Popular Ghanaian media personality, Kofi Okyere Darko, also known as KOD, has expressed his disappointment at the current Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey, and the president’s action in relation to the creative industry.
According to him, he had faith in the president and the minister to be able to change the creative sector for the better due to their past involvement in the industry. But so far, both have been disappointing.
“I had very high hopes for what Nana was going to do for the creative space because right from the 70s, Nana Akufo-Addo has been connected to the music industry in diverse ways”, KOD said.
“He used to organize shows in the UK when he was in school. He was friends with people like Fela Anikulapo Kuti… He’s had a very great relationship with musicians over the years. Look at his team members…Many of them have creative backgrounds. So you’d expect that, this is the time for us to shine, but it didn’t happen”.KOD
KOD reasoned that the deputy Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey seems to have forgotten his roots, as he expected more from the minister to help grow the industry.
“Maybe there was no clear-cut plan for what to do with the creative space. When our brother Mark Okraku-Mantey was appointed, many people said, ‘Oh, this is one of us’, but up until now, I have not seen much from him as a person. In actual fact, you can’t even access him, you want him to do something for you, and you have to deal with him like any other person, not like one of us who has been elevated”.KOD
He further said, “He has forgotten why he was elevated. We thought someone like him would be a mouthpiece for us. But I am disappointed in what the government has done. They could have done more for us”.
KOD’s comments join an ever-growing debate as to the state of the Ghanaian creative industry and its future. While many have blamed creatives for not being proactive enough, others have called for more support for the creatives.
Ghanaian creatives on international assignments
KOD made a call on the President, Nana Akufo-Addo to be traveling on international assignments with Ghanaian creatives.
Citing the President’s presence at the Global Citizen Festival which was held in 2018 in South Africa without a single Ghanaian performer, he said Nana Akufo-Addo should have insisted he wanted a Ghanaian artiste to perform at the event.
The Founder of the Nineteen57 fashion brand revealed that one of the ways Ghana’s arts can be marketed on the global scene is for the President to take along with him creatives.
“I was in South Africa when we had the first Global Citizen Festival [in Africa]. I was angry. I was so angry. Nana Akufo-Addo was one of the few Presidents on the platform. We didn’t have a single Ghanaian musician. I was like ‘Hello who is opening the doors for us?’. This is when we have to be very intentional about what we do. When Kamala Harris came to Ghana he came with Spike Lee. Was he just here to document her trip to Ghana?”.KOD
He also mentioned George W. Bush’s visit to the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Accra on February 20, 2008, when American Idol winner Jordin Sparks performed the US National Anthem before he delivered his speech. The story is told of how Ghana’s first President would travel with Ghanaian bands on his foreign trips.
These submissions are made to make Ghanaian arts more visible on the international scene.
Supporting KOD’s suggestion, poet and playwright, Chief Moomen noted that having poets, musicians, or other creatives travel outside with the President is a laudable idea. He added that there could be a deliberate agenda by the President to propose to his international hosts for such performances from Ghanaian acts.