An orphan’s story offers redemption for the girl-child and moral regeneration
The secret of success, they say, is never to give up on your dreams and having abundant willpower to trudge on. Stella Omonigho’s book, ADA: The Story Of An Orphan (Mindex Publishing Co. Ltd, Benin City; 2017), attempts to bear out the above saying.
The play takes a span of three generations, revolving around the life and journey of a determined young orphan, leading to how she becomes successful in life. The play accentuates the rich culture and perceived divinity of monarchs, belief in myths, and the deeply entrenched community life of the African people. It depicts, in a vivid manner, the multifaceted challenges faced by the girl-child and the tendency of patriarchy to limit the height to which a girl-child in a typical African setting can attain.
The three generations involve the protagonist, Ada, her grandmother and her own children. Omonigho’s rich use of different characteristics and figurative forms gives the reader a smooth flip through these times and generations. An instance is from the opening scene where Ada’a children enquire why their parents are medical doctors, aside being Prince and Princess. Here, the playwright, through the use of flashback, takes the reader through the incident that brought this into being.
The playwright’s use of flashbacks that oscillate from the present, then the past and back to the present enables readers to see the life of Ada as a poor orphan living with her grandmother, her struggles, her determination and how she eventually meets her Prince. At some point the king of the village shows interest in marrying her despite the age difference between them.
Ada and her grandmother are practically ostracized; they both feel lonely in the community, as her refusal to marry the King is interpreted as the cause of her friend, Chioma’s drowning and subsequent death. The belief in supernatural forces is also portrayed in the play.
On the flip side, the story gives hope and courage. It proves that despite all the challenges of life, every child can beat the odds with determination, focus and a strong desire to achieve life’s goals. The book is a good tool to teaching commitment to life’s goals to children and adolescents. The playwright skillfully paints vivid pictures in the imagination of the reader with a perfect cocktail of love, tragedy and suspense that keeps the reader glued until the end.
Recently, some parents protested that some school textbooks recommended for use by national examination bodies are filled with salacious scenes, especially at a time that requires the need to inculcate good morals in young people. In this regard, the national examination bodies and schools would find this book invaluable in placing children on the path of moral regeneration as it is devoid of any depiction of prurient affairs; rather, it celebrates Africa’s pristine culture.
ADA: The Story Of An Orphan is written in simple language, which makes it easy for comprehension. Readers of all age groups will find it irreplaceable.
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