Here is a simplified, direct-to-the-point summary of the relevant details in the novel, Faceless, by the Ghanaian writer, Amma Darko.
AMMA DARKO: FACELESS
Summary of the Text
The story begins with the protagonist, a street child called Fofo. Fofo earns her livelihood by washing vegetables and petty stealing. She befriends another street child, Odarley and together they brace themselves for the harsh realities of street life in Accra, precisely a god-forsaken slum called Sodom and Gomorrah.
After surviving a rape attempt by Poison, another street child, Fofo is hit with the news of the brutal murder of her elder sister, Baby T whose body is found dumped behind a kiosk in the Agbogbloshie market. It is this tragic loss that leads Fofo to embark on a search for justice and vengeance for her slain sister, Baby T.
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With the interference and hard work of MUTE, an NGO, and Slys Po, a reporter with Harvest FM radio the sorry conditions of the street children are uncovered and the harrowing details of the fate of such children are laid bare.
The perpetrators are exposed and the causes of streetism discovered. Fofo is given a second chance to learn a trade and to live a better life so that her dream of a dignified life is actualized.
2 Significant incidents in the novel, Faceless
- ATTEMPTED RAPE OF FOFO
The novel opens with 14 – year – old Fofo sleeping on an old cardboard at the Agbogbloshie market in Accra. Except for her new job of washing carrots at the vegetable market at Agbogbloshie, her life in Sodom and Gomorrah, a slum close to the market consists mainly of watching adult movies and taking alcohol.
In her sleep, Fofo dreams of living in a home where she will be loved, with a roof over her head and a decent toilet – a dream shared by other street children like her.
Fofo is suddenly woken up by Poison, a street lord who attempts to rape her. She resists him and runs to Odarley, her best friend who lives in a rented wooden shack. She tells Odarley about Poison’s attempt to rape her and her intention to see her mother, Maa Tsuru, who, she believes has some connections with Poison.
Maa Tsuru informs Fofo that her elder sister, Baby T is dead and Poison has threatened her into silence over the death. She, therefore, urges Fofo to leave for her safety.
2. KABRIA’S ENCOUNTER WITH FOFO
Kabria’s life and the condition of her family are in sharp contrast to the life of the street children of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Kabria is a mother of three lively children: Obea, Essie and Ottu. She lives with her elusive and demanding husband and their children in a decent neighbourhood in Accra, works with MUTE, an all-female NGO, and drives a problematic car nicknamed Creamy.
Kabria accidentally meets Fofo at the Agbogbloshie market while shopping for vegetables. Kabria is standing with other spectators at the spot where Baby T’s body was found when Fofo, disguising herself as a boy, tries to steal her purse.
Kabria rescues Fofo from the hands of an angry mob. Fofo then reveals her true female identity and tells Kabria that Baby T was her sister.
Meanwhile, the perpetrators of the crime have cleverly made many people believe that the dead girl was a ‘kayaayo’ (a market porter from the northern, largely less developed, part of the country) in an apparent attempt to conceal the victim’s true identity so as to discourage any further inquiry into the matter.
Kabria’s NGO, MUTE, gets interested in Baby T’s matter and grants Fofo protection by taking her into temporary custody while they conduct investigations into the circumstances surrounding Baby T’s death.
The circumstances surrounding Baby T’s death are revealed through two main sources namely,
- Investigations by MUTE.
Baby T becomes a prostitute.
Baby T is the third child of Maa Tsuru and her runaway husband, Kwei, while Fofo is the fourth. Their jobless father abandoned them mainly as a result of the superstitious belief that Maa Tsuru has been cursed from birth.
Then Baby T is sexually abused by her mother’s second lover, Kpakpo and thereafter defiled by Onko, a generous uncle who lives in the same compound with them and in whom she tries to confide.
Through Kpakpo’s diabolical machinations, Baby T is literally sold to a prostitution ring consisting of Madam Abidjan, Maami Brooni and Poison, the street lord and ring-leader. She is made to work as a child prostitute in Maami Brooni’s brothel with her earnings sent to her mother, Maa Tsuru, who simply turns a blind eye.
Baby T is killed.
Kpakpo helps Onko to connect to Baby T once again. Poison eventually leads Kpakpo to Maami Brooni’s brothel where Baby T works as a prostitute.
Baby T remembers what Onko did to her in the past and totally declines to sleep with him. Enraged at her refusal, Poison slaps and tries to beat her into submission. Baby T is 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 commits suicide thereafter.