Analysis of “Faceless” by Amma Darko | summary of faceless chapter 1 | summary of faceless chapter 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Analysis of “Faceless” Amma Darko was born in Koforidua, Ghana, and grew up in Accra. She studied in Kumasi, where she received her diploma in 1980. She is one of the most significant contemporary Ghanaian literary writers. She is the author of the following novels: Faceless (2003), The Housemaid (1999), Beyond the Horizon (1995) and Not Without Flowers (2007). Analysis of “Faceless”
THE PLOT of Analysis of “Faceless” by Amma Darko
The story is an investigation of the death of Baby T, a child prostitute whose body is found dumped behind a Rasta Hairdressing Kiosk Salon, naked, beaten and mutilated. The details about Baby Ts death are revealed through her younger sister Fofo, herself a street child, who comes into contact with a group of women that runs documentation NGO called MUTE.
Baby T is the third child of Maa Tsuru, born after a brutal beating intended to fulfil the ambition of an abortion because the father, Kwei, believes that Maa Tsuru is too fertile. Kwei disappears after fathering Fofo, leaving Maa Tsuru to fend for herself and her four children. The family manages alone with the two elder sons bringing home money from fish-related activities, until Maa Tsuru takes a lover into her bed in the person of Kpakpo, who earns his keep by dubious means.
The first consequence of the new lover is that Maa Tsurus two boys, unable to stand the new nightly sounds of the shared bedroom, pack their bags and disappear. This leaves Baby T at the mercy of Kpakpo, who sexually abuses her. Hurt and confused, she confides in a family friend, Onko, who brutally rapes her. Maa Tsuru, a tragic figure destroyed by the men in her life, is unable to do anything but take money from Onko, who then continues to live in the same compound as Baby T. Clearly, the situation is unbearable and Kpakpo has the solution. Baby T can be sent away to a distant relative of his who is actually a madam: in reality, Baby T is sold into prostitution. Later, Baby T is beaten to death by Poison, the street lord, for refusing to sleep with Onko who, at the recommendation of a native doctor, has come to get a strand of hair from Baby Ts pubic hair to salvage his wobbling business.
When Maa Tsuru tells Fofo that Baby Ts mutilated body has been found at Agbogbloshie, Fofo sets out to find justice for her sisters murder. She runs into Kabria who works for MUTE. Kabria takes an interest in Fofos case and determines to find out what led to Baby Ts death. With the help of Sylv Po, the reporter from Harvest FM, and the women that work at MUTE, they work their way into a syndicate, led by Poison the street lord that trades in child prostitution, drugs and is linked to all manner of street crimes.
CHAPTER BY CHAPTER SUMMARY OF Analysis of “Faceless” by Amma Darko
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 1
The chapter one of Analysis of “Faceless” portrays clearly the street life phenomenon. Fofo, a girl of fourteen, lives on the streets at Agbogboshie market with other kids who are forced to leave home as a result of poverty, hardship, and sheer irresponsibility of their parents to take good care of them. These children have dreams; one of them puts it this way: My dream is to be able to go home one day to visit my mother and see a look of joy on her face at the sight of me.
Poison, the fierce looking street lord, tries to rape Fofo while she is sleeping comfortably on an old cupboard laid out in front of a provision store at the Agbogbloshie Market. She kicks poison in the groins and bolts. She meets her friend, Odarley, to discuss the issue. When she could not understand the situation (why poison tried to rape her), she decides to see her mother since she has some connection with poison.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 2
This chapter introduces us to Kabria, a middle-aged woman, who works with MUTE, a non-governmental organisation that is basically into documentation and information gathering on the neglected class of the society―women and children. She loves her job, but she is not very comfortable with the chicken feed she gets every other month as salary. She is a mother of three. Her husband, Adade, is an architect. She has a 1975 VW Beetle nicknamed Creamy, handed down to her by her husband. Kabria is facing a lot of challenges; her children are growing fast, and adolescence comes with a lot of challenges. She is training her children almost single-handedly with her husband contributing little or nothing. He even adds to her discomfort. The last but not the least is Creamy, the 1975 VW Beetle. The car has seen all kinds of weathers. It gives a lot of trouble to register its displeasure at being in perpetual service to her mistress.
SUMMARY OF Analysis of “Faceless” CHAPTER 3
Chapter three shades light on the mother of Baby T and Fofo, Maa Tsuru. She is overwhelmed by the way things have turned out. Fofo has visited her house not more than twice in a year, though she lives in Sodom and Gomorrah some few kilometers away. Fofo hates seeing her mother because she finds it difficult to understand how a loving mother could allow her children to live on the streets. She blames her mother for dumping her in the world.
On arrival to her house, Fofo discovers that her step father, Kpakpo has left her mother after molesting Baby T, Fofos sister. She blames her mother for allowing him to go after the sacrifices she made for him.
Maa Tsuru advises her daughter, Fofo, to go somewhere faraway where Poison can never find her. Fofo presses to know why she should leave. Her mother discloses that a body has been found behind a blue Rasta Hairdressing Kiosk Salon at Agbogbloshie, and that body is Baby Ts. Now, Poison is threatening to replace Baby T with Fofo should he be made angry. Baby T, before her death, was staying with Maami Broni, a madam who is under the protection and supervision of poison.
SUMMARY OF Analysis of “Faceless” CHAPTER 4
This chapter reveals the typical day of Kabria. The trouble getting her children to prepare for school, the trouble with her husband, Adade, not helping out, and the public embarrassment caused by Creamys incessant disappointments: these feature prominently in her normal day. After preparing and dropping her children off to school with the epileptic help of Creamy, she usually reports late at work and never misses the ridicule of her colleagues. MUTE is building a documentary project on mentally ill pregnant women.
SUMMARY OF Analysis of “Faceless” CHAPTER 5
Kabria goes to the market from her workplace. At the market, her attention is drawn to the back of the Kiosk where Baby Ts body is dumped. While trying to absorb the scene, Fofo, disguised as aboy, secretly steals her purse. A woman raises alarm and Fofo is caught and people start to beat her. Kabria comes to fofos rescue claiming to know who she is. She even pays a ransom to the most passionate beater. At Kabrias car, away from the angry mob, Fofo tells Kabria that the dead body is her sister (Baby T). When Kabria could not fully understand Fofos story, she leaves Fofo with a promise to come back for her the next day at the same spot.
At MUTE, the four workers; Dina, Vickie, Aggie and Kabria could not clearly understand the circumstances surrounding the dead body and Fofos claim and demand for justice. Earlier, someone has called Harvest FM, on Sylv Pos Good Morning Ghana (GMG) show to volunteer information on the dead body. The person has claimed that the name of the dead girl is Fati who came from the North. This situation is a pretty kettle of fish for MUTE and the four workers are battle ready to unravel the mystery behind the situation.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 6
Kabria reflects on the present generation. She could not understand how fast things have changed. She battles with the issue of sex education for her first daughter, Obea. Earlier, she has caught her daughter with a PPAG pamphlet on sex education and this for her signifies that it is hightime she started educating her daughter on the issue of sex. So her day begins with work and ends with work, but her husband, Adade, thinks otherwise. He thinks he works the most when all he does after work in the evening is to hang out with friends, read papers, and be served dinner.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 7
Kabria goes back to Agbogbloshie market to meet fofo. She decides to go into the hairdressing salon behind which the dead body of Baby T is dumped, when she could not find fofo at their meeting point. The shop owners senior apprentice gives Kabria an idea of a plot to cover up the circumstances behind Baby Ts death.
On coming back to the place where she parked her car, Kabria finds Fofo all beaten up. Fofo is a bit incoherent and too fearful to respond to Kabrias questions about what happened to her. Kabria takes her to MUTE office to be taken good care of. She is later taken to a clinic for proper medical care. Fofo stays with Dina, the head of MUTE, and she tries to rehabilitate her.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 8
Kabria finally musters the courage to discuss sex issue with her daughter, Obea. Mother and daughter engage in a heart to heart conversation and worries are laid to rest. Soon the other children join in the conversation and they roll from one topic to the other while majoring on the issue of street child phenomenon. Before bedtime, Kabria calls Dina to find out how Fofo is doing.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 9
MUTE women, in their meeting, decide to visit the police and Fofos mother, Maa Tsuru, to get more information on the dead body. Kabria and Vickie are assigned to do the job.
The first thing that greets Kabria and Vickie when they get to the police station is the dilapidated state of its structures. The walls are cracked, paints peeled, and equipment outdated. The inspector is too busy with his numbers on a lotto newspaper that he fails to notice when Kabria and Vickie come into his office. At the end of their discussion, however, Kabria and Vickie discover that the police could be of no help. The police need help more than them. It is a fruitless journey.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 10
Maa Tsuru has locked herself up with her two younger children. She refuses to let anyone in, so Kabria and Vickie could not meet her face to face. Meanwhile, Naa Yomo, the oldest member of the household engages them in a conversation. She takes them back to Maa Tsurus past on how she became a cursed woman. Maa Tsurus mother got pregnant out of wedlock, before her puberty rite which is considered a taboo. The young man who got her pregnant denied her. So Maa Tsurus mothers anger at her lover who jilted her turned to hatred. She placed a curse on him and his descendants of which Maa Tsuru is the first. She died while giving birth to Maa Tsuru as she placed her final curse which no one was able to make her undo.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 11
The women of MUTE try to sieve through Naa Yomos revelations about Maa Tsurus past. Meanwhile, Fofo is recuperating well in Dinas house, but still not saying much. But after some gentle persuasion and reassurance, she agrees to talk to Kabria.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 12
Fofo talks to Kabria about how she ended up on the streets. She didnt just get up one day and decided to live on the streets. She started by going out to beg when she dropped out of school in class two; there was no money for uniforms and exercise books. Her father left them a long time ago, so they lacked money and food. Fofo says: “When there is no food, you dont wait to be asked by anyone to go out and beg. Hunger is a foe and it isoverpowering. When it pushes you, you go.”
Fofo learnt the art of pickpocketing from her sister Baby T. They were living this way until Baby T was sexually abused by Kpakpo, her step-father, and Onko, a co-tenant. Baby T was sent away to Maami Broni to cover the shame. So in a bid not to be treated like Baby T, Fofo decided to leave home. She didnt like what Maa Tsuru did to Baby T.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 13
Baby Ts story captures the interest of Sylv Po of Harvest FM. In one of his Good Morning Ghana (GMG) programmes, he invites Ms. Kamame for an interview on streetchild phenomenon. Ms. Kamame attributes the cause of streetchild phenomenon to absentee fathers, ignorance, distorted beliefs and perceptions and sheer irresponsibility and misplaced priorities. In her own words: “an absentee father is not only the father who refuses to acknowledge or take responsibility for his child, but also the father with a narrow perception of fatherhood, who sees his role as fulfilled so long as he has paid the school fees, placed food on the table and put clothes on the childs back.
Unknown to Sylv Po and Ms. Kamame, their discussion is beginning to unsettle the people who killed Baby T. An unknown caller starts to disturb their line and when he gets through, he claims that the body found at Agbogbloshie is a girl named fati who died as a result of infidelity. We will later find out that it is poison who is calling to conceal the identity of Baby T.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 14
Chapter fourteen draws attention to the genesis of Maa Tsurus predicament. It all begins when Kwei, an unemployed mason being fed by his mother, gets her pregnant. Kweis mother is not in support of the relationship. She hates Maa Tsuru. Seeing her as a cursed woman, she does not want her son to have anything to do with her.
Kwei goes away in search of a better work with promises of a better life to Maa Tsuru and her baby. Unfortunately, he comes back with nothing. His relationship with Maa Tsuru continues despite several warnings from both families. Maa Tsuru gets pregnant again. This time, Kwei decides to become more responsible in the discharge of his fatherly duties.
Maa Tsurus third pregnancy is the straw that broke the camels back. Kwei becomes irritated with Maa Tsuru, blaiming her for being too fertile. He beats the daylight out of Maa Tsuru with the sole intention of aborting the baby but fails. He leaves home, abandoning Maa Tsuru with the pregnancy.
Kwei comes back after Maa Tsuru has given birth to her third baby (Baby T), the first two are boys. He is looking decent and transformed. Before long, Maa Tsuru falls for his charms and gets pregnant yet again. Kwei leaves her for good―with four little children to cater for. The children start running errands for neighbours for leftovers.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 15
This chapter is about Maa Tsuru’s second love affair. Maa Tsuru has been without a man since Kwei abandoned her and her children. One afternoon, while returning from a house where she has gone to collect dirty clothes for washing, Kpakpo succeeds in getting her attention. Maa Tsuru readily takes him into her house when he expresses his wish to sleep and wake up with her. As a result of this new development, Maa Tsurus sons leave home; they can no longer tolerate the nightly moanings coming from Maa Tsuru and her lovers corner of the one partitioned room.
Maa Tsuru gets pregnant for Kpakpo. One night, while she is away at a midwifes as a result of a little complication, Kpakpo takes advantage of baby T and abuses her sexually. Baby T confides in Onko, the man they look up to as their new father. Onko takes advantage of Baby Ts vulnerability and rapes her forcefully.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 16
Onko bribes Maa Tsuru into keeping quiet about his sexual abuse of Baby T. He claims that Kpakpo started it all by abusing Baby T first. Next, he shifts the responsibility of his disgraceful act to the work of the devil, thereby portraying himself as blameless.
After a while, Onko begins to eye Baby T once again. Maa Tsuru notices this situation and confronts Onko. He claims that he loves Baby T. Now Maa Tsuru must do something fast. She, acting on the advice of Kpakpo, sends Baby T to Maami Broni, a Madam. Infact, Baby T is sold into prostitution with monetary returns coming to Maa Tsuru from time to time. Actually, the returns never get to Maa Tsuru. Kpakpo intercepts them.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 17
Aggie and Vickie from MUTE are dispatched to the mortuary. They want to obtain information on Baby Ts post-mortem results. The results reveal that Baby T died from a fatal head injury. There are distinct traces of inner hand prints on her right cheek as well.
Meanwhile, Kabria pays Maa Tsuru a visit. She could not meet her, for she still locks herself up. Before she leaves, she lets Naa Yomo know of her genuine intention to talk with Maa Tsuru alongside Fofo. She wants to know the whole story.
After Kabrias departure, Naa Yomo, who never leaves her position, understanding the genuineness of Kabrias intention to speak with Maa Tsuru, knocks on Maa Tsurus door. When she finally opens the door, Naa Yomo persuades her to stop locking herself up. She advises her to give audience to Kabria the next time she comes visiting.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 18
Kabria, Sylv Po and Fofo meet Maa Tsuru. Fofo maintains a distance from her mother and refuses to embrace her. Maa Tsuru recounts her tale of woes starting from when she was born and the love affair she had with Kwei and Kpakpo that destroyed her life. Fofo blames her for all the troubles they are passing through.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 19
Something is gnawing at Kabria, but she cannot say what. It dawns on her, later, that both Baby T and Fofo had handprints on their right cheeks. It then means that the person who maltreated them must be a left-hander. She wonders if poison is left-handed. If he is, then he must be the one who killed Baby T and manhandled Fofo.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 20
A mail service man delivers a shit parcel to MUTE from an unknown person. We shall later discover that poison is the one who sent the parcel. He wants to tell MUTE to stay off the murder case of Baby T.
About the same time, Sylv Po of Harvest FM receives an anonymous call on his GMG radio programme. Actually, the caller is Maami Broni. She claims that it is Baby Ts body that is dumped behind the Rasta Hairdressing kiosk Salon at Agbogbloshie.
SUMMARY OF “Faceless” by Amma Darko CHAPTER 21
This chapter reveals poisons past. Poison ran away from home at the age of eight to esape his fathers abuse. His father was practically a tyrant who never allowed poison and his mother a breathing space. He used his belt on both poison and his mother.
On the streets, poison landed in a bad company and began to steal. When he got tired of stealing, he became a pimp working for a girl six years his senior in an inner city brothel. At the age of fifteen, he began his own entrepreneurial venture (brothel business). After a while, he became the Lord of the street, never missing any opportunity to maltreat any recalcitrant follower.
Kabria and Sylv Po meet poison. He is so fierce looking that Kabria could not help trembling. Every evidence points to poison as the killer of Baby T, but he denies all allegations. He says that his innocence can be confirmed by Maami Broni.
SUMMARY OF “Faceless” by Amma Darko CHAPTER 22
The visit to Maami Broni is unsuccessful. She has disappeared because she is afraid of poison after revealing that the mutilated body found behind the Rasta Hairdressing Kiosk Salon is Baby Ts.
A rehabilitation organization has shown interest to take Fofo into its custody. The organization is going to rehabilitate her and teach her some skills in dressmaking, hairdressing, catering or beadsmaking. Fofo loves catering.
Odarley, Fofos friend, visits her at MUTE. She brings her the news of Onkos death. Onkos furniture business started going down after what he did to Baby T. He sought the services of a Jujuman to turn round the misfortune of his business to no avail. He committed suicide afterwards.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 23
Sylv Po and Vickie visit the jujuman that Onko visited before he committed suicide. The jujuman affirms that Onko visited him to salvage his failing business. He told Onko that a sacrifice was needed for the cleansing of his blood that was tainted by the cursed blood of Baby T. The Jujuman asked Onko to bring, among other things, a strand of baby Ts public hair.
Maami Broni visited the same Jujuman. She required a fowl to appease Baby Ts spirit which was haunting her. She slaughtered the fowl where Baby Ts body was dumped behind the blue Rasta Hairdressing Kiosk Salon at Agbogbloshie.
SUMMARY OF “Faceless” by Amma Darko CHAPTER 24
This chapter explains Maami Bronis background and her relationship with Baby T. Maami Broni, a middle-aged woman and a graduate of the notorious Ivory Coasts red light district, occupies a six-room compound house brothel. She is a professional in her trade though men still prefer younger girls to older and experienced women.
Baby T was in the custody of Maami Broni when she died. Maami Broni may not have accepted to take Baby T into her custody, considering her age, had she known Baby Ts circumstances. She was told that Baby T was already giving herself to men freely. Maami Broni discovered she was deceived when Baby T cried so much after her first assignment. She introduced her to drugs and carrying out her duty with several men became bearable to the lttle girl.
SUMMARY OF “Faceless” by Amma Darko CHAPTER 25
This chapter explains the death of Baby T. Onko, plotting to get a strand of Baby Ts pubic hair, ran into Kpakpo and got him drunk so he could convince Kpakpo to take him to poison. As an alternative to taking Onko to poison, Kpakpo introduced him to Mama Abidjan, a madam, who can be bribed into taking him to poison.
Mama Abidjan introduced Onko to poison as a client. After collecting a lot of money from Onko, Poison took him to Baby T. The sight of Onko repulsed Baby T; she could not stand the sight of a man who raped and destroyed her life. She refused to have anything to do with him in defiance of Poisons threats to punish her severely. Poison administered several slaps on her right cheek, causing her to fall down and hit her head against the concrete floor. Onko was having his way with her when he discovered that Baby T had given up the ghost.
THEMES OF FACELESS
Discrimination against women: Baby T and Maa Tsuru are symbolically representative of the sins visited upon all women in a society where from birth women are discriminated against and made responsible not only for their sins, but for those of men in society. In the story, nothing goes right when men are involved and many of the male characters in the novel are murderers, child abusers, rapists, or simply good for nothing. Those not presented in this light are trapped in their distorted perceptions of women as caregivers and housewives, such as Kabrias husband, Adade, who expects her to be waiting at the door to take his briefcase when he returns from work. Despite the fact that Kabria works a long day, she is still expected to manage the household, cook, and take care of the children.
Maa Tsuru who is abandoned penniless by her husband as a result of a curse (being fertile) is a victim of dehumanisation. Her unfortunate predicament is made worse by superstition, poverty and illiteracy. Her daughter, Baby T is raped by Kpakpo and later murdered by Poison.
Darko, cleverly, depicts these evils perpetrated against women in our society. She urges us, especially men, to search their conscience and have a change of mind in the way they see the role of women in the family and in the society at large.
Street child phenomenon: The novel, Faceless, demonstrates the personal and social tragedy of each and every child that ends up on the streets. As one of the characters puts it in quoting assassinated US president John F. Kennedy, The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.
Baby T and her siblings end up on the streets as a result of their parents irresponsility. This parental failure exposes them to the streets where the fittest survive. They become prostitutes, petty robbers and heavy drinkers to survive on the street. Later, Baby T is murdered by Poison, the street lord. Amma Darko seems to be asking what hope there is if societies can allow the conditions that result in the fate of Baby T, Fofo and other street children in Ghana and other African countries. Children who are victims of abuse grow up to become abusers themselves, as is the case of poison who is shown to be a victim through his own abuse as a child, but who now no longer suffered the pain, he inflicted it.
Darko succeeds in hammering home a powerful message that children and the way they are treated are the true measures of how societies are judged.
Leadership failure: Proverbs 29:2 states, When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. In Faceless, it is evident that there is total neglect of duty, either by omission or commission, on the part of government of the day. There is a total neglect of social institutions that see to the day to day running of the society. The police station that Kabria visited with her colleague was in a state of dilapidation. There was no vehicle, no good filing system and the building itself is about to collapse. The police are charged with the sole responsibility of maintaining law and order, but an ill-equipped police will surely come short of this responsibility. Anarchy rules when there is a breakdown in law and order. This is the reason why people like Poison will continue to reign and cause havoc in the society.
The role of the media and NGOs in championing social courses: In Faceless, the role of the media and non-governmental organisations in the propagation and sustenance of peace and crime free society is highly underscored. The role of these agencies is critical. They shoulder a huge responsibility that should be jealously guarded for the good of the society. The people rely on the media for information, and a well-informed society is a progressive society. In the novel, Sylv Po of Harvest FM represents the picture of the work of the media. Sylv Po is both active and intelligent. He develops interest in Fofos case and uses his radio programme to fight against crime in the society.
Kabria, on her own part with her organization, did a wonderful job. MUTE is a veritable NGO with the special task of information documentation on social problems such as demented pregnant women, street child issue, etc. MUTE picks interest in Fofos case and together with Sylv Po of Harvest FM, the mystery behind the death of Baby T is unraveled.
Darko seems to be saying that the responsibility of maintaining a peaceful environment should not be left to the government alone. The media, NGOs, private institutions, and individuals all have a role to play in the maintenance of order and crime free society.
SETTING OF “Faceless” by Amma Darko
The story of Faceless is set in one of the most hostile parts of Accra, called Sodom and Gomorrah, named after the biblical city that God destroyed because of its numerous sins. Although the author uses unreal names, she narrates what can possibly be described as real-life events at venues that really exist. Agbogbloshie, Makola market, Abossey-Okai Abeka, korle-Bu and the all-notorious Sodom and Gomorrah can really be found in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.
Style/Language: The novel is divided in into three unequal partsbook one being the biggest. The story is narrated with the eye of God point of view. This is why the pronouns such as: he, she, they, it, his, her, etc., are predominant. The story is quite conversational as characters can be seen in face to face interactions.
The writing is brilliant with simple, easy to understand Ghanaian English, interspersed with the vernacular, giving the reader a feel of Ghanaian culture and what makes her tick. The narrative style is straightforward, drawing the audience in, building tension as the author takes us through dizzying moment of intrigue and suspense to reveal the hidden truth behind the murder of Baby T.
Monologue: This is a long speech made by a character in a story especially when he or she is alone. This device is amply used by Amma Darko to portray the frustrations of Kabria caused by Creamy, the 1975 VW Beetle handed down to her by her husband, Adade. Creamy is an old, rickety car that has seen all kinds of weathers and need to be changed. It frustrates and embarrasses Kabria that she is seen on several occasions talking to it. One time, the car stops in a traffic and Kabria begs it not to disappoint her.
Flashback: This is a device used to recall past events during current events to help us understand the present. We get to know about Maa Tsurus past through a flashback provided by Naa Yomo. We equally get to know Poisons past through flashback. With this we understand what makes Maa Tsuru and Poison behave the way they do. We even sympathise with them, knowing that they are victims of circumstances.
Anticlimax: This is the arrangement of the events of a story so that they appear in descending order. The story of Faceless begins with the death of Baby T followed by the gradual unfolding of other events that cause her death. So the story starts from where it should end.
Baby T: Baby T is the third child of Maa Tsuru. She is sexually abused by her mothers live-in lover, Kpakpo. Confused and betrayed, she confides in a family friend and co-tenant, Onko, who takes advantage of her trust and rapes her. At the advice of Kpakpo Baby T is sent out to Maami Broni through Mama Abidjan to become a comfort woman. She is murdered by poison when she refuses to sleep with Onko who is plotting to get a strand of her pubic hair for the cleansing of his contaminated blood. Baby Ts body is dumped behind a blue Rasta Hairdressing kiosk Salon. The discovery of her dead body triggers Fofo to seek justice for her.
Maa Tsuru: Maa Tsurus mother is betrayed by the young man who impregnated her. She rained curses on him and all his descendants as life drains out of her in giving birth to the baby who will later be known as Maa Tsuru. Maa Tsuru grows up labeled as a cursed person. People distance themselves from her in her family house, where she also resides. After having two sons and two daughters with Kwei, he abandons them. Her two sons leave as soon as they are able to fend for themselves, thereby escaping the nightly moans coming from Maa Tsuru and her new live-in lover.
A new man worms his way into Maa Tsurus bed and connives with Mama Abidjan who promises to find work for Baby T through her questionable recruitment agency in exchange for periodic payments to feed Maa Tsurus new family. Maa Tsuru gives birth to two more children, bringing the number of her children to six and forcing Fofo to leave home. Maa Tsurus life is full of sorrows and regrets; she represents a typical African woman who is made miserable by the men she allowed into her life.
Kabria: Kabria is the backbone of her family. She multitasks as a mother, wife and social worker. Kabrias husband, Adade, an architect, contents himself with his work, joining co-workers to drinking spots to release tension and returning home for dinner. Their constant argument about Creamy, Kabrias stubborn hand-me-down VW Beetle, does not get in the way of a stable marriage because kabria handles the situation discreetly. Kabrias children; Obea, Essie and Ottu are all in school. Each childs character is a force to reckon with, but Kabria takes care of their needs almost single-handedly. Kabria plays a crucial role in the unravelling of the mystery behind the murder of Baby T. She takes an interest in Fofos case and manages to get her organization, MUTE, to delve into it. Kabria is Fofos foil character as her family life presents a sharp contrast to Fofos and her street companions.
Fofo: Fofo is the fourth child of Maa Tsuru. She leaves home when she can no longer put up with her mothers excesses. She sets out to find justice for her sisters murder when she gets to know that Baby Ts mutilated body has been found at Agbogbloshie. In a twist of fate, she runs into Kabria who works with a non-governmental organisation named MUTE which functions as an interventionist and alternative library for every social, gender and child issues. MUTE takes an interest in Fofos case and determines to find out what led to Baby Ts death. With the help of Sylv Po, the reporter from Harvest FM, they work their way into a syndicate led by Poison, the street lord that trades in child prostitution, drugs and all manner of street crimes.
Poison: Poison was an innocent boy who ran away from home to escape the constant abuse of a drunken stepfather. He got himself caught up in a bad company. He ended up as a messenger in a brothel while working his way up by bullying, raping and murdering and is now known as Poison, the street lord―a clear case of a victim turned into a victimiser. He is the one that killed Baby T and ordered for her body to be dumped behind the Rasta Hairdressing Kiosk Salon at Agbogbloshie.
Kwei: Kwei is an unemployed mason who still lives with his mother when he should be on his own fending for himself. His relationship with Maa Tsuru is not accepted by his mother as she sees her as a cursed woman. Kwei does not listen to his mother; rather, he gets Maa Tsuru pregnant. He leaves for a greener pasture, leaving promises of a better life when he returns, and so is not around when his first child is born. However, he comes back with tales of woe and disappointment. He gets Maa Tsuru pregnant the second time and abandons her. He comes back after the birth of his second boy empty-handed, but looking like a changed man. Somehow, he manages to warm himself back into the arms of Maa Tsuru. He impregnates her yet again, but this time he becomes fed up with Maa Tsurus fecundity. He gives her the beating of her life with the sole purpose of aborting the baby, but fails. The baby is named Baby T even in the absence of her father. Kwei comes back the third time, lures Maa Tsuru into his arms, gets her pregnant and disappears for good, leaving Maa Tsuru with four children to cater for. Kwei represents the theme of parental irresponsibility.
Kpakpo: Kpakpo is another character that exemplifies the theme of parental irresponsibility. He is small in stature, but full of fraud and deceit. He makes a living by tricking people; he copllects rents from them without providing accommodation. Because of this, he is always trying to hide from his creditors.
Kpakpo takes advantage of Maa Tsuru promising her love and warming his way into her bed, and bearing two sons with her. He becomes a leech on Maa Tsuru, sucking her and her children dry. He is the first to molest Baby T one night when Maa Tsuru is away as a result of pregnancy complication. He is the one that suggested sending Baby T away to Maami Broni to cover up the shameful thing he did to Baby T. Kpakpo later abandoned Maa Tsuru with their two sons.
Onko: Onko lives in the same compound with Maa Tsuru, Naa Yomo and other tenants. Everyone in the compound sees Onko as a kind man, especially the children who usually cluster around him. After Baby T is molested by the live-in lover of her mother, she confides in Onko, but he takes advantage of her and rapes her. Onko is confronted by Maa Tsuru, but knowing that she needs money more than any other thing, he offers her a sum of money she could not reject, pretending that he is sorry. However, Onko continues to eye Baby T. This new situation is too much for Maa Tsuru to take, so she decides to take the advice of Kpakpo to send Baby T away.
After the raping of Baby T, Onkos furniture business begins to crumble. His customers begin to leave him until his business finally collapses. He seeks help from a native doctor and amongst the things he is asked to bring is a strand of Baby Ts pubic hair. He finds his way to Maami Broni through Kpakpo and pays Poison a huge sum of money to sleep with Baby T. Rmembering how Onko destroyed her life, Baby T refuses to sleep with him. It is while Poison is beating Baby T into submission that he murdered her. Onko commits suicide afterwards.
Sylv Po: He is a radio presenter that works with Harvest FM. He anchors a programme named Good Morning Ghana (GMG) which he uses to educate people on the social problems of the society. He works in collaboration with many agencies to fight against child abuse and other social ills. He is interested in the story of Baby T, and together with MUTE, he traces the murder of Baby T to Poison, the street lord.