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Mothering among Black and White Non-Ghanaian Women in Ghana

Akosua Adomako Ampofo


Although race, like gender is a socially-constructed category, colour still has deep meaning and significance for most people. Often disconcertingly so. In 1998, during a trip to Germany with my daughters, at the time aged two and five, we shared one such experience. The three of us were travelling in the tram (or streetcar) with my sister and her son, aged one at the time. My nephew is phenotypically white with fair skin and blonde hair, while my sister and I, and my daughters, are varying shades of brown. At one stop an elderly lady got on board and sat close to me. It must have been obvious that my sister and I and our children belonged together. As the journey progressed it became clear that the woman was very curious about our party of multi-hued individuals. When she could no longer contain her curiosity the woman asked me. I explained the family connections. She wanted to know how come my nephew was so white. I explained that his father was white. The woman then remarked matter-of-factly, oh he must have been very relieved that his son didnt turn out dark.

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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