A professor at the Institute of African Studies (IAS) at the University of Ghana has criticised the performance put up by some Kumawood actors at the Ghana@60 Independence Day celebration noting they used the wrong forum.
Prof. Esi Sutherland-Addy is of the view that, because the parade was not the right medium, it hampered the proper execution of an otherwise important concept by the actors.
Some pundits in the Creative Arts industry have described the performance by some Kumawood stars, including Agya Koo, as embarrassing to the nation.
They lambasted the organisers for allowing what they deemed as a disgraceful performance to be staged on such a big platform.
The sketch, which also featured Akwesi Boadi, Matilda Asare, among others, focused on the need for parents to educate the wards.
The drama also promoted the free education policy which has been trumped by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government.
Giving her assessment of the performance, Prof. Sutherland-Addy, who is also the Chairperson of the Ghana Culture Forum, told Joy News in an interview that the organisers could have handled the play in a different way.
“There are different things you do for different aspects ceremonies. If I had been producing that, I would not have put that particular piece immediately after that sought of spectacle depicting the nation and the unity of the nation…"
"You will have a way which you would need to design the thing, you get to a climax and you need to stay up there and let people go home with that feeling of patriotism and so on,” she observed.
The lecturer noted that the theme of the play was about girl’s education, the importance of education… that’s really something that I really think is important.”
She, however, added that “the forum was not the right forum to do it and perhaps because they were doing it in a hurry…you can’t make a concert party for seven minutes. They need the room. They have to expand themselves and make you laugh, it’s part of the art form. So it could take that rigidity that you have on that occasion, I am sure that we could have found another way to put it.”
The professor believes that if organisers/producers of the parade wanted to highlight the Kumawood performance and their message, “we could have gotten them to march, to be part of the march past. It’s been done so many years,” like for example the way it was done in the first republic.
“It’s a misjudgement of the type of ceremony and the kind of effect that we wanted to achieve…if it has been me, I would have put them in another setting,” she stressed.
Prof Sutherland-Addy, who is the daughter of the late Ghanaian playwright Efua Sutherland, was of the view that Kumawood movie industry, in spite of their flaws, needs not to be chastised but rather given the needed support to flourish.
According to her, Ghanaians have set their standards too low and expected less from the Kumawood movie industry when they could do much better.
“I think that we are underestimating them and I think that they could do very in-depth and moving work if we will push them to do it. The excuse that that’s all they can do, I don’t buy it.
"I am convinced that somebody needs to take the time and give them the benefit of the doubt and push them…I think that if we do that we will be surprised at what they can come up with,” the Ghana Culture Forum Chairperson explained.
The African Studies professor called for a greater government and private support for the country’s creative arts industry.