Give thanks to Kumawood – Kwaku Manu

Kumasi based actor, Kwaku Manu, has expressed his disappointment over how Kumawood actors are continuously looked down upon despite the obvious strides they are making in the Ghana movie industry, better than their English language counterparts often referred to as ‘glamour’ movies. 

The actor, who is popular for his comic roles in many Kumawood movies said that Twi speaking movies should be supported rather than treated poorly as if they did not matter in the growth of the Ghana movie industry. 

Speaking to Showbiz last Monday, Kwaku Manu said that it was time Ghanaians appreciated movies that were made in the local languages other than seeing it as inferior to other foreign languages.

‘I have travelled to many places in the world and I have not seen any country that worships and appreciates other people’s language like Ghana. I have had the privilege of being in France and Italy and it will surprise you to know that these people cherish their respective languages so much. You hardly hear a native of France speaking English but that is the opposite here.

‘We sit in Ghana and appreciate China and Indian movies that we don’t understand yet when we use our own language as a medium of communication in our local movies, we say it is ‘kolo’. I find it interesting to see people behave as if it is a taboo or a curse to speak our own mother tongue. Besides, is it by force that we all speak English?’ he asked.

He noted that available statistics from the sale of Ghanaian movies show that Kumawood movies have higher sales than the glamour ones. 

‘Do these Kumawood critics know the number of movies we churn out in a year, the sales and how we have taken over the movie scene? We are making it big yet some people think that we are at a loss. It is only Kumawood movies that project the Ghanaian culture and heritage. 

‘Besides, it is not as if Kumawood actors are illiterates. Some can fluently speak the English language but they feel they can express themselves better when they act in their own language. And I have always wondered if that is also a crime?’ he noted

Commenting about the silent ‘rivalry’ existing between Kumawood actors and the English speaking actors, Kwaku Manu who earlier last year stated his disappointment about how the latter snubbed Kumawood actors at events said he found it interesting that Kumawood movies are labeled as local.

‘In my view, every Ghanaian movie is local whether it is in the English language or not. The labeling of Kumawood movies as local is what makes people think that we are not there yet but the reality is that, we are making great strides in Kumasi’, he noted.

He said that the success story of Kumawood has been a bait that has attracted a large number of Accra based producers to the Garden City in recent times. In his words, ‘it is understandable because everybody wants to progress in life’.

Kumawood movies have mostly been criticised for its poor quality productions but Kwaku Manu came to the defense when asked about it.

‘I don’t think that is the case now. The poor productions were in the past. We have matured in the industry and don’t settle for just anything. The criticisms get too much as if we are doing nothing. Even now, I can confidently say Kumawood movies have arrived. ‘ he stated.

Kwaku Manu started as a production assistant on movie sets until he shot to fame with Aware So. Prior to that, he had featured in many movies before the breakthrough and he is also popular for his role in movies such as Poor No Friend, Ataa Ayi, Kwaku Asuoden, Kwaku Killer, Oya Soro Oyaa and Pay Back.

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