KWEKU ANANSE FOLKTALES REBRANDED
The untold stories of Kwaku Ananse…originally born from races of West Africans who had to craft tales (most could not read or document their experiences), to survive their persecution of slave traders…Note we don’t specifically mean Caucasians because the slave trade has some hidden unexplained questions, how a whole African kingdom was conquered solely by the means and will of a relatively few visitors from another ‘world’.
It could be these stories had hidden meanings which we’re meant to explain how they managed to survive their persecutors rather than con each other, with cunning schemes, tricks and plans to evade and acquire what menial “luxuries” they could acquire… Anyway
“KOFI SAID IT – KWEKU ANANSE FOLKTALES ARE A BAD INFLUENCE”
“KOFI SAID IT – Like many Ghanaians out there, I also grew up watching “By the Fire Side” and admiring this character called Kweku Ananse. Interestingly enough, this character is nothing short of a trickster, mischievous, lazy, cunning, greedy, selfish, individualistic, envious, corrupt, etc. In fact, he is everything you wouldn’t want your child or society to be. I’ve come to understand that it has gained popularity in Caribbean Folktales in nations like Jamaica as well.”
From an Internet perspective, the tales and character of Kweku Ananse have gone “Platinum” and it would be practically impossible to rebrand as is…however we are attempting to rebrand this concept, by retelling the origin of Ananse, giving him his new name (Ghacos) and Universe (Ghecos – huge akin to “Marvel”). This universe explains how he came to be, and how he is/was a real Super Hero before he turned to the dark side. Most stories of Kweku depict a short-term pre-life and then suddenly he becomes this trickster.
In our Ghecos Universe, he has moments of weakness-the trickster, but most of the time he is Super and positive.
Snippets of the original story ideas will now be limited to his weak moments, such as when he has been bewitched or infected with “Ghaladamite Ore” – the main chemical compound that makes inanimate or dead objects come alive and immobilises god powers outside of their heavenly realms-a bit like Kryptonite (SuperMan).
“KOFI SAID IT – Anyway, the irony of Kweku Ananse folktales are that, in telling the story, the narrator spends about 90% of the time telling us and showing us all the tricks, the laziness, greed, selfishness and the corrupt nature of this character and rather spends less than 10% of the time telling us the bad effects of following in Kweku Ananse’s footsteps.”
The first trilogy-series of stories and adventures depicts him more like a Super Black Man Hero for good rather than an evil joker.
There is a fine line/or flip side of a coin between cunning/clever and scheming, trickery and resourcefulness, lazy and pausing for thought..etc In the trilogy-Super Hero’s don’t always get their villain, but definitely give them a good hiding. Villain’s best traits are when they show their disgust, when they don’t always get what they want 🙂
The trilogy projects we refer to are, The Chronicles of Een, The Chronicles of Muna and The Chronicles of Irofo.
“KOFI SAID IT – I stand to be corrected but I believe it would rather serve a good purpose if the Ananse Sem (Kweku Ananse Stories) had spent a good number of the time teaching the values our society would appreciate we grow up with. Why not tell the little ones more about what they need to do to be an upright person without telling them more of what they need not do to be upright. I hope you’re following my train of thought?”
For every action there is a reaction, for every gain something/one has to lose, it is from our mistakes that we learn, some mistakes are more painful than others…and so at what age should we learn about the painful consequences of life? The minute we can comprehend right from wrong! Even a small child knows this, however it is the choices that we make that decide what outcomes are good or bad. Doing a good turn for someone or being an upstanding citizen can be bad for someone else. Judges Punishing the guilty can even cause people to reconsider/revolt as they express empathy for a villain when a sentence seems too harsh. It’s confusing being an upstanding citizen in a World with so many contradictions-It is the most difficult part of being part of a modern-day society, whether at school, at university, or in/outside your home.
“KOFI SAID IT – This greedy person, Kweku Ananse, who must pay for his actions with shame and punishment is rather hailed as a hero in Ghanaian culture or better still the Ghanaian Childhood Hero because in most cases he is portrayed as successful in his nefarious activities. Whereas in other countries, they have childhood heroes such as Superman, Spider-man, Batman and the likes who always work for the good of all. Even though these folktales are fictitious like ours, these heroes stand for the positive values their societies would like to hold in high esteem and like to inculcate into the little ones.”
If you have followed the current re-releases of Super Heroes…the movies are much darker, the heroes are more fallible, more destructive and the battle scenes are extremely violent and their family values are quite complex, if not questionable.
“KOFI SAID IT – The ripple effect of the Kweku Ananse story is the rampant perpetuation of greed, always looking for a short-cut means to success and the mediocrity found in the Ghanaian society. We always want to outsmart and look for a clever way to take advantage of our fellow man in our dealings. We continuously look for loop holes to cheat the system because that is exactly what Kweku Ananse folktales taught us. We are too individualistic to the point that we find it unwise to work together and share the profit proportionally. Most Ghanaian business partners that grew up with the bad influence of Kweku Ananse would like to have it all when it comes to sharing profit. It might not be fair to blame some of our attitude solely on these folktales but I believe it had an influence on us and even continues to do so since they are still the stories the little ones are exposed to. It is a societal cancer which needs to be stopped immediately.”
In the real world, the dark side generally wins over good, because that is what is reported most and that’s what makes news headlines…the exception is when the villains are portraying their “Good side” by using their ill-gotten gains to help re-market to the disadvantaged poorer communities of the world. With the margins of profit harder to maintain the wealthiest seek new markets, from those who have little to spend. They are entertained into spending less on essentials and more on vanity and materialistic goods and services with a view that it makes for a happier and more content lifestyle, and for those with a little more, how to better your neighbour.
The pre financial battle grounds, have been Asia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. The last Financial Battle Ground, is Africa.
This is not to say, Africa has not been targeted by the modern world before, but it required a two-way telecommunication for the African market place to become a viable business opportunity.
Telecommunication(VOIP) and General Communication through the web has changed the dynamics of the business model and so big business hitters are preparing to do battle on African soil-Ghana will probably be at the forefront of this new wave.
“KOFI SAID IT – Thank God, I have grown up and realised that Kweku Ananse did a lot of harm to our childhood than the story tellers would have us believe. If you’re a parent, I will advise you spend more time telling stories to your kids that focus on the positive side of life, which will teach them values that they will forever live by. I will make sure my kids do not grow up listening to Kweku Ananse Stories especially the way it was told to me. I am also of the opinion that, it is never too late to re-brand this character to stand for what our society holds in high esteem.”
Stories told to young people today, generally don’t have that warm fuzzy feeling of a bed time story because of the way it’s depicted in digital formats… young viewers wish or have mentally been influenced to expect stories and visual effects displayed in a certain way, it’s that issue that story tellers of today face as a challenge to getting mass influence over a generation when rebranding a villain in to a super hero.
However, turning points as a result of rebranding Ghana Comics, Ghana Cartoons , Ghana Movies and Ghana TV series with futuristic ideals, can make a difference.
It would be great if our rebranding of Kweku Ananse could do that for young Ghanaians and the older stories circulating the Internet, “the largest multimedia book store in the world” .
“KOFI SAID IT – Comments:
May I add that the Ghanaian problem is that “he has no problem”: no natural disasters, no religious nor political persecution, no terrorism nor serious violence. Thus most of -if not all- Ghana’s problems are man made including this Kweku Ananse folktale. Your article can “unmake” that tale and change the attitude of the younger generation for a prosperous Ghana with electrical power, hygienic cities with green outdoor space, modern hospitals, good roads, women empowerment, etc.. Maybe a new folktale could begin promote those socio-economic initiatives”
Ananse (Ghacos) has a new Universe (Ghecos) where he interacts with all the forces of nature, bipeds, quadrupeds and alike.
One of our comic script projects (The Oligha Files) depicts – …The conspiracy involves the control of West African leader Amura and human basic resources such as water to force low crop yields. Electricity has been prevented from fully functioning to hamper the manufacturing industry. Reduced communication of the Internet, phone and disruption of satellite services is in effect to control speed and censorship of media distribution. Mining of mineral wealth has been halted to prevent the purchase of technology and prevent growth of the nation to super power status…etc
As for Women empowerment…The Ghecos Universe is predominantly female in character, nature and the physical female form and plays a major role in dominating, styling and beautifying the Ghecos Universe experience as a whole.
“KOFI SAID IT – I don’t think that your comparison with Superman and all those other characters is a better example.Superman may be a hero,but he destroys a whole city with his violent chasing of the villain.Therefore what we see is a society where children are violent(using your logic).The Western world isn’t prefect and has its own issues.If we want to say that our Ananse stories need to be retold in a more positive light,then let’s do that with our own standards and end game in mind without making a Western world our standard.:)”
Evil comes in many forms and in particular, violence is one of its vices. One cannot have a Super Hero fight violence over millennia with just a word. As human beings, what we see and know tells us this – Jesus tried this and he was brutally crucified. “God/Jehovah” himself, destroyed a whole planet with a flood that equates to Genocide on a global scale. Even nature with its storms and wildlife destroy to begin a new, and sometimes what’s reborn/rebuilt is more beautiful than it’s predecessor….As for “our own standards and end game”-if we take a snap shot of the Ghana Media industry, correct us if we’re wrong but aren’t we just copying the Nigerians?
So let’s take it that violence and destruction is part of nature and evolution and therefore our Ghecos Universe does not assume it’s a western ideal or philosophy, for there can be no peace without violence. “i.e the calm before the storm”.
That said in the Afreeka Radio Project – which is a vast undertaking in its infancy – we aim to create an appropriate balance between good and evil, violence and non-violence and provide positive meaning to chaos in the Ghecos Universe.