by Kev


Baako, son of Efua Onipa spent five years in New York studying how to write and produce papers. After spending years in New York, he returned home as a been to stranger, he was alienated from the culture of his people. Baako was a disappointment to his family and society since he cannot buy a car and his negligence as a provider to his family. As he later got job in Ghana vision as a television scriptwriter, his dream was not fulfilled because he cannot understand the nature and way the company operate. The companies way of operation does not auger well with him. Meanwhile, he has already fallen in love with Juana, a medical psychiatric Doctor; when he approach her of her uncertainty illness. But Baako despite the fact that he found love in Juana, does not remove his alones illness. His uncertainty about his life. All the things he sees is a bizarre to him. Baako was left in acute ward in in Korle bu hospital, where he was speaking to his soul, his ancestors Naanoam and Skido a dead driver PWD company. He stays at the hospital was a beckon to death, which he is now not reluctant about. He is there waiting for death to carry him at least that will lessen his fears and uncertainty.


The whole story centres on Baako Onipa who is the chief protagonist. Foli, Baako uncle and Naana, has grandmother poured libation to their angry ancestors and protecting ancestors, so as to guide their son as Baako he will be travelling to Whiteman’s land to finish his studies. After years of Baako departure, Efua her mother was not herself, she was fearing that her son would not return again, thus she approach a prophet who prophesied to her that her son will soon return and that presently he is suffering from the sickness of the soul, sent by God to bring my lost one back to her. There when offering prayers, he came in contact with Juana. After few conversions with her she learnt she is an Afro-American and also a medical doctor at Korle Bu hospital. After which Juana gave him a ride to Kaneshie where she lives.

Five years later, Baako boarded a plane and was returning back to his home town. In the plane, he met Henry Robert Hudson Brempong a fellow Ghanaian who has spent eight years at London. Brempong advised him and told him that he shouldn’t return since he has no car and has nothing of his own. He also told or fore told him the nature of his country. He do mention of Ashante Smith a known man in Ghana vision since he (Baako) told him that he would wish to work there. Brempong becomes his friend throughout their flights. At reaching Accra International Airport, he realized that Brempong is a big man, when offered for a help by Brempong he refused blatantly, but later collected his card. Baako lent a room at Avenida hotel since he cannot locate the address of his family with the help of a taxi driver, he get in contact with Fifi William his cousin who works in Ghana Bank. There at the Bank, he met Christina Fifi’s girl who ongoing ask her friend Fifi to connect the young been to , to her. Fifi called her Aunty for Baako and that settles the matter. His return was a surprise to his mother and his other relatives. His mother’s first disappointment was that his son was unable to buy his own car just as Fifi did.

At home, Araba, Baako’s sister was bleeding in between her thighs, she wants to have a miscarriage, but Baako intervened and sent her to hospital. At the hospital, Baako realized the breach btw the rich and the door, he was asked by Auraa Nurse to take her sister to an ordinary hospital with dilapidated building. Baako’s sister gave birth to a son and Araba promised to name the child after his Efua. Araba planned to do the outdoor ceremony in five days time instead of the normal one week interval before the ceremony. Kwesi, his brother in law consent to the idea after Araba has finished talking to him about the sudden plans of events. Meanwhile Naana, her grandmother was against the sudden outdoor ceremony. She told Araba to stop her mother and sister because the ceremony will bring the death of the child. But Baako did not oblige, he did not know the way of the land.

Kofi Ocrany, Baako’s Art teacher at Achimota college help him to secure Job. After many times of disappointment from the assistant junior civil service commission. Kofi met the principal secretary and that was how Baako began work at Ghana vision. But he was to work there on one condition which is to forget anything good he learnt or knows from the Whiteman’s land.

Baako went to Korle Bu hospital so as to have a cure with his uncertainty and alones illness. There he met Juana the doctor and both fell in love. On the day of the outdoor ceremony, Baako was the MC but to his mother’s and everybody surprise he lack eloquence in doing the work and as well suppose to wear suits, Efua, later came out and do the talking when it is time to appreciate the new born child, three weeks after the ceremony, the child died just as Naana predicted.

Meanwhile, Baako invited Juana to the Ghanavision party hosted by Russell Akosa, the writer leader. There, they met Janet and James Scalder, the latter which was nicknamed the highest actor of Shakespearean plays. Russell Akosa received a blast in the party from Lawrence Boateng, a fellow worker in Ghanavision. He accused thyem of embezzlement and taking away the glory of other people’s work. His attack cause Hubbub in the party and that ends the party. Juana was at low mood and needed some rendezvous, she took Baako along. They got to a sea shore, where they have their first swim and their first love making.

The Ghanavision wore is becoming boredom to Baako after witnessing the death of Sikido and how the company care about his death. Sikido died of sudden approaches and was drowned inside the sea shore with his truck. He was to supply goods to the north. Asante smith rejected his works which he titled slavery, survival and band. To worsen the matter, he was always mark by him the company lacks machine for their work and the only work and write films of great events such as Independence Day etc. this irritated him and write with Juana typewriter that he wants to quit the job in a month’s time.

Juana travelled for a while and Baako was indoor writing what he called “Fugitive Thoughts”. This caused illness to him. His mother become a nurse that nurse him. Baako told her to go out that he should be fine but instead the fever is getting worse. Efua having the premonition of what is happening to his son called Kwesi and Foli to her aid. Both met Baako going out, as Kwesi approach to catch him, he gave him a hard blow on the chest and runaway. he return later and then continue his writing. On the following day, Baako was about to go and was surprise at the faces he met, he was still ill and was told by his Uncle Foli to rest, but he refused. Instead he climbed the fence and turn away. The family villagers started pursuing him, because to them they are seeing a mad man. Konkraye and his collegues who are hefty tied him up. Baako was taking to Korle Bu hospital , he was taken to Acute ward, where he was to receive treatment as a madman. There, his mother took him out and showed him their uncompleted building. He told her that she wished he would finish the building when he returned and by so doing he has conducted her soul cleansing which say was the cause of his son’s mental disorder.

At Korle Bu hospital, Juana was at his beckon, Ocrany was also there telling him to move on and not to follow the life he never wishes for himself. There in the hospital he saw the dead Skido telling him to go back because he hasn’t achieved anything in life. But to Baako, he was waiting to enter to the world beyond which no one can decipher except him.



The writer makes use of Standard English. The English is precise, concise and simple to understand. It cannot cause problem to an average reader (students)


The setting of the novel took place in Ghana, places like Achimota, Kanishoe, Tema, Accra, Kumasi mention in the novel are places in Ghana republic.


It has social, Academic and Political background.


It has post-colonial timing


The writer makes use of multiple methods. The story is told by the dimension of many characters.


It makes use of flowering language, he makes use of cold mixing of languages for e.g Kojo means Penis, Ewura – driver etc.


The “juice” symbolizes man’s sperm; the “purple flowers” Baako saw when he was chased by the villagers symbolizes hope. The River is not an ordinary river; it stands for slavery, bitterness, alones, uncertainty and fear.



He is the chief protagonist. The whole novel centers on him, he is Efua Onipa’s son, grandson of Naana. He went to New York to study creative writing. When he return home, he was alienated from his community. He is uncertain about his life. His soul is full of loneliness and this lead to his tragic flaw.


He is Baako’s uncle, a drunkard. He has been a caring father (Uncle) since Baako was born, he is mean and fight to liberate Baako from madness which he believes is holding him down.


She is a medical doctor at Korle Bu Hospital. She is a divorcee. She fell in love with Baako and at last was loved back by him.


She is Baako’s mother; her love for her son is unheard of. She spent days in the prophets residence praying more than any other people so that his son should return to him. She is an ambitious woman, her ambitiousness geared her to build a house thinking that his son will finish the building but reverse is the case.


She is Baako’s grandmother. She is a prophetess and as well observant. She is the one the foretold about the death of Araba son if they go ahead with the outdoor ceremony. She is a  traditionalist. She believes strongly in spirits and ancestors.



Baako’s family members and community wanted him to be true “Been to” with all the privileges and pretences. Their emphasis and focus are on the material benefits his education should bring to them and the status his place as a “been to” should confer on them. but Baako refused to play any of the roles, but preferring rather to direct his education and its benefit towards moral and intellectual upliftment of his people. When Baako falls ill with the strain of trying to justify his out look to them, they seize the opportunity to declare him mad, then refuse him family succor and send him to the mental hospital.


This is seen when Baako took her sister Araba to hospital. Araba ws taken to a dilapidated hospital because he is not in higher class where as the modern one was meant for peole who are called “THE VIPs”


Baako was not only in conflict with his family and community for not accepting a true “Been to”. He was also in conflict with himself. He is uncertain about his life. He suffered from uncertainty and inner loneliness which the people cease the opportunity and say he is mad.


Baako Armah’s protagonist was not able to secure a job after five times of filling the necessary formsa. It takes the intermediary of his art teacher Kofi Ocran and principal secretary before he got a job at Ghana vision.


The Ghana vision where Baako got employment is totally corrupt. It is a company where those who do not work eats all the glory. Rusell Akosa, the leader writer is a good example. She takes the glory of other peoples work and as well deprives people from learning. This is seen when Lawrence Boaten blast her in the Soiree party.

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