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"Perspectives on African Experience- Examine Ayi Akwei Armah's representation of the failures of decolonisation and national independence in The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born"
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who is the main character in this story, is the protagonist, who seems to be the embodiment of good morals since he is not corrupt and has refused involvement in its gleam. The author wishes to communicate uprightness and good character through the Man, in order to awaken Ghanaians to the reality of corruption, materialism, poverty, political rhetoric and desperation. Promises made during the fight against colonialism were socialistic by nature, featuring equality and betterment of people’s lives, but none of them were fulfilled during the reign of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, or even after the coup. The novel brings out the reality of life in Ghana after independence, where people’s dreams of a better nation were shattered by the filth of corruption at that time. The Man’s dream was to go to the University of Legon, a dream that never came true just like most Ghanaians’ dreams of a better nation were shattered by the corrupt government system that came into power after colonialists had left. In this paper, I am to discuss in detail how the author uses symbolism to show moral decadence in the post-independence Ghana, and how it applies to other African states today.
The theme of corruption covers the larger part of the novel, as witnessed by the Man on his way to his working place at the railway administration, when the conductor in the bus refuses to return the full change and keeps extra amount over the normal fare as his (Armah 1968, p.1). The conductor smells the cedi and says that it is strange that a man could have so many cedis pass through his hands and yet not really know their smell, implying that the conductor was money hungry. The bus in this case represents Ghana, the conductor represents its leaders, who are very corrupt and the passengers are the Ghanaians. The poor citizens in most African states participate in the economy through working but the money ends up in a few people’s pockets (Ferguson 2010, p. 170), no wonder the conductor is mocking the
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