Faceless by Amma Darko

faceless

Faceless is the pathetic and gripping story of children plunged into the streets by poverty and parental neglect. Amma Darko in very graphic details presents mind-boggling sociological issues of child-neglect, child abuse, defilement of girls, gender, child-trafficking, child-labour, absent fathers, reproductive health risks, violence and failed governance through the grim experiences of street children.

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. In Accra, MUTE, a non-governmental organisation seeks to unravel the mysterious death of Baby T, a child prostitute whose battered body was found in a slum behind a rasta hair salon kiosk. MUTE’s encounter with Fofo, Baby T’s sister opens an investigative trail into the lives of neglected children. Where do street children come from? Why are they on the street? Who are their parents? These are some of the questions answered unequivocally in Faceless.

Firmly embedded in Faceless is the loud and clear message that parents should take responsibility for their children. More pronounced is the message that no child should be brought into the world without visible means of providing for him physically, financially, psychologically and emotionally. Amma Darko’s Faceless is a well-researched story and a really good read.

 

About the Author

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.

Study Guide

Plot

  • 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.

Themes:

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.

 

CHARACTERS

Fofo: 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: 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.

Kabria: 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: 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: 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: 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.

SETTING:

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.

NARRATIVE TECHNIQUE:

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.

LANGUAGE

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.

See also Lonely Days, Harvest of Corruption, Blood of a stranger.

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  1. Momoh MK Mustapha Reply

    tnx God for now

  2. uby gee Reply

    Pls I need the summaries for all the poems prescribed

    Thanks may God continue to increase you in knowledge(Amen)

  3. I k Reply

    I love every bit of the summary. This novel according to ur analysis seems interesting. Investing in it will do a lot of good. While I was summarizing, I was moved by fofo s plight, this is the real picture of African society. If I become the president of Nigeria I will enforce children’s right above all, no parents will bring forth more than three kid’s.any parent who contravenes , then the child automatically belongs to government.

  4. I k Reply

    I love every bit of the summary. This novel according to ur analysis seems interesting. Investing in it will do a lot of good. While I was summarizing, I was moved by fofo s plight, this is the real picture of African society. If I become the president of Nigeria I will enforce children’s right above all, no parents will bring forth more than three kid’s.

    • Dayo Okubule Reply

      Faceless is a very touching story. I think everyone should read it, our leaders inclusive. Thanks for the comment.

      • yusuff Reply

        i concur to this

  5. lamin keita Reply

    hello how

  6. Kim Mi De Reply

    I rili love dis book…it rili touching.. I wish I could read it over nd over nd over again…Tnx amma darko for writing such interesting novel.

  7. Toke Babs Reply

    Woah I really enjoy d summary of this Novel. u really did a great Job here. Nice one

  8. Aloy Reply

    Where can I find the book to buy?

    • Dayo Okubule Reply

      It’s available at bookstomydoor. It’s N1500. We will deliver to your doorstep.

  9. Aisha Reply

    Faceless is really a touching and interesting novel. Plz how can i understand poem

  10. chahul Reply

    Am teaching the Novel presently in Nigeria

  11. ibe chikwado Reply

    Wow this story is really intresting,i enjoyed it

  12. Taiwo Reply

    i love dis..#God bless u people.

  13. Gbadegesin Samson Reply

    wow! you are did a great job, I really love it may God continue blessing you.

  14. Olajide Oriowo oluwatunmise Reply

    woaww!!!! I love this

  15. Dah pweences Reply

    Lovely story we got dere..heart moving,captivating and nice work on the summary

  16. adio shegun Reply

    Wow love dis ,God bless u ma 4 dis summary

  17. Monique ihenewengwa Reply

    I realy love this novel,i wish everyone could read it.it is didactic

  18. Daddy's Queen Reply

    Nice one! This has really helped me a lot

  19. Splendee Reply

    Ma, in no iota of exaggeration, I have compared your sense of dedication with that of other people but yours is elucidated pellucidely. with this strategic analysis, I can challenge 65%/100 without going through the full context. more creases to your elbow Madam (wish I could be more than you)

    • Dayo Okubule Reply

      @Splendee. Thanks for the comment. I however strongly advise that you buy and read the text. This post is just a guide to aid your understanding.

  20. oyedeji tobi Reply

    this book has help me a lot and I think it is among the novel required for jamb right?

  21. olumide Reply

    love the summary

  22. Thomgold Reply

    This is lyk the best and touching book i’ve ever read. And your analysis jst makes it more understandable. GOD BLESS U MA

  23. success Reply

    waow i’ve read dis bk b4 jst dat dis summary is jst so amazing

  24. Tonia Reply

    Plz i nid the summary of al d poetry

  25. Ella micheal Reply

    is mmua i love it BRAVO!!!

  26. kone Fanlia Reply

    It was a pleasure for me when reading this novel.It is a novel that everyone must read.thanks to Amma.

  27. patience Reply

    your work is just amazing. #more grace and much more wisdom

  28. Israel Samuel Reply

    nice one inded.it pictured d whole novel including d attribute on our country

  29. Barr. Romeo Reply

    wel nice 1

  30. Tonia Reply

    Thanks @DayoOkubule & @Barr.Romeo for this

  31. PROTO Reply

    Thank u so much ur the best.if only o found dis site earlier but de good tin is I found it.pray for me my exam is on WEDNESDAY. LOVE U and once again tank u

  32. joefirst Reply

    Wow.. Thanks God bless you..

  33. Teddy Reply

    words aren’t enough to express how grateful I am to you.May God richly bless you for a work well done

  34. phenom Reply

    God bless u, we need more people like you.

  35. Adenuga Oluyemi Reply

    i need on the native son

  36. Adenuga Oluyemi Reply

    but i must say welldone.more grace to ur elbows

  37. David Reply

    Well done ma i really love the sumnmary. and it seems the novel is among the WAEC syllabus. GOD bless you

  38. EMMANUEL KWOFIE ATTOBRAH Reply

    EMMANUEL KWOFIE ATTOBRAH(I LIKE THESE THEMES OF FACELESS)
    Themes:
    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.

  39. Dayil Cletus Reply

    I love and like every bit of this this summary of this text. Thanks

  40. Olufayo Samuel Abayomi Reply

    Nice Great job!

  41. Sir Frank Reply

    I teach the text too in my school and pls I’ll like us to deliberate more on the other recommended SSCE texts via my email given dear… Thanks a bunch… You inspire us all.

    • Kabiru Idris Reply

      AFRICAN PROSE:
      1. faceless by amma Darko
      2.lonely days by Bayo Adebowale
      NON AFRICAN PROSE
      1.Native son by Richard wright
      2.The last Goodman by patience swift
      AFRICAN DRAMA:
      1. harvest of corruption by Frank ogodo ogeche
      2. The blood of a stranger by Dele Charley
      NON AFRICAN DRAMA:
      1. she stoops to conquer by Oliver goldsmith
      2. A raising in the sun by Lorraine Hansberry

      • Cyriacus Reply

        Wow!
        Isn’t Othello among them?

  42. berry gold Reply

    a very lively,interesting and educating novel…… love it!!!

  43. Yohann sunday Reply

    That was gud for my plan to read literature in uni

  44. Yohann sunday Reply

    That’s exited

  45. Ellameyi grace claire Reply

    pls dayo what is the different between MOOD and TONE with some examples

  46. Esau Jackson Reply

    Touching story! faceless discloses a morally corrupt society not only in Ghana but the world at large

  47. priscilla sowah Reply

    i love this novel:faceless but i sometimes find it difficult to write it’s essay.can u pls help me?

  48. Vanessa Eba kwatih Reply

    Hello!Thanks very much for this mavellous analysis
    Infact it is really understandable to the extemt that even the “bigginner”of the English Language can understand.Thanks once again

  49. Owoade Deborah Diamond Reply

    i really love everything about this novel.
    i am a student and i love reading novels that gives me more enlightment about life.

  50. ADULOJU ABAYOMI Reply

    Although i’ve read d book but I find it more understanding and clear reading your analysis and I pray that the lord continues to increase your knowledge so that you can be more helpful .

  51. freeman elizabeth Reply

    faceless is a very touching heart story.. thanks to the author

  52. M. Tom Reply

    pls can hlp us with de analysis and summary of she stoops to conquer

  53. I love the writing techniques of the writer (amma darko), she is the woman of reality to reveal all Mersives writing of the dull African people.

  54. I love literature because of the grammar why because my name is linguistic from dept of english/social studies, college of education yola, from suzuwa mubi north area. The popular marghi man (best material) for feature use.

  55. Christian Reply

    Good and intreasting creativites of work. It is nice and impresive litrary work.

  56. Habeeb Reply

    nice elaboration, good work…..

  57. Drex Austine Reply

    what an interesting novel. Thanks to you Amma Darko, nice one

  58. Drex Austine Reply

    what a heart touching story. Thanks to you, Amma Darko. God bless you!!!

  59. comfort p. Gray Reply

    well done ma.

  60. Timothy danjuma (timbetso) mubi,adamawa state Reply

    For what reason poison wanted to rape fofo in novel

  61. Prince lumorvi Reply

    Please the streetism can you please give me instances to support it the novel please

  62. The herbs giving to baby t by poison is call what

  63. phebe medal Reply

    I really love this it is so lnteresting l wish amma kardo will write more

  64. george Reply

    any news about 2017/2018 novels

  65. Sunday Ochayi Reply

    This book is highly inspiring and it tells the west African story. It is a paradox for a failed society and a metaphor of a society that does not believe in the equality of the sexes. I recommend it to everybody.

  66. flora Reply

    The book Is so touching,the author really emphasizes about the ordeals of street children and one of the themes that I really think that should be added in the play is”Mans Inhumanity To Man”although the writer of this novel is one in a million and she is the best a writer in Africa 👍

  67. cephas Reply

    Wow things for that

  68. cephas Reply

    Wow thanks for that

  69. Beeba Reply

    Love ur analysis ma. but I have a question on the point of view used. is it third person and what type? if you could correspond with me on my e-mail.

  70. Faith Okafor Reply

    wow, the summary really helped me a lot especially now am reading it for my waec.. I say a very big thanks to Amma darko and Mrs Dayo.

  71. faridat damilola babatunde Reply

    I love this novel it teaches that children should not be neglected by their parent and other moral things

  72. adex Reply

    Nice one,it really helps.

  73. Kazeem Olanrewaju Reply

    Mrs Dayo more grease to your elbow ma, with your site have been able to comprehend the prescribed texts for JAMB, but you did not summarize “crossing the bar” by Alfred Tennyson

  74. Nwabueze Jennifer Reply

    Who killed babyT? Was it onko or poison ?

  75. oladele Reply

    Nwabueze jennifer …..poison killed baby t when she refused to be used once again by onko

  76. Ayodeji balogun Reply

    I am so happy to read this Amma Darko novel again thanks and thanks

  77. ayourbamy Reply

    this novel is very very interested u really do a great job well done

  78. Emmanuel K Saleh Reply

    Hi, My name is Emmanuel K Saleh, I appreciate you very much miss Amma
    Dark, for this great story. Probably it teaches many of African woman’s how to take care of their girl children at home. Also it teaches many of our girls who are coming up in life new. How to take care of their self.

  79. David Ackon Marcus Reply

    Wow…. I really love this masterpiece by Amma Darko. I must say I’m inspired and will do my best not to be an irresponsible parent.

  80. Chisos Reply

    What does it mean by the curtian of a house determines it economic value

  81. James Kabinua Doe Jr. Reply

    I love every bit of this story but I am in Liberia can u bring it to my door

  82. Stephen Ozuma Reply

    All the same, good work I commend you for that sympathetic write up. I wish this will send signal in consequent to reduction of the societal menaces.

  83. Abdulrazak Danladi Reply

    Its a nice book.

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