Write short notes on the role/character of any three of the following: Maa Tsuru; Fofo; Baby T; Kabria; Poison; Naa Yomo; Maami Broni; Kpakpo; Onko; Kwei.
Tsuru plays a predominant role in the unfolding of the plot of this story. She is the mother of Fofo, Baby F and others. She is the direct victim of an ancestral curse. Hence she is trailed by a curse she never had anything to do with. Her mother was impregnated by an irresponsible man and abandoned to suffer the anguish and agony of rejection. While dying in her labour pains, she had cursed the irresponsible father of her unborn child and “all his descendants”, inadvertently cursing her unborn child. The curse is net reversed so, Maa Tsuru becomes that prime beneficiary.
Kwei impregnates Maa Tsuru and to avoid public outrage, manages to show face according to tradition. Again, Maa Tsuru is abandoned to ford for her kids. She cannot give her children decent meals and this compels the children to venture into the streets. When she hears that Kwei is living with another woman, she confronts the woman with gigantic breasts. When Kwei is told of this, Mao Tsuru is mercilessly beaten. In her new loneliness, she gives in to Kpakpo who begins to sleep with her with all her children aware.
Maa Tsuru is unreliable, unfaithful and fickle-minded and takes advantage of her abandonment to sleep around. She has no control over her emotions nor her children. She blames her relationship with Kpakpo as a result of her emotional hurt and loneliness. Thus she does not mind the presence of her children when she sleeps with Kpakpo.
Notwithstanding, Maa Tsuru is loving and caring. She cooks and sends food to Kwei even after visible signs of her rejection. Perhaps, she is also driven by the same love and care to accept to sleep with Kpakpo in her home. She has a forgiving heart. Each time Kwei comes with promises of better days, she yields easily and is impregnated. Maa Tsuru’s encounters with men like Kwei, Poison, Kpakpo cannot be described as palatable because in each case, she ends up in frustration.
Indeed, she is pushed by the frustrating circumstances around her to contemplate suicide. However, Naa Yomo saves the situation and convinces her to open up to Fofo, her daughter and her companion from MUTE.
Fofo is the leading character in the story. She is the daughter of Maa Tsuru. Her sister is Baby T. Fofo is forced by parental poverty and abandonment to go into child prostitution. Though young in age, her life experiences justify the saying that age is but a number. Fofo can be examined/seen from different dimensions, based on her role at a particular time.
She is a victim of abandonment. Being abandoned early in life by an uncaring and irresponsible father she begins her life in the street so as to survive. Her friend is Odarley. She is introduced to alcohol and drugs and under the influence of these, she does unimaginable things. Fofo is a child prostitute and hawks sex with her friend Odarley in other to raise money to pay their boss and have something to eat. She is a victim of attempted rape. Fofo is a pickpocket. She once steals Kabria’s wallet and narrowly escapes death. She however discloses the remote cause of her action, to draw the government’s attention to the absurd life of street children. Thus, she acts as a freedom fighter and a social crusader. She assists Kabria and her organization to expose the killers of Baby T, her sister.
Fofo, the once-innocent fourteen-year-old girl has become an adult because of her circumstance. She confronts her mother, Maa Tsuru and asserts her authority, forcing her mother to swallow her guilt. What Fofo has done in the market with Kabria draws the attention of the government through MUTE, an all-female Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that is “dedicated to helping to dig out the many buried voices of the dispossessed”.
Fofo is frank. She admits her shortcomings with courage, tells what she has done or not. She assists Kabria and Dina in their quest to eradicate street children. She is loving, caring and feels for others.
This is one of the leading female characters in the story. Kabria is a mother, wife, worker and a bathed car owner. She owns a 1975 VW Beetle nicknamed “Creamy”. She is to mother of three, namely, Obea, Essie and Ottu, her last child. Her husband is lade. Inspite of the pressure of domestic work, Kabria attends to her office work with due diligence and so does she service her car from one workshop to another, from Abeka to Zongo. Kabria works for MUTE, a non-governmental organization founded by Dina.
The nature of her job often requires going into the field to conduct research. Kabria’s job is often challenged due to the rickety nature of Creamy which disappoints her on the road, thus incurring derogatory remarks from other road users. Kabria is humble and loyal to Dina, her boss and very warm-hearted and friendly too. Apart from her domestic concerns, she often undertakes to buy things for Dina at Agbogbloshie market.
In one of those trips to the market, Fofo tries to steal her purse. Rather than join in beating or condemning the poor girl, she offers to assist her. Through their conversation, Kabria finds out the pains and hopelessness of street children. This begins the bold step taken by MUTE to end street life by children of poor parentage. Thus Kabria’s efforts help in this project of identifying, rehabilitating and resettling street children in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Everyone fears and respects Poison in the story, rightly or wrongly. Poison, the product of misery and squalor, leaves home at the age of eight to hit the streets. Living in a small house with his mother stepfather and five other siblings, life becomes unbearable. Being extremely shy and soft-spoken, Poison is covered with scars from series of lashes inflicted by his stepfather with his leather belt.
Running away from home, he lands in the streets to join had company. He begins to steal car-tape decks and with more successful robberies, he grows in confidence. Soon, he gained control of the streets and assumes a new title of “Lord of the streets”. The street children pay obeisance to him. He once lived with a girl, six years older than him. As an errand boy, he often takes warning threats to other girls on behalf of his supervisor girl. Through this, he makes a name in the streets and begins massive recruitment of girls to work for him.
He is feared and respected by the girls, Maami Broni, Kpakpo and others, He beats Baby T. to death and hates MUTE for exposing the girl’s case to the media. Poison is the terror of the streets in Sodom and Gomorrah,
Naa Yomo is the oldest member of the household at 87. She is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Naa Yomo loves her husband because he never allowed her children to stray into the streets. She is blessed with eleven children out of which five died, leaving six surviving children who are well taken care of. The old woman is described as something of a goldmine who can provide a “ton of information leaving them to rummage through it for the occasional gem buried in the pile of rubbish”. She frown is promptly at the attitude of young ones who lack appropriate respect for the elderly.
As the oldest member of Maa Tsuru’s extended family, she knows so much about the lives of members of her household.They have comfortable residence and her late husband was capable of taking good care of the family. Naa Yomo’s stories include her grandfather, one of the lucky men from Gold Coast to shake hands with Sir Gorden Guggisberg. She tells of the genesis of Maa Tsuru to open up to MUTE for her daughter’s sake. Naa Yomo is cautious, rational and respected.
She is a minor character in the story, inspite of her evil role. The woman is responsible, to a great extent to the tragedy that befalls Baby T. Maami Broni works for Poison. She works as an intermediary between Mama hidjan and the notorious Poison. As Kpakpo contacts Mama Abidjan to recruit Baby T., it is Maami Broni who takes the responsibility to send the girl to Poison and in return, she sends regular envelopes to Kpakpo.
Maami Broni is morally debased and decadent. For succumbing to social pressure to engage in the recruitment of young girls for prostitution shows that she is morally bankrupt. Again, knowing how dangerous Poison is, Maami Broni must be evil to send someone else’s daughter to work for Poison. Maami Broni like Mama Abidjan is an old graduate of Ivory Coast Red Light District and a retired prostitute who is now out of fashion in the business. But she is an expert in her job, teaching Baby T. and others how to use the devil’s weed. Maami Broni witnesses the brutal killing of Baby T and slaughters two fowls to avert the spirit of Baby T.
Kpakpo is a dubious character. He dupes people in many ways. Kpakpo always takes advantage of people’s kindness or trust to dupe them. After the disappearance of Kwei, Maa Tsuru’s unfortunate husband, Kpakpo steps into his shoes to continue from where Kwei stopped. He is jobless and depends on Maa Tsuru for food. Most times, he returns late from town, completely drunk of “Akpeteshie”. Kpakpo usually collects money from people, claiming he is a landlord. Often, he insists on sharing the small accommodation with the prospective tenant after receiving payment.
Kpakpo, apart from sleeping and impregnating Maa Tsuru, he still takes her daughter; Baby T. Kpakpo takes Baby T to Mama Abidjan for employment and in return receives fat envelope every month. Kpakpo is a betrayer, a dupe, a drunkard and a cheat. He is untrustworthy.
He is a very minor character but performs significant roles. He is relatively well to do, living in a decent house with television. This attracts children of the neighborhood who come in at will to watch television. Onko is seen as a kind man, a generous and understanding man. He is a welder and makes good money. Onko lures Baby T. into his room to buy something, he locks the door and pushes Baby T. to his bed and rapes her. He still insists that she should not speak out because he knows what her stepfather Kpakpo did to her -Baby T. He shows his wicked side when he visits a juju man to reverse the curse which is said to be trailing him as a result of mixing his blood with Baby T.
Onko seeks the help of Poison to get Baby T. to meet him. The juju man has told Onko to bring Baby T’s pubic hair. As Baby T. rebuffs Poison, she is killed and Onko takes advantage of her helplessness to shave her hairs from her private part, armpit and head. Thus, Onko represents the good, the bad and the ugly.
She is a very young and innocent child driven by parental lack to go into street life. Baby T. is one the daughters of Maa Tsuru and a sister Fofo. She is a victim of street violence. Abandoned by parental lock, Baby T. is subjected to child prostitution so as to survive. Kpukpo sexually assaults her at-id sends her to Mama Abidjan to be employed (as a prostitute) while he receives fat envelopes from the girl’s misery. Baby T refuses to obey Poison to go to Onko, she is beaten to death and her body is dumped behind a Kiosk at Agbogbloshie market.
Not much is known about Kwei. His mother bemoans her plight as her son, Kwei is about to inherit the curse trailing Maa Tsuru. Kwei is not employed. He impregnates Maa Tsuru and abandons her to her fate. To avoid public condemnation, he sends a bottle of local gin and gathers few family members to do the traditional showing of the face. He has a sweet tongue and can always have his way back when he wants to impregnate Maa Tsuru. Kwei leaves Maa Tsuru and takes on a woman with breasts bigger than two oversized watermelons. He can be brutal. He beats up Maa Tsuru mercilessly for challenging his second wife.