“One had said, ‘You say you come from Ghaanna? Then we have a lot in common!’ Sissie didn’t know what to do with the statement, uncertain of whether it was a threat or a promise.
‘We had chiefs like you,’ the Scot went on, ‘who fought one another and all, while the Invader marched in.’ Sissie thanked her, but also felt strongly that their kinship had better end right there.”
― Ama Ata Aidoo,
Why We Love Her: Mama Ama is a pan-African feminist and the mother of Ghanaian literature. Her work has paved the way for women writers all over the continent. Her first play, The Dilemma of A Ghost was published in 1966, making her the first published African woman dramatist at the young age of 25. Readers were scandalised by her first novel, Our Sister Killjoy (1977), for its depiction of a lesbian relationship. Since then, she has never been afraid to write honestly and with nuance about the most sensitive of topics like the effects of the slave trade, rape, the pressures of motherhood and love.
During her lifetime, she has been the Minister of Education, the subject of a fascinating democracy about her life, The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo (2014) and the winner of the 1992 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Africa) for Changes: A Love Story (1993). Mama Ama continues to write and runs the Mbaasem Foundation, which she founded to support the development and sustainability of African women writers and their artistic output.
“Love? Love? Love is not safe, my lady silk, love is dangerous. It is deceitfully sweet like wine from a fresh palm tree at dawn. Love is fine for singing about and love songs are good to listen to, sometimes even to dance to. But when we need to count on human strength, and when we have to count pennies for food for our stomachs and clothes for our backs, love is nothing. Ah my lady, the last man any woman should think of marrying is the man she loves.”
― Ama Ata Aidoo,