Veteran Akan Drama actor and newscaster Amankwah Ampofo has disclosed that ‘Obra’ movie first appeared as Keteke on national television and subsequently transformed into ‘Obra’.
The popular TV series aired on GTV, the television station run by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. It was the sole television station in Ghana at the time.
Narrating the genesis of the Obra series to Agyemang Prempeh host of personality-based television talk show, Legends on TV XYZ on Sunday, Amankwah Ampofo who was known in the series as Charles Ampofo, disclosed then Head of State Jerry John Rawlings played a key role in the formation of the group.
“When Osofo Dadzie had an issue with management, shortly Rawlings took off office, he called for a new group. That birthed Obra. We came with Rawlings simultaneously. Obra will be forty years next year.”
According to Amankwah Ampofo, as the series progressed a new producer took over affairs wanting to rebrand the train station-centered television series. Hence the name change.
“Obra was originally Keteke, that’s how it was named. The whole movie set up was based on the railway station. Always the set up was around the railway lines — to and fro. Later in 1986, we had a new producer. He’s called Ebo Biney. He decided we change the name, he said the set up makes it rigid, we should make it open. So, Auntie Grace suggested we call it, Obra. Then, Nana Ampadu had newly released his [Obra] song so we went to see him and he gave us the green light to song it,” he recounted.
The exciting family TV series, famous in the 1980s/90s has declined in viewership in recent years.
Amankwah Ampofo blamed the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and government for the inadequate of financial support to the production house.
Moving forward, he suggests, there should be rebranding of the famous local television series to save it form ailing.
“It’s not attractive. Let me cite an example; when you’re a child, your face is smooth at a certain stage it wrinkles everyone sees you are aged. I don’t see anything wrong [with Obra] it been years.
“But we can rebrand it, it’s all about monetary issues. At a point when Maame Dokono joined politics, I was the leader. I brought an idea. The idea was if there’s a star like Fred Amugu then we feature him in the series though he’s not part of the cast he will play the leading role. Akorfa was star of the week. We can call Lilwin, apart from Lilwin, Shatta Wale can act wayward in the series. As the scriptwriter I brought the idea but it was like financial issues. GBC wasn’t helping. It gained grounds that the various newspapers threw the spotlight on ‘Who’s The Next Guest?’ It was good initiative. Now if you suggest an idea we can carry on with it but financial issues.”
“We can still change the style,” Mr Ampofo added.
When asked why the series hasn’t been privatized to rejuvenate the Akan drama series despite the production house financial constraints, the 67-year-old said “it’s possible but GBC will come in. It is their baby.”
Mr Ampofo, however, stated emphatically that the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation is not willing to invest in the series but will reject any privatization move.
By: Bernard Ralph Adams /myxyzonline.com/Ghana