Amma Darko’s masterpiece, Faceless, basically addresses the issue of failed marriages and consequently, the attendant neglect of children who are products of such marriages.
Maa Tsuru’s marriage is one such marriage. After her first husband (Kwei) abandons her and their children, she feels insecure as a woman and a single mother.
In this Ghanaian society, it is the perfunctory function of men to provide their families’ needs. So, Maa Tsuru has to look for another husband. That is exactly where Nii Kpakpo comes into the picture. Nii Kpakpo becomes Maa Tsuru’s second husband. And Maa Tsuru has for him some boys.
However, Nii Kpakpo is not a better alternative. He is worse. He can not be deemed fit as a good and responsible husband. He is a bad influence on Maa Tsuru and his stepdaughters. He primarily exploits them, in lieu of his marital and fatherly duties.
Nii Kpakpo almost rapes Maa Tsuru’s daughter, Baby T, who is supposedly his stepdaughter. He literally pushes Baby T into the evil hands of Onko, a green snake under green grass. It is while Baby T is seeking refuge elsewhere that she falls into the web of Onko who eventually rapes her. Thus, he holds a considerable amount of blame for Baby T’s rape.
In addition, same Nii Kpakpo suggests that Baby T should be given out to work so that she would not be a burden to Mama Tsuru. And also, the money she (Baby T) makes will be used for the family’s sustenance. Baby T would later end up in Mami Broni’s brothel against her wish where her body is desecrated by men.
The presence of Nii Kpakpo in their home (as her mother’s husband) is also one of the primary reasons fourteen year old Fofo stops going home. Whenever she needs to (like after the attempted rape by Poison), Fofo often feels reluctant to do so.
Together with Kwei, Nii Kpakpo is an archetype of irresponsible fathers in the text. What kind of father wakes up early in the morning to take the local alcohol, akpeteshie? He does not want to know what his kids and wife eat. He is to them a liability, rather than their breadwinner.
Maa Tsuru too is not a good portrayal of motherhood. In her desperation for a husband, she should not have allowed an irresponsible man to influence her badly. Neither should she have let her children at very tender age into the dangers of the street.
In a nutshell, the relationship between Nii Kpakpo and Maa Tsuru is exploitive. Maa Tsuru is weak and wants security in Nii Kpakpo. Nii Kpakpo, on the other hand, can be likened to a bloodsucking parasite who exploits Maa Tsuru of her bad fortunes.
Rather than be of help, Nii Kpakpo is only a bad influence on Maa Tsuru and together with the gullible and weak Maa Tsuru, he leads her girls at very tender age into the tearing claws of the street.