In Amma Darko’s Faceless, men are aptly portrayed as the oppressors of women. Using the characters of Kwei, Nii Kpakpo, Onko, and Macho, the novelist highlights the oppressive powers of men over women and the vulnerability of the likes of Maa Tsuru, Baby T and Fofo.
OPPRESSION: 1. The exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. 2. The act of oppressing, or the state of being oppressed. (Source: Wiktionary)
To start with Kwei, he is the come-and-go husband of Maa Tsuru and the father of Baby T and Fofo. He abandons his family and shirks away from his responsibilities as a father and husband. He absconds with the flimsy excuse that Maa Tsuru is cursed. A superstitious belief he is not unaware of when he married and impregnated her twice. It is his felt absence that prompts Maa Tsuru to take the irresponsible, unscrupulous and lazy Nii Kpakpo for a lover.
Nii Kpakpo is yet another oppressive male character in the text. He is mischievous and jobless. He tricks the gullible Maa Tsuru into selling Baby T into prostitution. He also has a hand in Baby T’s death as he is the one who intimates Onko of the brothel Baby T stays. Nii Kpakpo exploits Maa Tsuru and her children in the text.
Macho is another oppressive male character too. Though a product of the street himself, he turns his eyes away from the plight of the street children and oppresses them at the slightest opportunity. He collects fines from these abandoned children for excreting on the dumpsite. It is however ironic that Macho and his boys pass their waste there too without challenge from anyone.
In the opening chapter of the text when Fofo and Odarley are on the dumpsite doing their thing, the mere announcement of Macho’s coming sends cold fears down the spines of the duo. In bid to escape, Fofo forgets her purse (which contains her previous week earnings). From afar, she could see Macho extract the contents of her purse with a smile. In a very big way, Macho is a symbol of patriarchal oppression in Faceless.
Another instrument of male oppression in the book is Poison. He is a heightened form of Macho. That is, he used to be a street bully himself before he established himself as a street lord. He attempts raping Fofo in the opening part of the text. Feared by all, Poison protects Maami Broni’s brothel where Baby T is sold to. A product of the noncaring society, he is a sadist. He enjoys seeing people suffer. He assaults Baby T severally in the text.
The last on the list is the devil himself. Onko lives in the same compound with Maa Tsuru. He appears to be a generous man but he is very cruel. He takes advantage of Baby T and defiles her. He shushes Maa Tsuru with money. He is also very instrumental in the circumstances surrounding Baby T’s death.
Without any doubt, using the actions of the above examined characters, Amma Darko clearly portrays men as oppressors of women.