Bite-size Review: No Sweetness Here | Ama Ata Aidoo

AFRIKULT.’S OVERALL RATING: 

No Sweetness Here | Ama Ata Aidoo

And there really isn’t! In this collection of eleven short stories, Aidoo explores a newly independent Ghana during its season of nominal “progress” and “freedom” to reveal through her characters’ conversations the true depth of national divide. Within social conversations (community chatter and clandestine dialogues) Aidoo creates a rhythmic uproar of witty, pious, condemning, bewildering, cunning and entertaining voices throughout each story. This is what makes No Sweetness Here an enthralling read. Her sharp and incisive examination of social experiences within postcolonial Ghana. Aidoo surgically unpicks social and political transformations in post colonial society by casting light on government officials with their expensive cars, rural villagers using trotro transportation, young ambitious graduates found jobless and old house helps gossiping about their new black ‘massas’. Everyone at every level feels the surge of change and this change exacerbates the socioeconomic divide among the school-educated and the “un-educated”. Aidoo casts her net to all Ghanaians, including those in the diaspora, and explores issues of social class, treatment of girls/women/motherhood, tradition versus modernisation, and, of course, fiscal/power/sexual politics.

My favourite story is ‘Two Sisters’: both sisters are educated, individually minded, differ entirely in character, and yet fall into the snare of proving to be dispensable to the men they are in romantic relationships with. Another real treat is the afterword essay by Ketu – sensually provoking.

(Recommend Feminist Press afterword by Ketu H. Katrak 1995 edition)

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