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Ayesha Harruna Attah: “I Write to Find out Who I Am”

How the discovery of an ancestor named only “the slave” inspired the Ghanaian author’s latest novel The post Ayesha Harruna Attah: “I Write to Find out Who I Am” appeared first on Guernica.
Photo by Itunu Kuku.

Ayesha Harruna Attah’s newest novel The Hundred Wells of Salaga follows the story of two protagonists: Aminah, a slave, and Wurche, the daughter of a chief. Although they are from different castes, Aminah and Wurche are women living in the patriarchal world of late nineteenth-century Ghana, and in this sense, they are both unfree.

Aminah, who is from Botu, a small village of a few hundred people, is kidnapped by slave raiders. She is then brought to Salaga-Kpembe, home of Wurche and her family. Wurche aspires to lead her people through an internecine conflict, but is discouraged on account of being a woman. Meanwhile, her relationship with Aminah, which begins as that of master and slave, evolves into much more—friends and then co-conspirators in their search for freedom.

Attah was born in Accra, Ghana, and sets her latest novel in her motherland on the cusp of colonization by Europeans.

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