Title: Ghana Must Go
Author : Taiye Selasi
Ghana Must Go centres around the Sai family; Kweku Sai, his wife Folasadé and their children. Theirs is a love story of two young, confident and ambitious Africans – he is Ghanaian and she is Nigerian – who move to the United States where he studies medicine and goes on to become a renowned surgeon, and she gives up on Columbia Law in order to support him and raise their children.
It is a story about a family, and secrets, and issues left unresolved that manage to finally tear the family apart.
Taiye Selasi traces the family history of the Sais and the Savages, Folasadé’s family. It tells of the success attained by two people, and the subsequent loss of this success resulting from Kweku losing his job as a result of a malpractice suit brought against him.
It follows the family as Kweku abandons his family in the US, returning to his native Ghana; of Folsadé having to start a life again with nothing of her own and three children to take care of; and of the ensuing horrific events that their twins – Taiwo and Kehinde, inseperable in their bond who suffer at the hands of their Aunt and Uncle in Nigeria, after their mother, out of desperation, sends them there for a few months.
It captures the ambition of Olu- who wants to be like his father and goes on to be come a surgeon like him – but who in his marriage to Ling; a Chinese-American fights to dispel the stereotype forced on him by his wife’s father- that of the African man that always abandons his family; as his father did. We read about Sadie, the youngest of the Sai children, Folasadé’s favourite and the one who seems to have been scarred more by their father’s abandonment; unsure of her sexual preferences, suffering from bulimia and striving to be as seemingly perfect as her siblings.
|Photo: Nancy Crampton|
Selasi intersperses the family histories into the main story lending it a richly textured narrative about a family that finds itself having to come together again, after the death of Kweku. The title of the book is taken from historical events that saw Ghanaian immigrants living in Nigeria expelled from that country in the late 1980s; as scapegoats for a then failing economy.
Ghana Must Go is a must read.
I did something I normally do not do when reading a new author’s book – I did not read up on all there
was to read about the author, or search for recent pictures – in fact I had even mistakenly assumed that the author was a man. Only after I had finished her book did I realise that she’s a woman, and one who could very well have been one of her characters; Taiwo. This had me wondering whether Ghana Must Go was in any way based on her life – but she has said that her life has influenced the book, but it is in no way autobiographical.