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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Efua Sutherland, Ghanaian playwright, traditions at university level, Efua Theodora Morgue, Homerton College, Cambridge University, Ghana, Heinemann publication platform, African Writer’s Series.

In this review we take a look at one of the finest plays penned by an African, Efua Theodora Sutherland. It is our intention to bring back some of the nostalgic feelings which heralded some of the finest stories told by Africans on the Heinemann publication platform, African Writer’s Series (AWS). Be rest assured that we will bring to you more of the authors and books which helped to tell the world African stories and experience during colonial and pre-colonial eras.  In this episode we start with The Marriage of Anansewa.

Adapting the conventions of Akan story-telling, Efua Sutherland succeeded brilliantly in producing a sparkling and hilarious play. The Marriage of Anansewa is a fast-moving story of greed and cunning - with just a hint of youthful romance. Ananse is an old rogue who wants to make as much money as possible by marrying off his daughter Anansewa. He promises her to four chiefs at the same time: the Chief of the Mines, Togbe Klu IV, the Chief of Sapa, and Chief-Who-Is-Chief. Anansewa receives gifts from all four chiefs, who are unaware of their rivals. Ananse suddenly finds himself facing a catastrophe when the chiefs all decide to come and offer the ‘head-drink’ which will place the seal on their marriage.

To get out of his difficulties, Ananse persuades Anansewa to pretend to die, and announces her sad death to the chiefs. They respond by sending messengers who tell how the chiefs would have cared for Anansewa. The Chief of the Mines declares that she could have brought up his children; the Chief of Sapa had hoped that she would replace his ‘bitchy, ugly’ wife; Togbe Klu's messengers announce that their Chief would have been happy to exploit Anansewa's secretarial skills in his business, and having recently been converted to Christianity will not follow the old custom of sending a funeral gift. Finally, the Chief-Who-Is-Chief lets it be known that he is devastated since he regarded himself as already married to Anansewa and that he will therefore bear the whole cost of the funeral. Touched by his kindness and generosity, Ananse ‘miraculously’ brings his daughter back to life, and she prepares to marry her one honourable suitor.

                                                           Efua Theodora Sutherland

Efua Theodora Sutherland (27 June 1924 – 2 January 1996) was a Ghanaian playwright, director, children's author, poet and dramatist. Her best-known works include Foriwa (1962), Edufa (1967), and The Marriage of Anansewa (1975). As the earliest Ghanaian playwright-director and a popular broadcaster, she was an influential figure in the establishment of modern Ghanaian theatre, and helped to establish the study of African performance traditions at university level.

She was born Efua Theodora Morgue in Cape Coast, Gold Coast (now Ghana), where she studied teaching at St Monica's Training College. She then went to England to continue her studies at Homerton College, Cambridge University, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

When she returned to Ghana, Sutherland helped to establish the literary magazine Okyeame at the end of 1957. She then taught at schools including at St. Monica's Training College, before settling in Accra. In 1954 she married Bill Sutherland, an African American and pan-Africanist who had moved to Ghana. They had three children and she helped her husband in the establishment of a school in the Transvolta area.

In the early 1970s, Sutherland co-founded the publishing company Afram Publications, which was incorporated in 1973, and in March 1974 began operating from her private studio in "Araba Mansa", her compound at Dzorwulu, Accra. Sutherland remained involved in Afram's editorial work until her death.

In the mid-1980s, she mooted the idea of holding a pan-African historical theatre festival in Ghana as a cultural vehicle for bringing together Africans on the continent and in the diaspora; it came to fruition as Panafest, which was first held in 1992. Efua Sutherland died in Accra aged 71 in 1996.

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Nigeria's leading fictional story blog - Efua Sutherland, Ghanaian playwright, traditions at university level, Efua Theodora Morgue, Homerton College, Cambridge University, Ghana, Heinemann publication platform, African Writer’s Series.
Moofyme.com: An African Literary Blog
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