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RESISTANCE IN AMMA DARKO’S BEYOND THE HORIZON AND CHIKAUNIGWE’S ON BLACK SISTERS’ STREET

RESISTANCE IN AMMA DARKO’S BEYOND THE HORIZON AND CHIKAUNIGWE’S ON BLACK SISTERS’ STREET

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  Background of the study

According to Zak, 2007, a first written if uneven first novel by the Ghanaian author Darko, written with elegance, describes the slow but steady shift of her heroine from innocence to forced prostitution. Mara, a woman from a small village in Ghana, falls into a bad marriage arranged with Akobi – a man at best negligent and at worst (most of the time) manipulative, unfaithful, brutal and violent. Having known no other lover, however, Mara does not even know that her marriage is unusual. Then, when Akobi sells her most precious possessions, she becomes angry enough to leave him – but Akobi, always deceiving, comforts her and convinces her to support her dream of working in Europe. And Akobi goes to Germany. Not only that, but, to Mara’s amazement, he sends her searching. Mara’s unfounded faith in Akobi is once again broken, but when she realizes that he has brought her there to work as a prostitute in order to satisfy her own material and selfish desires. This perhaps too short novel – sometimes feeling too compressed – is framed by the current one, Mara softened, events being recounted again as Mara understood them at the time. His naive beginnings resemble comics, always with tragic results; But all in all, history has a dark circle of truth – even when every new abuse of Mara’s body and confidence leaves the reader wanting not to believe that any woman can endure so much. Eventually, the story begins to sink into the full predictability of the disaster. But as Mara gains strength and strength in the face of Akobi’s many abuses, a tension is created – an allusion to the vengeance that this woman may be capable of. Despite a not quite satisfactory end and persistent inconsistencies – in tone, in a mix of styles: a unique tale revealing in turn, breathtaking and bitterly comical (Zak, 2007).

On the other hand, the Nigerian-Belgian writer Chika Unigwe wrote the satirical inspired by the Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina’s piece “How to Write about Africa”, and which is also digitally available as “How to be an African,” albeit in revised form. In this column, Unigwe writes that before coming to Europe she had no clear idea of what it meant to be black, suggesting that she did not experience race to be the defining social identity in Nigeria. She goes on to describe with great irony what she has learned about blackness since living in Europe. “It was revealed in the literature that being black means that the person is perceived as a charity project. That she had to be grateful for the opportunity granted to her to be in Europe”. These lessons further include dressing in an authentically African way, always to be prepared for police control or to be able to dance. Stating that blackness has no connotation on its own, but is assigned meaning from the outside, Unigwe’s literature reminds us of the social construction of blackness (Adesokan, 2012).

However, the African sex workers in On Black Sisters’ Street become black in Belgium and how they negotiate a sense of self vis-à-vis the already pronounced social order. Deploying BecomingBlack in Seven Lessons as interpretative lens, an author, Adesokan argue more specifically that their self representations reveal the mediation of dominant historical images and Western symbolic meanings and their attempts to wrest control of the construction of their bodies away from the distorted visions of dominant culture. Although Unigwe’s situation as a black middle class author in the Flemish literary field can of course not be conflated with the position of the four Nigerian women working in the sex industry described in the book, parallels can be drawn between them, as Adesokan wish to contend, in the ways in which their agency is established in the performance of certain cultural configurations which have seized hegemonic hold. On Black Sisters Street tells the haunting story of four very different women who have left their African homeland for the riches of Europe—and who are thrown together by bad luck and big dreams into a sisterhood that will change their lives (Adesokan, 2012).

 

1.2       Statement of the problem

Amma Darko revealed that Ghanaian women have been oppressed and dominated by men. Women have been taught to be obedient to their husbands and respect their elders. They are told that a man could marry more than one woman (Manu, 1984; Oppong,1973; Nukunya, 1969).This position of the woman has become possible because of entrenched traditional practices such as early marriage and polygamy. In education, Ghanaian women have been socialised from birth to take up domestic roles in the society. Chika Unigwe shows the dilemma that many people in modern Africa face. The play writer has always worked in African society as the record of manners and experiences of her society and as the voice of vision in her own time. Writers like Chika Unigwe and others are part of their societies and therefore have a better explanation of what is going on around them as they function as the conscience of society. They are committed to restoring order in their communities, which have been engulfed in a myriad of socio-political and economic disorder.

 

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