In this novel the writer Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana, 1942) paints the story of a young professional woman who works in a government department. Her name is Esi and she is married to Oko, a teacher. Together they have one daughter Ogyaanowa. The best friend of Esi for many years is the nurse/midwife Opokuya, who is married to Kubi, they have several children. You could expect they all would live happily everafter, but that is not to be.
Esi feels hampered by her marriage and a divorce is what follows, Oko is shocked by it. She stays on her own, her daughter stays with the mother of Oko, who teaches in a different part of the country. Esi has met the charming director of an international travel-agency. This married man, Ali, falls in love with the young and active and bright civil servant Esi. They get married, Esi being his second wife in his polygamous marriage. But even this marriage has its strains.
This is in short the story of the novel. There is another story inside the novel and this story reads like a feminist pamphlet. The protagonists discuss the merits and the absence of merits, the advantages ande disadvantages of marriage between one woman and one man, the polygamous marriage in which one man has several wives, the independence of a woman, can a woman live on her own without a man? Who takes the responsibility of raising the chiuldren? What is the importance of the extended family in founding a marriage? I missed thought the possibility of one woman having a marriage with several men. Due to the pamphletical tendencies in the book different African traditions (“in Africa”!) are put into one bag, opposite the bag with different western concepts.
This book has been dedicated to Kinna, the one who reads.
Ama Ata Aidoo – Changes, a love story – 1991