The Characters

(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Densu observes his society and has uneasy feelings about its aims and his place within it. He is on the threshold of setting his course in life, and he finds no comfort in the direction his manipulative guardian, Ababio, would have him take. Ababio would have Densu, with his talents and resourcefulness, court power by serving Ababio and the white men. In Densu’s view, Ababio is a betrayer and a predatory user of the people. Densu, orphaned when an infant, consistently is able to refuse the promises of power which his wily guardian dangles before him. Densu chooses to pursue the path of inspiration and of healing, rather than that of manipulation. Densu wants to be true to his convictions, and the work of the healers genuinely intrigues and attracts him. To be drawn into the governing system as it is then constituted would be tantamount to enlisting in the forces of manipulation and exploitation. To join Damfo and the healers would offer the opportunity to promote unity of body, of mind, and of society.

Densu’s strength of conviction, along with Damfo’s gentle support, sustains him throughout trying perils and crises of spirit. Near the end of the novel, Densu is offered the kingship of Esuano, but he refuses it. He is free in mind and enlightened; he believes his energies will be better spent in working at the dream of black unity rather than serving as an instrument of a shortsighted status quo.

Damfo, the healer, is a man with a farsighted agenda. He is able to heal the physical and psychological impairments of individuals. He can lead individuals to see the truth of themselves in their predicaments. His great goal, however, is again to bring together black people in unity. The achievement of this goal may take centuries, but the more the people accept the truth of kinship, the greater the possibility of the goal being attained. “Ebibirman,” the...

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Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Densu Ansa

Densu Ansa (DEHN-sew AHN-sah), a leading youth of Esuano at the age of twenty, an orphan since birth. A critically reflective person, he could have won the chosen-year games of competition and could have become king-elect, but, compassionately, he refused to kill a tethered pigeon in the final shooting contest. Actually, he prefers the work of the ascetic healers to the manipulative world of the court. He escapes the machinations of his evil guardian, Ababio, who would exploit Densu as a figurehead ruler. Densu, choosing truth and honorable service, is successful in joining the community of healers.


Damfo (DAHM-foh), the leader of a community of healers in the forest and a mentor to Densu. Wise and compassionate, he aids people in seeing, hearing, and knowing themselves, as well as in understanding truly and acting truly. An enemy of manipulation, his method is inspiration. He seeks to instill unity, wholeness, and spirituality through his consultative treatments.


Ababio (ah-bah-BEE-oh), a corrupt, power-hungry court retainer whose tools are force, fraud, and deceit. As Densu’s guardian, Ababio wants Densu to replace Appia in the line to the throne. Ababio, who has Appia killed, wants a straw king whom he can manipulate. Eventually, Ababio becomes the local king of Esuano of the Asante empire. Later, he is arrested for his crimes.

Araba Jesiwa

Araba Jesiwa (ahr-AH-bah jay-SEE-wah), the mother of the murdered crown prince, Appia. About fifty and a friend to Densu, she is beautiful and regal but compassionate. Internally, she suffers periodically from depression, which Damfo is able to treat. Childless at the age of twenty-eight, she initially consults Damfo, who leads her to see that she made the wrong choice in marriage. She breaks from her upper-class husband and happily marries the craftsman Kofi Entsua, who becomes Appia’s father. Kofi Entsua dies accidentally a few years after their marriage. Araba Jesiwa is brutally maimed in the attack in which Appia is killed, and Densu, painstakingly, heals her.

Asamoa Nkwanta

Asamoa Nkwanta (ah-sah-MOH-ah ihn-

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