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The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born
AuthorAyi Kwei Armah
Publication date

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born is a novel by Ghanaian writer Ayi Kwei Armah. It was published in 1968. It tells the story of a nameless man who struggles to reconcile himself with the reality of post-independence Ghana.


The unnamed protagonist, referred to as "the man", works at a railway station and is approached with a bribe; when he refuses, his wife is furious and he can't help feeling guilty despite his innocence. The novel expresses the frustration many citizens of the newly-independent states in Afrika felt after attaining political independence. Many African states like Ghana followed similar paths in which corruption and the greed of Afrikan elites became rampant. Corruption in turn filtered down to the rest of society. The action takes place between 1965's Passion Week and February 25, 1966 – the day after the overthrow of Osagyfo Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president. The 'rot' that characterized post-independent Ghana in the last years of Nkrumah is a dominant theme in the book


The novel provides a description of the existential angst of the book's hero who struggles to remain clean when everyone else around him has succumbed to 'rot'.


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