Invasion of foreign-turned-local telenovelas: Any implications?

Sat, 30 Jul 2016 Source: Alan, Jet

Let me start this off by first, assuming without admitting that Ghallywood (Ghana's 'western' movie industry) was producing 'foreign' movies with complicated English which, maybe, excited the feeling of nausea in the English-phobia and, just another maybe, also fought against our efforts at safeguarding and projecting our own local languages. Now, Kumawood comes to salvage the situation with movies richly-cooked with our indigenous languages to cater for some of us whose ears are at war with the English Language. For years, we have applauded Kumawood for feeding us with wisdom and humour-impregnated local movies. Do we now have problems with them too?

How come Ghanaians now travel to India and Mexico to import telenovelas, carrry them down here, force some local words into the mouths of the characters to make it look as though Indians and Mexicans share a common ancestry with Ghanaians, and display these series on our television networks while our home-made series rot on the shelves of Abeiku Container and other movie studios? For fear of sounding too exaggerative, I would say patronage of these foreign-converted-local series is as massive as their proliferation. First, it was Adom TV's 'Kumkum Bagya'. Now, it's UTV's 'Simply Maria'. I foresee other television networks following suit in the coming days. Perhaps, Kumawood has not felt the pinch, and will not be proactive to curb the situation until Indian and Chinese series invade our movies market to cause more havoc. What exactly is the problem with us? Have we been cursed to reject our own? What is the message those Mexican series are preaching which our local movies have failed to propagate?

Personally, I have courted issues with the influx of telenovelas on our television networks. We are all witnesses to how fast the standard of learning, particularly the English Language is falling. And we're also equally aware that there's absolutely nothing we can do to stop our school children from following these telenovelas. But just at the time we needed movies which are not only rich in content, but are also loaded with good English so that the smart student-viewer will tap into some of the rich expressions and vocabulary, we have these foreign-turned-local series flooding our television networks to worsen our woes.

It's not only a pity but also a source of worry to see our school children dump their books anytime it strikes 7:30pm to chase a telenovela that has no bearing on their academics. Granted these series offer them some insights into life, are these life lessons not found in the textbooks and classroom tutorials they receive daily? And have these telenovelas also come to replace the novels and short stories which our students read to enhance their language acquisition and development? Loads of questions and issues! It's however sad I lack the luxury of time to delve more into the academic damage these telenovelas can cost our school children who have already fallen deeply for them.

Well, I may not be happy with the turn of events. But, like the lizard that just fell from an iroko tree after being catapulted by a mischievous boy, I will not only nod in disgust, I will also shake my tail while I crawl away like an ignorant old dude. What do I know after all?

Jet Alan.

Columnist: Alan, Jet