On The Radar continues to dedicate the month of March, dubbed, ‘Ghana Month’ to Ghanaian personalities who have contributed immensely to the arts and entertainment industry and this week, we celebrate Grace Omaboe, popularly known as Maame Dokono.
No Ghanaian entertainer, male or female can match the feat chalked by Grace Omaboe, in the arts/entertainment industry.
No entertainer is as versatile, adaptable and resourceful as she is.
Grace Omaboe was born an entertainer and her influence and authority has been felt in every department of show business – making her the face of Ghanaian show business for decades.
Before her, there was none of her kind and after her prime; we are still looking out for the next.
She tinkered with almost every sector of the industry and excelled. She did scriptwriting, acting, radio and TV presenting, fashion, music and entrepreneurship and nailed every one of them to perfection.
From humble beginnings as a scriptwriter for one of the legendary television series of all time, Osofo Dadzie – Grace Omaboe parlayed that into significant strides on the screens.
She honed her skills as an influential member of the Abetifi Girls School and accepted to be a scriptwriter for the Osofo Dadzie group and after the group was disbanded, legendary producer, Nana Bosompra, encouraged her to act in a series she co-produced called Keteke on Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and that began her first acting role.
After a while, she rebranded the TV series and changed the title to Obra – the longest-showing television series ever to grace the screens in Ghana.
It has clocked over 35 years!
For decades, Obra was the most-watched series on national television and made stars including the likes of Adwoa Smart, Esi Kum, Doctor Rokoto and many others.
Maame Dokono was not only limited to local content on TV; she was also a force in filmmaking in Ghana, part of a generation of actors that made Ghana a go-to movie hub in Africa, starring in several English-oriented movies like Crossfire, Sacrifice, Expectations and many more.
Grace Omaboe’s music career was not as stellar as that of her acting but she made her mark. All over the world, there are very few entertainers who have excelled with both music and movies and she is in that league.
With such a huge workload on both television and on the silver screen, she still made time to record, promote the music and perform too – a testament of the enthusiasm and commitment she attached to every project she embarked on.
With popular songs like Ashiwo, Begye Wo Kawa and others – Maame Dokono also became a household name in Ghanaian music, in an era where female acts were just a handful and male dominance was high. She made such remarkable strides to cement her spot.
This new generation of musicians still lack the understanding of the significance of touring; Grace Omaboe and her generation understood the concept and took full advantage of this industry practice – as she toured the whole Ghana with the full complement of her drama troupe and music band.
With such inestimable popularity on TV and critical acclaim on the road, Maame Dokono was the most popular figure in the arts/entertainment industry in Ghana during her prime.
Maame Dokono became a fashion icon by some intriguing design but unfortunately; she’s yet to garner the deserved recognition in that fold.
In the 90s, she was extremely influential in fashion, setting trends and dictating the narrative on how celebrities managed and projected their sense of fashion.
She was stylish and came up with such eye-catching wear in her productions that got many fascinated.
Every Maame Dokono wear became a talking point.
Her acting or singing prowess did just not enthrall people; they also followed her to check out the design or style she was wearing. The love for what she wore on her projects was so intense to the extent that people walked into shops and demanded that their seamstresses sew a Maame Dokono design for them.
Posters of her in stylish designs were produced, sold and used by fashion designers or seamstresses. That was how influential she was!
Her ability to spearhead the By The Fireside television series and how impactful she was at the basic school level is nothing compared to what she did to the talk show segments on radio and television in the following years.
In late 90s into 2000s, she engineered such a ground-breaking movement on radio, via the talk show, Odo Ne Asomdwee on the now-defunct Choice FM.
The show was hinged on violence and abuse against children and women and in months after its commencement, the show became a major hit in the capital.
Maame Dokono’s prowess was always tested and she more than excelled in that regard as she followed up on every case with the appropriate authorities in getting results for victims and punitive measures for the accused. She was the saviour of the helpless.
Odo Ne Asomdwee was arguably the most popular afternoon show on radio at the time, with the whole capital hooked onto what case she was going to unravel and solve.
The show was so important that it was imperative for many across other regions to get involved and be afforded the opportunity to see how such critical matters were discussed and solved and then came Metro TV.
With the popular show on television, nothing was stopping Maame Dokono in her quest to becoming the most-loved celebrity in the country.
Most successful celebrities across the world have always given back to society and it would not have made sense had Maame Dokono not parlayed that love and affection Ghanaians showed her into an outreach unit or philanthropic work that would benefit the public and help in nation building. Fortunately, she did!
With all the gnawing issues about children being abused, Maame Dokono felt the need to solicit support and set up an orphanage that housed and catered for thousands of children who were homeless and deprived.
For years, that outreach served its purpose until a jaded foray into politics thwarted the project, but after a few years of uncertainty, the orphanage has been turned into a school, still providing the platform for children to acquire quality education.
She has also used her experience and influence in the industry to help many set up their own businesses.
In her 70s, Maame Dokono is still active, starring in theatre and movie productions and still has the wish of bringing back old projects like By the Fireside and others. Even in her old age, the passion is still there!
There’s no doubt that if she was placed in another industry, with such influence and dominance in almost every relevant sector in the business, Grace Omaboe would have been one of the richest entertainers in Africa.
With or without riches, we appreciate her and pray for blessings, long life, good health and special grace for her life.