Our Sister Killjoy is a book by a Ghanaian author – Ama Ata Aido0.
Our Sister Killjoy – Summary
Our Sister Killjoy is the debut novel of Ama Ata Aidoo, a former Ghanaian Minister for Education, published in 1977. The novel tells the tales of Sissie, the protagonist, who left her West African country of origin — Ghana— on a state-sponsored scholarship to pursue a career in education in Germany. She became tensely disillusioned finding out Africans who initially left the continent on the cover to acquire an education and pursue a better life in the foreign land have now resorted to flattering the European colonizers and are unwilling to return home to pass their knowledge to others who may be in dire need of it at home.
Aidoo hides under Sissie to criticize how Africans adulate the white supremacists and buy into their notions.
The novel is divided into four sections, and the first is named – Call Into Dream. Sissie arrives in Germany and is picked up by a wealthy host in a luxurious Mercedes Benz. They drive her around the town and take her to have an expensive dinner and European wine. At one of her dinners, she met a guy from Ghana. When she learned his name is Sammy, she fails to catch his name. All she sees is a Europeanized African man who now takes pride in answering “Sammy” instead of his African name.
Sammy laughs uncontrollably, making her think he is set to praise the European culture and rebuke his. As a result of this, she realized she’s the only true African there, though she is super proud of her African heritage and doesn’t feel intimidated by the wealthy whites she’s in their midst.
The second section focuses on the love affair between Sissie and Marija Sommer, a German woman deserted by her husband. She befriends Sissie and often plucks the plum in her backyard for Sissie, making her equate herself with the sweet plum. Marija develops feelings for Sissie and makes a pass at her, leaving Sissie to rethink the same-sex marriage that’s quietly strange to her. Sissie soon attracts the attention of Marija’s neighbor, with whom Marija thinks of Sissie as an exotic object. Sissie soon realizes that Marija knows nothing about Africa when she asked whether Ghana is nearby Canada.
The second section ends with Marija confessing her feelings to Sissie, and she turns her down. When Sissie is about to leave for Munich, Marija brings her plums and other gifts to bid her farewell.
In the third section named – From Our Sister Killjoy, Sissie travels to London, and she’s surprised to see a lot of Africans living in squalid conditions on the streets of London: wearing warn-out clothes and sleeping on the streets, just to remain in London. She is anguished seeing Africans living in open areas of London in the frigid weather, even though they descend from a continent that impacts warmness to its inhabitants. She feels the urge to connect home immediately and reveal to their parents the pitiable condition of their children, that they are in the same trouble that pursued them out of their home. Sissie is more outraged at how the self-exiled Africans conceal the reality of their horrible lives in Europe, from those at home in Africa.
While in London, Sissie bumps into Kunle, a self-exiled Ghanaian who thinks African problems can be solved using white technology. His rhetorics worsen Sissie’s anger, especially when he tries to prove his point by telling the story of a Christian white South African doctor who transplanted a black South African man’s heart to a white to save the white man’s life. When Sissie asks him whose heart was used to practice the first heart transplant, Kunle answers,” the experiment might have been perfected on rats or dogs. Sissie, after her bitter encounter with Kunle, leaves London.
In the final section of the novel, Sissie writes a letter to the Africans who have exiled themselves to Europe, especially to her former lover, who after acquiring formal knowledge in Europe, refuses to go back home and impact lives. In her letter, she challenges the Africans in Europe to come forth from their exiles and assume their roles in bettering Africa. She questions the integrity of a man who leaves his home country to acquire an education abroad and thereafter refuses to go back home to pass the knowledge to others. After writing the letter, she decides to keep it to herself and returns home to tell those at home about her experience in Europe.
The novel is set in Africa and Europe in the wake of colonialism when the continent was faced with the effects of colonialism. There was widespread disregard for African culture by Africans immediately after the independence, and the author, who served as a Minister For Education in Ghana, tried to comment on it.
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Who’s the protagonist of Our Sister Killjoy?
Sissie is the protagonist of the novel. All other characters in the novel rally around her right from the first section to the final section.
How did Our Sister Killjoy end?
Sissie is a Ghanaian girl who traveled to Germany to study on scholarship and pursue a good life. She becomes so disheartened by what she saw in Europe. In Germany, she finds herself with a fellow Ghanaian who detaches himself from anything relating to Africa. She also encountered white German ladies, who befriended and visited her often due to her race. They see her as an exotic object.
Unlike her world, every day in Germany unfolds uncanny dramas. When she visited London, she was outraged by the squalid-living condition of Africans who now sleep on the open streets in the freezing weather. When she couldn’t bear seeing her fellow Africans suffering in that manner, she fled London and wrote a letter to African exiles in Europe to return home. In the end, she dumps the letter and returns home to narrate her experience to those at home.