baby T’s death was an accident because she got into a fight with Onko and was stabbed with a knife as a result. They took her wounded body to the market square after realizing this so that it could be considered that she was slain there. However, Onko committed suicide before the investigating team could reach him. Mama Broni admits that she was the one who called into the radio show to convince the host that the dead girl was not Baby T but rather someone else. Following this revelation, Fofo is fully recovered and sent to pursue a career that will enable her to support herself financially in the future. This is accomplished with the aid of MUTE, and especially Kabria.

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