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Telenovelas are eroding our cultural identity — Fred Amugi
Fred Amugi

Telenovelas are eroding our cultural identity — Fred Amugi

VETERAN Ghanaian actor Fred Amugi is very concerned about the proliferation of foreign telenovelas on local TV stations because he believes they are eroding our Ghanaian culture. 


With emphasis on foreign content, Mr Amugi thinks the influx of these soap operas can lead to a loss of the Ghanaian cultural identity if nothing is done about it.

In an interview with Daily Graphic, Mr Amugi said: “The constant showing of foreign telenovelas, even translated into local languages, undermines our own culture. It's like showing an Indian actor speaking Twi and worshipping their goddess! This is not good for our future, especially our children. We need to stop loving cheap things and start valuing our own creativity," he said.

Mr Amugi attributed the popularity of foreign telenovelas to a lack of unity and collaboration within the Ghanaian film industry, which he believes hinders the production of high-quality films capable of competing on a continental level.

“The film industry in Ghana needs unity. Right now, everyone is working alone because they're afraid of being copied or stolen from. But the truth is, no matter how much we know, someone else always knows more. If we work in unity, we could make great films that showcase our different talents and perspectives,” he said.

Mr Amugi’s concerns about the popularity of foreign telenovelas on local TV stations echo a larger debate about the impact of globalisation on local cultures. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the lines between cultures are becoming blurred, and local cultures are facing unprecedented threats.

In Ghana, the proliferation of foreign telenovelas on local TV stations has become a menace, and named as one of the reasons for the decline in the production of local content, as many TV stations are opting for the easier, cheaper and more lucrative option of dubbing foreign content into local languages than paying for local content. 

The happening has been of grave concern to some industry players, who have openly lambasted it. For instance, movie producer Socrate Safo has been very loud against the increasing popularity of foreign telenovelas on local television.

Veteran Highlife singer Rex Omar has also lent his voice to the ‘campaign’ to get the right things done. 

In an interview with Takoradi based Property FM last year, Rex Omar said the influx of foreign soap operas on Ghanaian television with Twi translations was detrimental to the growth and recognition of local talents and portrayed Ghana as unserious with its creativity.

However, Mr Amugi remains optimistic about the future of the Ghanaian film industry, citing the support of TV channels such as Akwaaba Magic, which has provided a platform for Ghanaian films and series to thrive.

“We're lucky to have Akwaaba Magic on DStv, which has provided a platform for our films. They've been supportive and willing to work with us, and the films they show are good. If we keep making good movies, we'll benefit from their support.”

“Unfortunately, Nigeria's film industry is ahead of ours, with more opportunities like Netflix. We need to work together to catch up”, he stated.

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