Year of Publication: 1969
Anowa is about the second play I have read after reading the acclaimed ‘The God’s Are Not to Blame’. This suggests that I have not as much explored this genre as I have with novels. But that said, I am certain that Anowa has won my interest in the world of plays.
Anowa is a play set in the 19th Century about the same time when slavery was on the ascendancy. The play is divided into three phases thus Phase One, Phase two and Phase Three but there is a prologue that precedes these divisions.
Anowa is a young woman who plays the lead role and it is for her characterization that builds up the play into a tragedy. From the onset, readers are made to understand that Anowa follows what she thinks best for herself, makes her own decisions and she is her own advisor. This leads her to choose a man for herself even when her parents disagree with her. Her parents consent for her choice of husband aside, Anowa has also refused to marry any of the men who have confronted her. Her decision then becomes final – she chooses Kofi Ako and the two leave the town, Yebi to Oguaa without a hand of her parents’ blessings.
The big question we then ought to ask is that: ‘what happens to Anowa and Kofi Ako when they have settled in Oguaa? Would the relationship end happily? What would become of the two by the end of the play?
In Ghana, the issue of marriage is a complex one. Why do I say so? Marriage does not only involve the man and the woman but rather takes into consideration the consent and involvement of the two families. Anowa did not get the consent and support from her parents when she had made her decision to settle with Kofi Ako and so she is denied her family’s blessings. You see? So she takes a curse instead of a blessing into her marriage. By the end of the story, the reader is made to understand whether the decision Anowa took helped her or not.
Let me leave you with this question: If you called your mother a witch and disagreed with her on your choice of man (husband) and then left with this man to settle in a new town, would you return back home, to your parents when things start to go wrong in your marriage?
This is one play you cannot go wrong with – it is a masterpiece. You will love it.