n Institute of African Studies Research Review - Historical and cultural context of folk opera development in Ghana : Saka Acquaye's "The Lost Fishermen" in perspective

Volume 27, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0855-4412



The article examines the historical and cultural contexts of folk opera development in Ghana. It argues that Saka Acquaye created folk opera in response to Ghana's post-colonial policy initiatives to redress negative colonial mindsets among the citizenry, and also to foster national identity and unity through the arts. The paper analyzes Saka Acquaye's "The Lost Fishermen" - the most popular folk opera in Ghana, to illustrate the genre's form as well as the depth of appropriations from indigenous theatre resources for the above stated purposes.

The paper establishes that despite the obvious Western influences in folk opera, it is essentially the unscripted indigenous theatre resources that served as its biggest thematic and performance resource base; and that it was such deliberate appropriations from diverse ethnic and regional settings of the country repackaged for a national audience that were intended to address the political and cultural challenges mentioned. The paper concludes by attributing the current low patronage of folk opera in Ghana to the near irrelevance of the cultural and political challenges that influenced its birth and popularity.

L'article examine les contextes historiques et culturels du développement de l'opéra folklorique au Ghana. Il prouve que Saka Acquaye a créé l'opéra folklorique en réponse aux initiatives politiques postcoloniales Ghanéennes dans le but de redresser les mentalités négatives parmi les citoyens, mais aussi pour promouvoir l'identité et l'unité nationales à travers les arts. L'article analyse «The Lost Fishermen» de Saka Acquaye, le plus populaire opéra folklorique au Ghana, pour illustrer la forme du genre ainsi que la profondeur de récupération prélevée sur les ressources du théâtre autochtone. L'article démontre que malgré les influences évidentes de l'occident dans l'opéra folklorique, ce sont essentiellement les ressources non scénarisées du théâtre autochtone qui ont servi de bases thématiques et , et que ces récupérations délibérées provenant de divers milieux ethniques et régionaux du pays, reconditionnées pour un auditoire national, ont été destinées à relever les défis politiques et culturels. Pour conclure, l'article attribue l'actuel manque d'intérêt accordé à l'opéra folklorique ghanéen à sa quasi non-pertinence dans les enjeux culturels et politiques qui ont influencé sa naissance et sa popularité.

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