Summary of Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

Summary of Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

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The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born conveys a sense of resentment with the way in which corruption and bribery are universally accepted in Ghana as the only way to prosperity. The anonymous here a clerk in the administration, is suborned by his ambitious wife and powerful friends, such as the minister Koomson, to pursue the search for shiny things’ which wealth can bring and to use his position to aid their crooked get-rich schemes.

The Beautyful ones are not yet Born discusses the harsh and uncompromising picture of corruption and self interest in Ghana and mirrors the people  in independent Ghana who believe that power is the only salvation and for one to be successful one has to be a liar and a thief the book is characterize by selfishness of leaders who took over from the colonial government according to Gakwandi, in the world of novel, wealth and power have become the situation is a complete disregard of any moral or social considerations in the drive to satisfy individual desires.

Summary of Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

The abuse of leadership mainly seen in Koomson and his government and even from the people of low positions in life like the conductor, boatman, watchman, clerks and drivers. Armah’s The Beautiful ones are not yet Born as Cameron Duodu’s The Gab Boys 1967 tends to attack not only politicians but all those who hold influential positions in society. Armah makes use of the messy environment, phlegm, filth, putrefaction, and excrete to depict the intensity of the various levels of corruption.

The bus conductor is used to corrupt practices but the Passion Week seems to be the stumbling block to his ways, but against all these, he gives the wrong change to the man who has given him a cedi. The conductor cheats the clients in order to satisfy his own desires and fatten his pocket the man who had given him cedi is fast asleep in the bus with eyes wide open, showing his withdrawal from the social world, but the conductor attempts to bribe the man with a cigarette, “You see we can share” Armah 1969).

Armah also articulates the theme of political betrayal and cultural dislocation where the people such as Koomson and his kind are well known for taking their positions as means of getting girls. This is a good as pfende in Musengezi’s, the honourable M.P () his office cleaner. Musengezi also shows corruption of leaders when M.P (1984), who sexually abused Sabina fende after being voted into power, there was a persisting threatening drought and he began to dessert his people in pursuit of the wealth that has placed.

The south African analyst in “ yonake Yona” (February – march 2005) argues that Armah deflates ‘weakness of the flesh’. Maanan is a typical of all Ghanaian women who have been betrayed by their husbands and politicians. Maanan has been in love with the new Member of Parliament and was exploited and disappointed. Those in power who wish to satisfy their desire sexually abuse girls. The woman who is selling bread expects to see Koomson with a girlfriend because it is the order of the day, have yo ever seen a big man without girls. Even the old ones? (Armah, 1969).

Armah stresses his view by the use of symbols of sexual drawings on the toilet, which signifies that corrupt men are associated by sexual activities. Young women were sexually abused by party men for only blouses and perfumes from diplomatic bags and wigs of human hair ’scraped from decayed white women’s corpse’ (Achebe 1966), A very pathetic example of sexually abuse by politicians is when the government is paying for hired places for prostitution.

Summary of Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

Armah, like other West African writers, reflects the sense of dismay with which writers control the corruption and divisions in the new post regimes. In Ghana, there is rottenness; everyone is swimming towards what one wants, people are using their positions to aid their crooked get rich schemes and to pursue wealth. Independence in itself does not prove a solution to the social problems of the people. To be uncorrupt was as good as a crime, as the teacher in the text says, ‘you have not done what everybody is doing and in this world that is one of the crimes’ Armah (1969).

The intelligentsia are the ones who are prospering. Fanon (1976)’s comment on the African leadership is, ‘the national bourgeoisie strung to defend its immediate interests and see no further than the end of its nose, incapable of bringing national unity: Koomson, for instance, has risen from being a humble office cleaner to a pampered government minister; thus he is seduced by the fruits of office the man, Koomson is successful as a result of public theft; power is his salvation.

Koomson is used to stealing the money that belongs to the state coffers, hence he abuses the trust that the public places in his responsibility. To be successful in Ghana, one needs to be a liar and a thief. Koomson’s mind is preoccupied with money making schemes. He flourishes at the expense of other fellow men. For instance, he uses the fishing boat scheme to win oyo and her mother since he promises them that he would make them rich by giving them the fishing boat yet the boat is in the name of his daughter princess. The women are just used and only occasionally do they get few fish.

For Amah, the most terrible thing is to watch a black man trying to be a dark ghost of a European. Africans themselves help to facilitate the abuse of their fellow black men. ‘How long will Africa be cursed with its own leaders? (Armah, 1969). Koomson has succeeded by taking the path of corruption. He destroys his people’s destiny for the sake of luxurious life Koomson is driving stolen posh cars and own luxurious properties.

Degradation of Values in Post-Independence Africa.

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born is a classic representation of Post-independence African experiences and value systems. These values represent a complete contrast with the colonial values on the one hand and the aspirants among Africans of their Post-independence governance and systems. The novel is rich with illustrations of corruption, failing economic and social systems in Ghanaian politics also skepticism about the socialist, ideology, declining public trust and morality among others.

This has to be put within the context of the broader political economic reality of cold war politics and how these affected African countries and indeed other countries in the developing world, one cannot fail to draw a parallel with the governance machinery presided over Kwame Nkrumah and in particular in system of detention without train as a way of declining with political opposition and dissent.

There is also a clear departure from many Pre-colonial values like the communal caring of each other. As poverty bites deeper in the Ghanaian society, there are certain baffling realities of many citizens going hungry. For instance, the man is unable to feed his family yet there are certain families whose dogs eat more meat than what ordinary families eats in a month. These inequalities even in the living areas, tastes and preferences point to a society undergoing immense disparities and inequalities. There are general feelings that the government of the day makes no attempt to remedy the situation. This probably opens the society up to anti-social tendencies and specially the declining morality in the society.

Summary of Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

Post-independent Africa is depicted as a lost cause people seem to have cast aside their nationalistic feelings as people pursue the ends to their means. A clear disillusionment can be seen in the people. There is also a clear indication of how certain society members have resorted to drug abuse in a sense to ward off those sorry realities. The general optimism at independence dream seems to have turned out to be a bad nightmare from which many would wish to wake up from (Gakwandi 14).

Corruption and Social Pressure

Moreover, Armah has used his novel “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born” to portray the fact that in a society where there are numerous people engage in corrupt practices, those who kept their moral values are disappointed as a result of these corrupt people; the “man” a morally upright railway worker becomes frustrated as a result of the pressure from his wife and her mother to be corrupt like others, particularly, using his office for his benefits. However, he never accepted or achieved their desires.

Koomson, the politician was the classmate of the man while in school, but Koomson become rich due to his corruptive activities as a politician. The man at a point in the novel, while discussing with the teacher another morally upright person in the novel said “ I am asking myself what is wrong with me. Do I have some part missing? Teacher, this Koomson was my own classmate. My classmate, so tell me what is wrong with me?” (Armah 57) The quotation indicated that the man is fully frustrated due to the mess that existed all over the society which he denied to be part of.

The man stayed aloofed from illegal activities made by his fellow workers. The Beautyful Ones Are Not yet Born is used by Armah to prove that in Africa, corruption existed in a wide range and everywhere. The corruption that poisoned the African leadership and African citizens as a whole, this phenomenon is the main reason behind the decline of those independent countries.

The following quotation is the one that justifies Armah’s view that it is due to the corrupt activities of African leaders and governors, the incident from the novel is when the man went to public toilet and saw some inscriptions on the wall of the toilet where it is written. “Money sweet pass all, who born fool socialism, chop make I chop, country broke”.

(Armah 106) The above quotation indicates that corruption existed in the highest levels and with several dimensions, furthermore the phrase “chop make I chop” shows that while politicians were taking money from the government funds other people of the low class are also busy of stealing from anywhere.

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