Maame (Mother)

In Aakonu, a small village on the coast of Ghana, life is a constant tussle between the reality of the mundane and the superstitions presided over by the local priestess. In this setup, girls in their puberty can only look forward to marriage—often to men old enough to be their fathers and already with other wives.

Ahu, a young widow of eighteen, has no choice but to marry an older relative. But she refuses to have more children and returns to Aakonu. Overcoming all odds, she sets up a village eatery and raises her children, educating them all and finally sending the eldest girl, Bomo, to university. Her rebellion and success are an inspiration for the generation of girls growing up, to reach out beyond the limits imposed upon them by ancient tradition. Through these beautifully told, lyrical stories about herself, her daughter Bomo, the beautiful but tragic Ebela, and the childless Aso, and others, Ahu introduces us to her community, and the beliefs and customs that keep its families together but in the end also stifle its girls’ futures.

“Elizabeth Vaah’s use of multilayered herstories reveals her empathy, understanding, and celebration of the lives of women in Ghana. As a cultural (auto)biographical narrative, Maame is a refreshing contribution to contemporary (auto)biographies in both Canada and Ghana. A commendable first work.”
–Dannabang Kuwabong, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Author of Voices from Kibuli Country and Caribbean Blues & Love’s Genealogy

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Publication Date: November 2020

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-77415-029-0
Page size: 5.5″ x 8.5″
160 pages

eBook ISBN: 978-1-77415-030-6

Headshot of Elizabeth Vaah

Elizabeth Allua Vaah hails from Bakanta, a small village on the western coast of Ghana, West Africa. She was the first in her family to attend high school and one of the first few girls in her village to go to university. Maame is Allua’s first work of fiction.

Allua is an advocate for better maternal health through her foundation, the Vaah Junior Foundation. She is a strong advocate for girl child education, never failing to use her own life story as an example of how girls’ education impacts generations. Allua lives in Canada with her family and works as a Risk Manager at a major bank in the Greater Toronto Area.