Anowa by Ama Ata Aidoo

In Facebook I posted the following link in connection to the play you are reading with Ceci in class: Anowa

Task 1:

-Find quotations in the play to support this article. Focus on postcolonialism.

Resultado de imagen para anowa ama ata aidoo analysis

Task 2:

-In the very beginning of the story, Badua makes a comment about her daughter Anowa getting married and having kids, that was very alarming to me. “A woman like her should bear children, many children, so she can afford to have one or two die,” (72).

Could this cultural norm of losing your children to death and therefore causing parents to be very protective be a reason why Badua is so insistent on Anowa marrying someone she approves of?

Task 3:

Comment on the significance of marriage in the African context.

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18 Responses to Anowa by Ama Ata Aidoo

  1. Task 2:
    I think it’s perfectly natural for parents to want to approve who their child will spend the rest of their life with and have children with. Badua is probably scared that if her daughter has all these children, that the husband she chose will disappear. Another possibility is that the husband leaves Anowa if they ever lose a child, and Badua knows this could be heartbreaking for her daughter. She is trying to save her the possible let down.
    Task 3:
    Marriage is taken very seriously in Africa, especially in the less developed parts, or parts where tribes are very much still a thing. The woman is seen as someone born, to grow old enough to get married, to then have children with their husband, and to take care of those kids until she dies. Nothing more and nothing less is expected. This is quite different from our western view on marriage… where many now think that women should do the same as men, meaning they should be able to work and generate an income for the family if they please.

  2. Lucia Roggero says:


    Postcolonialism is a a very present theme in Anowa. It can be seen when the Old woman who represents the old and traditional generation is talking about Anowa who represents the young and westernized generation:
    “Like all the beautiful maidens in the tales, she has refused to marry any of the sturdy men who have asked for her hand in marriage. No one knows what is wrong with her!”
    In this quote we can see a clash of cultures/ideas. On the one hand, the old woman cannot understand how a woman can refuse to marry and wait, and on the other hand Anowa cannot understand how marriage is something that is neccessary for her existence.
    Another showcase of postcolonialism is when Osam and Badua discuss about about slavery, in particular, Anowa’s point of view:
    “BADUA And if there is something wrong with their slaves, why don’t they sell them?
    OSAM That is not the problem. They say she just does not like the idea of buying men and women.”
    Again, the fact that Anowa has a more modern and western way of thinking, seems to be a problem for the Ghanian culture. They believe slavery is acceptable and established, while Anowa thinks it is morally incorrect.
    Finally postcolonialism peeks through the language being used. Even though the story is narrated in Englsih, the way in which they speak shows a direct translation from Ghanian to English: “Sought the protection of those that-came-from-beyond-the-horizon.” This exposes the fact that even after it was colonized, there still is some native ways of expression that remained.


    What caught my attention about Anowa and especifically this quotation was the lack of individualism in characters. It is as if each person and who they are is not important and the only thing other people can see about them is if they have traditional or modernized values/views. Badua says that by having a lot of children, loss can be beared because the children left can compensate those gone. Almost as if she had no REAL connection with them, as if being a mother/gradmother was only a title with instructions to follow but no individual attention/love had to be given to them.
    I believe that Badua, was not being protective because by loading all of the cultural norms and expectations she had, she ended up damaging Anowa, making her feel that suicide was the only choice. Obviously she wants what is best for her, but I believe that the true and ‘hidden’ reason why she wanted to approve the person marrying Anowa was because to Badua, Anowa is a reflection and extension of herself: her values, needs and wants. I believe the relationship she built was like and ownership, as if Anowa was HERS and all she could see what how she affected her life.


    Marriage in Africa reminds me of relationships between man and woman in the past of my own culture. In both of the cases marriage wasn’t a choice, in fact, it was a neccesity. If not people had to suffer the consecuences of not being respected and being condemned by soicety. Also, roles between women and men did not seem to be equal since men were given the authoritarian and more powerful role. They seem to be business deals, and the ultimate decision was given to the family (traditionally) not to the bride or groom-to-be. Building a family (through marriage and having kids) meant stability and achieving the ultimate goal in women’s life, while it gave the manhood and power to men.

  3. Task 2: Yes it could be. I believe that insisting on Anowa on finding a husband that is acceptable to her mother’s eyes and start raising children right away is only Badua’s way of protecting her daughter from loosing all of her children, which is something very possible and not uncommon in their culture. And finding a suitable husband that can mantain so many kids may be the only way she can avoid that fate.

    Task 3: It seems in Ghana at that time women had the desperate obligation of getting married and having children not far after going through puberty, and it was a rare thing when a woman disagreed with these traditions.

  4. Francisco Mosquera says:

    Task 2: I believe the social gaze makes Badua dependant on what other people think. This made her stick to traditions, so choosing who her daughter should marry is one of those. Also she might want to assure the future and economic stability of their grandchildren.

    Task 3: In Africa the marriage situation is much more different than ours, the parents of the women select the men she is going to marry. It seems much important for them as the women is told that her goal is to get married and form a family.

  5. Mara Ripoll says:

    Task 2

    Yes, I agree. Due to her culture, the reason why Badua is so protective and concerned about Anowa’s life is beacuse for them loosing children is apparently normal, and so she wants to make sure her daughter marries someone decent with whom she can start a family with and have many children. What I thought when reading the quotation is that it’s on Badua’s interest that her daughter does well in life, has someone by her side, has many children; and if something were to happen to her or her child, she’ll be okay, because she’ll have more children and a husband by her side. I believe Badua wants to see her daughter succeed and follow her steps.

    Task 3
    What I learnt from the play is that their idea of marriage is different from ours. Girls have to marry very young, six years after puberty, and have to marry a man that her parents approve or select for her. Married people, apparently, always have children. And another thing that shocked me was when Anowa while talking to her husband suggested he mary another woman, or that they should find another woman: “why don’t you marry another woman?… […] At least she could help us. I could find a good one too…”, she had a very open idea of marriage, which is clearly different from ours, but even different from her mom’s I believe.

  6. TASK 1
    TASK 2
    Yes I think that i na way it does influence Badua in insisting so much on marrying someone she approves of. Badua considers Anowa very capable of having many children, so she wants someone to support Anowa finantially and someone who can give Anowa many kids to have. Also with the conditions at that time it was very probable that Anowa would die giving birth to one of the kids, and then those kids would be left with the father, and that is a responsibility not many men can take, that is why I think Badue was so insistent, She was just being preventive, it was all a big “what if”
    TASK 3
    I think that marriage in the African context was seen as one of the most important things in life. It was seen as the first step of women to full fill their life duties. Women were supposed to get married to a wealthy man, have kids, take care of their kids and die and so the family legacy will continue for decades.

  7. Nicollas Monguzzi says:

    Task 2)
    In my opinion, Badua wants Anowa to marry a man that she chooses because she will choose a man that can give Anowa a lot of kids and that can take care of her and her kids economically. Also, the tradition in Ghana is that the parents arrange the marriage of their daughters so the mother may be angry because her daughter is not following the tradition and she will get married with someone she chose without asking anyone.
    Task 3)
    For African people, marriage is very important. People get married when they are very young and they are not able to choose whom they will marry, their parents choose. Normally, the woman marries with someone fertile so they have a lot of children and that has a lot of money so that they can have a good life.

  8. Luna Perez Muniz says:

    TASK 1:
    The article says that Ama Ata Aidoo shows the “effects slavery and capitalism have had on the Ghanaian people”. This is portrayed when Kofi Ako decides to buy and sell slaves and Anowa disagrees. Kofi Ako asks her “Anowa, who told you that buying men is wrong?”. Slavery at that time was seen as a business, it was common. Anyway, Anowa “deems it morally wrong”, as the article says.
    It is also said that “Aidoo portrays a sort of symbolic history of events which forces her audience to reflect on contemporary social issues”.
    Throughout the play, we can notice certain clashes. One is the generational conflict. Anowa clashes against her parents -mostly with her mother. The other is the marital one. Anowa clashes with Kofi Ako. Both are a consequence of Anowa’s rebellious and independent personality.
    One example of the generational clash is that her mother can not stand the fact that Anowa is so different and does not want to marry anyone (yet), and she is pannicked because she is old enough to have had children. “Any mother would be concerned if her daughter refused to get married six years after her puberty.”, Badua says. She also says “I want my child to be a human woman/marry a man/tend a farm…”. So she has different ideas of what being a human woman implies. At least different from Anowa’s who seems to have different ideas about everything.
    This would lead to the marital clash. Anowa disagrees with slavery and with medicine. “…I do not want us to be caught up in medicines or any of those things”, “We shall not buy men”.
    When a country with its culture, language, habits, religion. etc. takes control of another with its own culture, language, habits and religion, there is a clash. This clash of the post-colonialism of The Golden Cost is symbolized with the story of Anowa. So, yes, social issues take place, as well as different ideas of moral, etc.

    TASK 2:
    Maybe yes since it is her only daughter and she might want for her what she thinks is the best. Anyway, they are two different woman, from different generations. So they can not agree with everything. Badua should let her only daughter decide her own life. Besides, due to the fact that Badua insisted on what she thought was the best for her daughter, she ended up losing her.

    TASK 3:
    Marriage seems to be a very important issue in the African culture since everyone in this play and on the previous one was concerned about it. A woman can not be a woman if she is not married. It is a huge part of what being a woman means, some kind of a condition. The same happens with men. Men have to be married and have kids, if not, a part of his manhood is lost. As it happens in the play with Kofi Ako who can not bear children either.

  9. Flor Araya says:

    TASK 1: The article states that Ama Ata Aidoo appeals to oral literature, “through the means of which many societies passed on their histories from one generation to the next”. I saw this reflected on Phase Two of the novel when Osam says “For they often do not know the names of the founders of their houses… No, they do not know what to tell you if you asked them for just the names of their clans.”, which shows that, at least at one point, the passing on of their families’ histories to their children and grandchildren was significant.
    And the article also claims that the author deals with modern issues such as the effects slavery, which can be seen as well, mostly in Phase Two as it is a subject that Anowa and Kofi Ako argue about. For instance, “What is wrong with buying one or two people to help us? They are cheap… (…) Everyone does it… does not everyone do it?”, Kofi Ako asks this question since he believed they needed help to work, but his wife refused, she did not approve of slavery.

    TASK 2: I believe that partly yes because she most probably wants her grandchildren to have a father that she considers decent, but also I believe that the main reason she wants Anowa to marry someone that she approves of is as to look good in other people’s eyes.
    At the beginning of Phase One Badua asks Osam: “So it is nothing at a-a-l-l (…) to you that your child is not married and goes around wild, making everyone talk about her?”, which shows how Anowa’s mother cares about the gossip that goes around and what people are saying of her and her family.

    TASK 3: In the story marriage is portrayed as one of the central aspects of life, almost like a duty in life. Badua says “I want my child//To be a human woman//Marry a man,”, by saying this she is expressing that she views marriage as essential to be a “human woman”. Which is why marriage is mainly what the conflict of Phase One revolves around. Because Anowa has not married anyone yet and already six years have passed from her puberty, which also represents how women are supposed to get married quite young.

  10. Juan Lutowicz says:

    task 2: the culural norm in Ghana is the reason why Badua has to choose her daughter husband because she knows what is better for her and had to be a man with a good economic position so her daugther doesn’t lose anything

    task 3: the significance of marriege in Africa is different than in America because wedding are a family affair and involves the combining of ho lives, two families and sometimes even two communities. they have a purpose of perpetuating one`s linage so that the reason why they have many childrens.

  11. Juan Lutowicz says:

    Supporting quotes: “My lady Silk, remember that a man always gains in stature any way he chooses to associate with a woman- including adultery… but in her association with a man, a woman is always a danger of being diminished” “What was he able to make of the plntation of palm-trees his grandfather gave him? And the virgin land his uncles gave him, what did he do with that?”

    Task 2: In my opinion the cultural norm influence about Badau chossing the man whose daughter has to marry because she knows what the best situation for her. The husband needed to be fertile to have many kids and to have a good economic position

    Task 3: In africa the significance of marrige had the specific purpose of perpetutating once lineage so they have many childrens. The husband can have more than one wife and many ceremonies had an inter-family significance so that’s why parents had to choose the one to marry.

  12. Catalina Rela says:

    TASK 2:
    In my opinion, yes, this cultural norm influenced Badua on being so insistent on Anowa. Since woman when they gave birth usually died because of the poor medicines and bad conditions, kids were left to cope alone with their father. That is why, it was very important or women to marry someone her family approved.

    TASK 3:
    Marriage in the African society had a great importance. Women were not respected as they are now, they were seen as objects. The only thing women had to seek for in life was marriage. When they were married they had to give birth to kids. Marriage in Africa had totally different meaning than marriage in places like Argentina.

  13. Joaquin Venini says:

    Task 2

    I believe that it might be, but what i thought was more related to the context of the story. As many families in Africa live in bad conditions, many my lose children, that is why she “should” have some in case she loses one or two.

    Task 3

    I believe that marriage is one of the most important phases on the lives of Africans. It implies the start of a new life practiclly. The woman moves with his man, sees much less her family, plays another “role” and has to do new things in her day a day. Deciding with who to marry is deciding for them with who they will spend the rest of her life. Here, in our culture is pretty much the same but very different at the same time.

  14. Bautista Olaizola says:

    Task 2: Yes, I think that may be a reason why Badua is so insistent on Anowa marrying someone she aproves. In the African culture is very important for a woman to have children, they try to have as many children as they can. Badua is worried because Anowa should got marry many years ago and is worried she may not be fertile. To say “so she can afford to have one or two die,” is a way of showing how much kids she wants Anowa to have.
    Task 3: In the African culture the marriage is very important, it is bad seen for a woman not to get married. Also, the mothers look for guys that can marry their daughters and forced their daughters to be with them. Also, it is very important for the guys to have the aproval of the mother of the woman they love. It is not very important how much they love each other. The tradition is that a woman who passed the puberty, must get married and have many kids.

  15. Tomas Borda says:

    Task 1

    Task 2
    Yes, In my opinion Badua is a mother who wants the best for her daughter. Thats why this cultural norm they have in Ghana is consider at the first part of the story where Budau wants Anowa to marry a man who have money and support every difficulty her family suffer. But in the story we can see that Anowa does not consider this and wants to marry a man she loves.
    Task 3
    Marriage in the African context is different from our traditional point of view of such important thing on life. Here in America both women and man diced with who they want to marry, in the other hand in Africa the ones who diced who you are marrying are your parents, mostly your mother. Also an important point is the children the couple have because of the inheritance.

  16. Catu Grosso says:

    TASK 2
    My opinion on this quotation “A woman like her should bear children, many children, so she can afford to have one or two die,” is that the mother is worried and wants a good man and successful life to her only daughter and I think the fact that one or two sons could die was because Anowa was against using any type of medicine but they did not have medicine anyway and so some kids could die for lack of it. So only the stronger ones could achieve growing and living so, as it was not easy having kids they were protected and wanted her to have the best man in the town, not one whose reputation was being lazy.

    TASK 3
    The significance of marriage in Africa in that time is so different from the one we have nowadays, marriage was mostly everything. Women were expected to marry and have kids. So it was very important for them. Not only getting married but also with whom. If they had married someone who could support her and the kids the women had succeeded in life. Also, parents chose which whom they are marrying and it is important the approval of the family and social gaze, but Anowa did not respect or care of any of this things.

  17. Tomi Anania says:

    Task one: This are the qoutations that I choose to support the ideas given in the article.
    Badua said: “Anowa, shut up. Shut up! [….] Shut up because I never counted Kofi Ako among my sons-in-law. Anowa, why Kofi Ako?” and “[…] What was he able to make of the plntation of palm-trees his grandfather gave him? And the virgin land his uncles gave him, what did he do with that?”. This two quotations explain how angry Badua, Anowa’s mother, is in relation of Anowa choosing Kofi Ako as her husband because she thinks that he is not the kind of husband she will choose for her daughter.

    Task two: In my opinion Badua is so insistent on Anowa marrying someone she approves of because in the cultural context of Ghana, parents were the ones who usually choose the husband or wife for their sons. In this case we can see how Anowa reveals against her parents and choose the husband that she loves and wants instead of the many other that were proposed by her father and mother.

    Task three: The significance of marriage in the African context is very important at the time of analysing the play. The marriage in the African continent is very different than the marriage in the American continent. In Africa parents are the ones who choose the wife or husband for their sons or daughters, husbands are allowed to marry more than twice and also it is very important talking about the inheritance of the sons.

  18. Lucila Giambruni says:

    Task 2
    Yes. I agree that this cultural perspective or norm in Ghana is a reason why Anowa’s mother is very insistent on marrying someone she approves of. Badua believes her daughter should be with someone fertile, capable of having many kids so that, if one or two die, they will still have many others. Also, she wants Anowa to marry someone who is wealthy in order to mantain economically a big family. That’s why she is so overprotective and strict, and gets mad when Anowa tells her about her fiancee Kofi Ako, who she thinks is lazy and will not make a good husband.

    Task 3
    In Africa, the significance of marriage is quite different from here. As shown in the story, it is strange for a woman not to have married after 6 years after puberty. Badua, Anowa’s mom, is even worried about her daughter becoming a priestess as result of her not having married yet. It is also depicted how, the duty of finding a husband for a woman is not hers, is of her mother (not even father). Added to this, another important factor of marriage is the ability of conceiving a child. However, this is a problem for Anowa and Efi Kom who are unable to do so.

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