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About the Author
Amma Darko was born in the year 1956, 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. Afterwards, she traveled 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  enjoys research and spends a lot of time with interviews and in archives. 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. She also has the book Not without flowers to her credit. Her work has been discussed in several academic journals as well.

Analysis of Faceless
Faceless is a compelling story of children plunged onto the streets by poverty and parental neglect. Amma Darko in graphical details presents sociological issues of child-neglect, gender, child abuse, defilement of girls, child-trafficking, child-labour, and violence.

Amma Darko tells the world that every street child has a story, though rarely told. The common denominator in all of these stories is parental neglect which arises as a result of poverty.

A non-governmental organisation in Accra known as MUTE seeks to unravel the mysterious death of Baby T, a child prostitute whose battered body was found in a slum behind a hair salon kiosk. MUTE’s encounter with Fofo, Baby T’s sister, opens an investigative trail into the lives of neglected children.

The message Faceless is putting across is that, parents should take responsibility for their children. More pronounced is the message that no child should be brought into the world without means of providing for him physically, financially, psychologically and emotionally.

The novel was set in Accra, Ghana, with locations in Agbogbloshie marketplace and the notorious slum, Sodom and Gomorrah. However, the measures in the novel go off in all places in Africa as well as Nigeria.

How Baby T became a prostitute
Baby T was the third child of Maa Tsuru despite the fact that Fofo was fourth. Their unemployed father, Kwei had abandoned them essentially as a product of the illogical belief that Maa Tsuru had been cursed from birth.

Baby T was sexually abused by her mother’s second lover, Kpakpo and was extend dishonored by Onko, a generous uncle who lived in the same compound with them and in whom she tried to confide.

Through Kpakpo’s gimmicks, Baby T was sold to prostitution consisting of Madam Abidjan, Maami Brooni and Poison-the street lord, the lane lady and circle leader. She was ready to exert herself as a prostitute in Maami Brooni’s brothel with her take-home pay sent to Maa Tsuru who austerely curved a blind eye.

Meanwhile, Onko’s welding interest had suffered an impede after defiling Baby T. A witchdoctor he visited then told him that his misfortune was caused by the debasement of Baby T, whom he supposed was a cursed child. 

As a mold of remedy, the witch medical doctor asked Onko to make a number of sacrificial items which would include Baby T’s pubic hair. So, he goes in search of Baby T and Kpakpo helps him connect with her once again.

As the plot unfolds, we find out that Baby T, the third child of Maa Tsuru, was born after a brutal beating. Her father disappeared, leaving her mother to fend for herself and the children. Her mother finds a new lover called Kpakpo, who sexually abuses Baby T.  She reports the rape incident to an uncle who lives in the same compound with them, and he raped her also. 

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

Attempted Rape
The novel opens with fourteen year old, Fofo, sleeping on a long-standing cardboard at the Agbogbloshie market. except for her new affair of washing carrots at the vegetable market in Agbogbloshie .

She is woken up suddenly by Poison, a street lord who attempts to rape her. Fofo resists him and runs to Odarley, her best friend who lives in a rented wooden shack.

Fofo’s mother, Maa Tsuru informed Fofo, that her elder sister, Baby T was dead and that Poison threatened her into silence over Baby T’s death and urged Fofo to leave for her safety.

Kabria encounters Fofo
In intense distinction to the energy in Sodom and Gomorrah is Kabria’s animation with her family. A mother of three lively children- Obea, Essie and Ottu, she lived in a proper neighbourhood in Accra, worked with a non-governmental charity organization and has a problematic one-time car nick-named Creamy.

She ran into Fofo at the Agbloghoshie market whereas shopping for vegetables. Kabria was repute with other audience at the 'see everyplace Baby T’s carcass' after Fofo disguising as a teenager tried to rob her purse. Kabria rescued her from the heated mob and being lynched by driving her away. Kabria stands with other spectators at the spot where Baby T’s body was found, when Fofo tries to steal her purse.

She rescues her from the angry mob. Fofo reveals her identity and tells Kabria that Baby T was her sister. MUTE got interested in Baby T’s matter and granted Fofo protection by taking her into temporal custody while conducting investigations regarding Baby T’s death

Fofo exposed her female distinctiveness and told Kabria that Baby T was her sister. Meanwhile, a slice of intimates had been prepared to deem that the over young woman (Baby T) was a kayayoo(a marketplace doorkeeper from the north) to conceal her actual characteristics and dissuade more enquiry into her death.

The non-governmental organisation where Kabria worked got engrossed in Baby T’'s death while fofo was assisting with investigations surrounding Baby T’s death.

The conditions surrounding Baby T’s mortality was naked through two core sources: Fofo and investigations by MUTE, the NGO.

How Baby T died
Kpakpo helped Onko to associate with Baby T once again. Poison sooner or later 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 vehemently refused to sleep with him. She recollected, "I beg your pardon"? Onko did to her in the elapsed and completely declined to have a lie-down with him.

Enraged or hopping mad 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 thereafterIn

In Faceless, the Protagonist, Main or Central character is Baby T and the heroine is Fofo

Major Characters: Fofo, Kabria, Maa Tsuru, Kpakpo, Baby T, Dina, Adade, Kwei.

Minor Characters: Macho, Poison, Maami Broni, Mama Abidjan, Sylv Po, Aggie, Vickie, Odarley, Obea, Essie, Ottu, Ms. Kamame.

Themes in Faceless
We can talk of the following themes which are evident in the novel:

Abandonment, Life in the Ghetto, Child Prostitution, Environmental Decadence, Discrimination, Rape, Irresponsibility, Poverty, violence,
Parental Neglect, Child Abuse, Survival, Immorality, Superstition, Generational gap, etc

1. CHILD ABUSE: This is a crime of harming a child, physically, sexually or emotionally. The first instance of child abuse in the novel is Poison's attempt to rape Fofo. Fofo, a fourteen-year old girl, decides to sleep in an open shade at Agbogbloshie Market in order to wake up early for her job of washing carrots.

Poison tries to rape her there. Another manifestation of child abuse is what Nii Kpakpo and Onko did to Baby T. Nii Kpakpo fondles Baby T's private parts while Onko rapes her. When Fofo catches her stepfather fondling Baby T, she confides in Onko. Onko takes advantage of what Nii Kpakpo does to Baby and rapes the girl.

To cap it all, child abuse lays the foundation for the tragedy in the novel. It is child abuse that lays the foundation for the death of Baby T. As we can see, the rape of Baby T by Onko makes her mother to send her to Mama Abidjan; from Mama Abidjan to another madam, Maami Broni.

It is in Maami Broni's hand that Baby T becomes a prostitute. Baby T falls into the wicked hands of Poison who becomes her pimp. Baby T's child abuse ends in death. When Baby refuses to sleep with Onko, Poison becomes furious. Baby finally dies from the merciless beating she receives from Poison.

Also, child abuse makes Poison become a bully and an aggressive person. Through flashback, we are told that Poison used to live in one room with his stepfather, mother and five siblings. Poison suffers torture in his stepfather's hands; the man is constantly beating him.

When the torture becomes unbearable for Poison, he runs away from home at eight years. He becomes a street boy, surviving in the street. He grows up to become a street lord and villain. Hence, child abuse  has been dominant in the novel, Faceless.

2. POVERTY: Poverty is the state of being poor. Poverty is portrayed in the novel using Maa Tsuru. Maa Tsuru and her children suffered from poverty. This poverty is as a result of the abandonment she suffers from her two successive husbands.Through flashback, we get to know how Maa Tsuru's first husband, Kwei, abandons her after fathering four children with her.

He runs away because he superstitiously believes that Maa Tsuru's generational curse is responsible for his woes. Another man, Nii Kpakpo deceives her, comes into her life, fathers two children with her and abandons her. Besides, we see Maa Tsuru's poverty level in the accommodation she lives in.

We see that when Nii Kpakpo deceives her, she brings him into her one room. Therefore, Maa Tsuru, her six children and Nii Kpakpo are now overcrowded in one room. The inconvenience of this overcrowding makes Maa Tsuru's two teen sons to leave home; to survive in the street. It equally makes Baby T and Fofo to leave home as well.

Moreover, it's poverty that makes other children to see the street as a means of survival. In the novel, we see them in Sodom and Gomorrah; others run errands at Agbogbloshie; etc. Those children are there because of poverty.

In conclusion, poverty plays significant role in the development of the novel. For instance, it is poverty that makes people live in the slum of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is also poverty that leads to the suffering of Fofo and her siblings. It is this poverty that leads to Baby T's death as well.

3.GENERATIONALGAP: Generational gap is the difference in attitude or behaviour between younger and older people; such difference causes misunderstanding between them. Generational gap exists between Kabria and her children.

Kabria represents the older generation while her children represent the younger generation. For instance, in Kabria's time, sex is not discussed among children. The parents see that as a taboo.

However, Kabria is surprised to see her first daughter, Obea, with a pamphlet discussing sex education. This generational gap is also seen in the entertainment industry. Kabria's children are surprised because their mother does not know about Lord Kenya, the King of hip life.

In Kabria's time, they know about Rolling Stones, The Beetles, etc. Moreover, Naa Yomo, through attitude towards the street child phenomenon, shows generational gap. She explains that in her time, parents don't send children to the street; they try to feed and take care of them no matter how they are poor.

In conclusion, generational gap plays a significant role in the development of the novel. It brings about contrast between those characters concerned.

4. ABANDONMENT: Abandonment is an act of leaving somebody with no intention of returning to them. We see abandonment first in the novel when Maa Tsuru's father abandons her mother. Maa Tsuru's mother suffers gestation and parturition alone.

Before she dies, she curses Maa Tsuru's generations. Besides, we see Maa Tsuru's own abandonment. Her two successive husbands (Kwei and Nii Kpakpo) abandon her. The two men superstitiously believe that Maa Tsuru is under a curse. Moreover, fathers and mothers abandon their children in the novel.

Those children are forced to survive on the streets. For instance, after Kwei abandons her, Maa Tsuru's four children join the street as a means of survival from hunger. Her two boys first left, she has to send Baby  T into prostitution; Fofo leaves when the home is no longer safe for her with her stepfather, Nii Kpakpo, around.

In conclusion, abandonment lays the foundation of the tragedy in the novel. It is the abandonment of Maa Tsuru's mother by her father that brings about the curse; Maa Tsuru's mother curses her father's generations.

Hence the curse follows her. It is this curse that leads to Maa Tsuru's marital misfortunes. Hence her children take to the street. Baby T dies in the street., Fofo suffers psychological defeat in the street; and the whereabouts of the two boys are unknown.

5. SUPERSTITION: Superstitions are shared irrational beliefs that govern people. Those beliefs are not verifiable by science or universal truth. The people use them to explain some occurrences. In the novel, people believe that the time of a person's birth can influence their behavior. Hence, Kabria thinks that Essie is extravagant because she is born at midnight.

To nullify this  jinx, such children have to undergo a ritual of touching their feet three times for three days after their birth. Essie, Kabria's second child, was born at midnight but Kabria ignores the superstition. However, as Essie begins to grow up with her unceasing demand of money, Kabria begins to think that the superstition is connected to this. Also, the people believe that people can suffer out of generational curse.

In the novel, everybody believes that Maa Tsuru's misfortunes are as a result of a curse which her late mother places on her father's generation. Through Naa Yomo, we get to know that MaaTsuru's father impregnated her mother and abandons her; during labour this woman curses the man's generation and dies after giving birth to Maa Tsuru.

Besides, the people superstitiously believe that when persons don't die natural death, they are rejected by both God and the devil. As they don't have money to bribe their way into God's kingdom or the devil's, their spirits continue to hover among the living. Some people express this view in the wake of Baby T's death. Also, during Onko's suicide, his senior apprentice expresses the same view. In conclusion, superstitious beliefs play significant role in the development of the plot.

For instance, everybody believes that Maa Tsuru is suffering because of the generational curse which her late mother has placed on her father's generation. It is superstition that leads to Baby's tragic death. This is because Onko believes his economic woe  is as a result of his incest with a cursed child, Baby T. His attempt to appease the gods leads to Poison who beats Baby T mercilessly thereby killing her.

To conclude, the above themes are in line with function of literature as a mirror of society. The novelist captures those themes to reflect things happening in the society.

6. 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, Kpakpo masterminded Baby T’s venture into prostitution.

7. FAILED GOVERNMENT: 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.

8. THEME OF CHARITY: MUTE teaches the world the need to help not just the physically disabled, but the financially and security disabled. The security agencies failed to look into the circumstances surrounding Baby T’s death and MUTE dived into that.

When Poison went after Fofo’s life, MUTE gave her protection; seeing that she needs not just shelter and security, they trained her to fend for herself by taking her to a catering school. That alone is financial and academic empowerment.

The following themes can also be developed using the points below them:

1. Streetism:

- deplorable conditions and violence against street children, particularly vulnerable girls like Baby T and Fofo

- the horrible effects of street life on boys such as Poison and Macho

2. Discrimination against women e.g. experiences of  Maa Tsuru, Kabria etc.

3. Parental neglect and brutality (culprits include Kwei, Fofo and Baby T’s father and Poison’s father)

4. Failed governance or moribund state institutions eg. The police.

5.  A diseased society:

- dysfunctional families,irresponsible adults like Kpakpo and Onko

- child trafficking and prostitution rings

6. Domestic violence

- as suffered by Maa Tsuru in the hands of Kwei (beating)

- as suffered by Poison in the hands of his father (beating )

- as suffered by Baby T in the hands of Kpakpo and Onko (rape and defilement).

- As suffered by Baby T in the hands of Poison (beating)

The author’s narration is straightforward.  As the story revolves around Baby T, the author manipulates it to create suspense in the mind of the readers. 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.

The diction of the prose is simple and quite understandable. Any layman can grasp the line of the story without much stress.

Humor: this technique in a way creates a comic relief and is evident in the actions of Kabria:

- description of how her son Obea grows rapidly

- the conversation she overheard between two women on her way to Naa Yomo’s house

- Her experience of the blind woman that rained abuses on her.
This technique was used when the fifteen years life experience of Maa Tsuru was narrated and when Naa Yomo told a story of her life up to when Maa Tsuru was born.


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