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Ama Ata Aidoo

Ama Ata Aidoo333
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Abeadzi Kyiakor, GH
Date of Death:

Ama Ata Aidoo (originally Christina Ama Aidoo) was born on March 23 1942 in Abeadzi Kyiakor, South Central Ghana. She grew up in the Fanti royal household. Her father, an advocate of Western education, sent her to the Wesley Girl's High School on Cape Coast from 1961 to 1964.

In 1964, she enrolled at the University of Ghana in Legon, where she received a Bachelor's Degree in English. During her time there, she put on her first play, The Dilemma of a Ghost (1965).

The play is about a Ghanaian man, Ato, who returns home from the United States with an African-American wife. He has not consulted his family about the marriage, and the conflict between the two cultures is played out through the characters' interactions. The man himself is torn between his Ghanaian past and his acquired American ideals.

The tension between the communal and traditional Ghanaian value system and the individualistic American culture is further played out in the confrontations between Ato's mother and his American wife. At the end of the play, mother and wife reconcile, and thus the dilemma of the title is solved.

Her second play, Anowa (1970), is more masterful. It is an adaptation of a traditional Ghanaian folktale. Anowa, the heroine, rejects all suitors provided by her parents and marries for love instead. Her husband, Kofi Ako, proves to have a weak moral character.

He responds to her criticism of his decision to keep slaves by treating her cruelly and amassing even more slaves. The parallels between the slaves and wives are developed, and eventually, Anowa realizes that she is truly alone, having rejected her family and her husband, and unable to bear a child.

The play ends with Kofi's attempts to banish her and assail her character being thwarted, although her victory is Pyrrhic. She publicly asserts that he is impotent. Kofi Ako commits suicide, unable to bear the shame of having his reputation destroyed. Anowa also kills herself, as she is unable to find meaning in her barren and lonely existence.

Aidoo has written fiction, much of which deals with the tension between Western and African worldviews, and the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed. Some critics have complained about her repeated attacks on the West. She is also a poet and has authored several children's books.

  • The Dilemma of a Ghost. Harlow, UK: Longman, 1965.
  • Anowa. Harlow, UK: Longman, 1970.
  • No Sweetness Here: A Collection of Short Stories. Harlow, UK: Longman, 1970.
  • Birds and Other Poems. Harare, Zimbabwe: College Press, 1988.
  • The girl who can and other stories. Legon, Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 1997.