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Aidoo, Ama Ata


Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


Ghanaian writer Ama Ata Aidoo (née Christina Ata Aidoo, b. 1942) is perhaps one of the most well-known African woman writers in the world. Her multi-genre career has spanned half a century, and has included drama, poetry, novels, and short fiction, as well as numerous foundational essays on the topic of African literature and feminism. She is known for not shying away from taboo subjects in continental literature, including polygamy, African participation in chattel slavery, queer sexuality, birth control, marital rape, and childlessness. Her early writing career began while at the University of Ghana in Legon, where she studied with legendary playwright Efua Sutherland. Here Aidoo wrote and staged her first play, The Dilemma of a Ghost , in 1964. Centered around a Western-educated Ghanaian man who has returned to his family's rural village with his African American wife, the play engages the history of African involvement in the slave trade as well as the gendered “dilemmas” of postcolonial life, including the tension between modernity and tradition, reproductive and marriage rights, one-dimensional representations of Africa in the global media, and questions of development. Her subsequent play, Anowa (1970), delves even further into the history of African slavery and its relationship to marriage rights and gender roles. Set in late nineteenth-century Ghana, this formally experimental ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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