This blog is managed by the content creator and not GhanaWeb, its affiliates, or employees. Advertising on this blog requires a minimum of GH₵50 a week. Contact the blog owner with any queries.
Efo Gozah


Wed, 6 Jul 2022 Source: EFO GOZAH


The name Kumawood crept in on us. The first time it was used, it was meant to poke fun at the pace at which the Twi movies from Kumasi were churned out each week. Samuel Darko (Samdarkus), a radio presenter turned actor-producer used the name in a more accepting way, and came to be known as, or proclaimed himself as the originator of the name.

After Samuel Nyamekye’s Miracle Films had laid the foundations for successful Twi movies, it was only a matter of time before others figured out that they didn’t need rigid education in filmmaking and the ability to speak English impeccably to be in movies. And since that discovery, the weekly output of the Genre would skyrocketed.

For the most part, they would stick to the formula Miracle Films had used; follow the third cinema tenet, and make movies that addressed social issues. Films such as KUMASIFIE would address the issues of living in compound houses whilst ASORE BA would address the Ghanaian religiosity over morality and good housekeeping.

It’s worth noting at this point that this was not the first time a movie in Akan had been made. Egbert Adjesu had written and directed the classic ‘I TOLD YOU SO’, which stared the late Bob Cole and Margaret Quainoo, AKA Araba Stamp in the 1970s. Later on, in the 1990s, Grace Omaboe and some other famous Akan Drama stars teamed up for an Akan movie that did not receive much attention.

MATAA which initiated the 90s megastars such as Brew Riverson Jnr, Akorfa Edjeani, and Edinam Atasti into the limelight, incorporated the Akan language prominently and addressed such issues as drugs, kidnapping, and consequences of relying on evil to make it in life. Such Akan lines as, ‘Aha yɛ abosomfi, yɛn nhyɛ kɔn mu ade wɔha’, became quite popular among the 90s movie enthusiasts partly due to the fact that as comical as that line seemed in the movie, it provided something they could relate to.

It was a similar feeling of familiarity when Naana Hayford rained a streak of insults in Akan on Vivian Achor and Kofi Adjorlolor in the movie, ‘HE IS MINE’. Movie lovers laughed and enjoyed it not only because the insults were funny, but also because they could identify someone within their immediate environments, who would go rough and raw with such insults without, being dramatically poetic as the English movies.

However, when the name Kumawood became popular, it became synonymous with a three to four-part video on VHS or VCD, with actors trying to outdo each other in comedy, centered on insults, and stories that had digressed from the familiar everyday story the then mainstream, or the English movies had ignored, to stories that bordered around witchcraft, farcical love stories, melodramatic sappy tragic dramas, overplayed and often ranging from silly to embarrassing visual effects.

They provided fun and captured interest for a while then, the audience started yawning; they had seen every movie that came out before. Kumawood didn’t particularly bother itself with professional scripts; not one with dialogues anyway, and so had come to rely on very few good actors, who could think on their feet and come up with a few witty comebacks. Overexposed, their originality started dwindling, and they would also come to depend heavily on strong insensitive insults as their comic style.

The originality did not just stop flowing with the actors but with the stories too. Some started sourcing Old Ghanaian movies, Nollywood movies, Bollywood, and even Hollywood movies. The marketing style also changed. It changed from loud music and vehicles on a float promoting the videos to a few individuals going through the markets targeting the market women.

The campaigns changed too. The couple of radio presenters who would discuss the movie in their 30 seconds audio skits – which to be honest were often more interesting than the movies – were replaced by Kwame Dzokoto who would scream the whole plot line of the movies. And when they discovered soundtracks, they made sure they got their money’s worth because the soundtracks would narrate the whole story in an often 4 to 5 minutes song.

With these and refusal to adapt to changing times, Kumawood was fated to die very young; but it fought on. It still had some fight inside and never gave up.

By Quaku Danquah