Finding Meaning In Your Favourite Text

1617 words - 7 pages

My favourite text is a play titled “Anowa” by Ama Ataa Aidoo which was published in year 1969. This book was first given to me by my father on my twelfth birthday. Although I was disappointed initially because I was expecting something “girly” on my birthday, I liked it when I read it because of the moral lessons it portrayed and the language used in the play. However, I got a deeper understanding of the test after I did a post-colonial and a feminist analysis on the text. In my post-colonial analysis, I saw that in a sense Anowa represents the beauty of the formal African society which was destroyed as a result of colonialism. A feminist analysis on the other hand shows that Anowa is a ...view middle of the document...

Anowa was described in the beginning of the play as independent until she married Kofi and lost her independence to him, thus the beginning of her colonization. This situation is metaphorical to an event in the history of Ghana which marked the beginning of formal colonialism which is the signing of the Bond of 1844 “by the lords of our house” (Anowa, p.26). In the third phase, Anowa is sent to the big house built by Kofi in Oguaa (traditional name for Cape Coast) where she practically lived like one of Kofi’s slaves. “She walks up and down bare-footed talking to herself and looks like a beggar rather than the Mistress of the house. The name “Big House” and its location as well as how Anowa saw herself in there, symbolizes the slave castle that was built by the whites in Cape Coast where they kept the slaves they bought from the traditional rulers.
Her bareness on the other hand is emblematic to the loss of Africa’s fertility due to colonisation. In her dream (Anowa, p71-72), Anowa is seen as a pregnant woman who gives birth to men and women who are being taken away and destroyed by lobsters. In an attempt to interpret her dream, we can see that the pregnant Anowa represents Africa as a whole and the children she delivers are the people of Africa. Looking at the physical description of the lobsters and how they took the woman’s children to destroy them, we can also see that the lobsters represent the Europeans who colonized Africa. Anowa’s dream leads us to the meaning why she is barren. Anowa isn’t barren because she is unable to conceive but, rather, because her children having been taking away from her. As allegory, Anowa’s bareness could be interpreted as how slave trade has stolen all her children, the children of Africa by transacting it to other parts of the world.
Another concept under post colonialism that can be seen from the study of Anowa is Mimicry. Mimicry refers to the means by which the colonized adapt the culture (language, education, clothing, etc.) of the colonizer (Key Terms in Post-Colonial Theory, n.d.). Kofi Ako is a character whom the old man described as “one among us that have found a common sauce-bowl in which they play a game of dipping with the stranger” (p24). Right from the beginning of the play, we can see Kofi mimicking the white man’s way of proposing to a woman. He proposed directly to Anowa instead of allowing his parents do that. As he began trading with the white men, he embraced and incorporated the practices of the colonial communities. For instance he traded in skin, with a multitude of slaves who worked for him just like how the whites did, his room was also decorated like the British style of room decoration and as if that was not enough, he again hung a picture of himself next to a picture of Queen Victoria. Kofi virtually adopted the ways of the foreigners and after all the mimicry, the old man in the end said that Kofi was, is, and shall always be one of us” (p25). This teaches me that, no matter how...


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