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The King’s Wages

Saturday 25 July 2015, author(s)-editor(s) Augustine Brempong

Containing hints of political satire, The King’s Wages is a play that seeks to unmask the wicked absurdity of getting power at all costs. It tells the story of a man called Tutu who wants to be king and murders his own brother in pursuit of his plan. Tutu finally becomes king, but soon realizes that there is more to it than he bargained for. The chief among the Akan gods, Tano, becomes angry and is bent on punishing Tutu for the fratricide he committed. The ghost of Tutu’s brother comes back to haunt him and Tutu is desperate to avert this from happening again. He does not only do the unthinkable as an expedient to save his life, but also manifests his weakness by following the advice of his long-time friend Bota. As a result, he is cursed by his own daughter who commits suicide immediately afterwards. In the end, he loses everything but his life. The story may strike us as mythical, but Brempong deliberately goes beyond the limits of the natural to invest his story with more beauty and profound pathos. He uses glittering expressions and simple language, with slight touches of archaism and interspersed with Akan proverbs. The story he tells is interesting enough, but his brilliant writing style also makes it one of the outstanding works to be seen in modern African literature.

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ISBN 9789956762019 | 148 pages | 203 x 127mm | 2015 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback