It all started with some low-tech productions, very poor direction and “amateur”actors, but it never missed its message. Their modus of storytelling was quite unique; typical Ghanaian cultural setting mixed up with comedy and happy endings. Like something borrowed from the popular concert party. An upgraded version of it I mean. With a few protagonists in the center, one could easily identify them by their (BTL) style of marketing. Just like the beginning of any venture, these guys probably didn’thave the budgets or resources to back their new-found Kumawood.
The blaring phrase “Paaaaarrrrt waaaaan and twoooo”was loud enough to stick in your memory for days. Kwame dzokoto’s voice will greet you in every street corner of town with loud speakers atop kia trucks, mini vans and at movies houses.
Our streets got flooded with photo-shopped posters of their latest productions, with titles very difficult to ignore, Agya Koo Bank Manager, Asore Ba, Sika Duro ….
“Kumawood”was more than just another Ghana movie industry, it was a huge economic asset for us, it birthed the careers of new actors, directors and motion graphics designers who did amazing animations.
Bisa K’dei’s name easily rings as a huge beneficiary of this industry. Kumawood served Ghana, it inspired other local productions from Tamale, Wa, the Fanteland and the Volta region. You can imagine where we were headed. Our brothers in abrokyire had something to kill time with. Our local transport industry premired new productions, a strategy I can admit really worked efficiently. These guys brought joy into our homes, they shared real life stories with real life lessons, kumawood gave life to homes in this country.
So, what happened?
The American Industrialist and philanthropistAndrew Carnegie, once said “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” We have seen how many lives changed from the concert party days to kumawood, however; we forgot that “Talent wins games, but team work always won championships (Michael Jordan) we forgot that “None of us is as smart as all of us”
The typical Ghanaian PHD took the better part of kumawood, the players kept hitting at each other, they shared bitter secrets of each other, peddled falsehood and alleged very serious scandals amongst themselves.
Directors were accused of exploiting actresses and actors would “back bite”each other for roles. I guess this is a perfect reflection of who we really are.
Once again, we succeeded in Killing another success story. the sad thing is, no one considered the years it took for this change to happen and the impact it had in our own lives.
We ignored the huge potential and eventual benefits we could benefit from Kumawood, yet we collectively contributed to the death of the local movie industry. we supported media/ social media, lazy bloggers hungry for clicksand industry players to drain each other of our creative energies.
Each and every problem in Ghana is politicized for some personal or party gains. Many of our politicians are “Men of mess”who always playthe chess game in all issues. sadly; the Media is always with them.
It is therefore a consequence of responsible citizenry that those who stand to benefit must enable those behind to come together to the benefit of the country. None of us cherish being dependent on the generosity of others. What is required, and urgently so, are partnerships with corporates playing a stewardship role in driving commercially viable productions that integrate the expertise of big players and the witty and comic kumawood actors in particular for a greater Ghana film Industry, we saw the industry generating a lot of buzz and attracting loads of attention, I clearly remember the popular Lil Win (MTN) commercial and giant bill boards all over the country, Nana Ama McbBrown covered magazines and the likes of Mercy Asiedu, Akrobeto and Kyeiwaa from the old concert party regime receive new followings and wealth. What’smore than that?
The overarching drive is collaboration between players not just telling stories but also selling the country to the rest of the world. I don’twant to delve into how much Nollywood and Hollywood was pushing into their respective economies but we all know the potential for tourism.
Now kumawood has lost its place just like the Kumasi music industry, which used to be the powerhouse of the hip life generation. All of these represents the general Ghanaian community at large, This is what we do to ourselves and our businesses, always looking for faults instead of building up. Always looking into the sources of people’ssuccesses but have no respect for the poor. Martin Luther King Jnr puts it right: its either we stay together as brothers or perish together as fools. We have one Ghana, let’sbuild it together.
Nothing beats a united front, what hurts most is being a neutralist in a time when we are all needed to heed to that call of building a country. it might be kumawood today, but can you guess who or what’snext?